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D for Dilshan D for Daring D for Delhi DareDevils

D for Dilshan D for Daring D for Delhi DareDevils, well that has been the mantra for DareDevils this season. Even without Mcgrath, Maharoof, Asif contributing with the ball, Sehwag and Gambhir batting firepower like the last IPL Delhi look a complete team. The fact that Mcgrath is warming the bench shows how good their bowling attack is. Dilshan, M & M and Karthik have been a gem with the bat, stealing victories from the jaws of defeat twice in a row now. The way Dilshan punched in the air after pulling Edwards for a boundary showed the intensity with which he played his cricket; he possessed a true Dilli arrogance much like Gambhir possesses. Edwards could have put in his effort in bowling in the right areas rather than fighting with umpire or staring and using adjectives with the batsman. All it did was charge Dilshan.

It’s nice to see 3 left arm seamers bowl in a team after a long time; Nannes reduced the Chargers to 19/2 picking both Gibbs and Gilly. Bikhalia and Rohit played some good cricketing shots and kept the momentum going. Mishra and Vettori bowled in tandom pegging back Deccan to 53/4 in the 10th over. Then came Devon Smith man with a mission, “mission to swat every ball to the leg side” and he did it successfully. All he played was the midwicket slog and yet scored 48 in 28 balls; he tore Mishra and Vettori apart. Vettori never came back for his fourth over. Sangwan and Nehra came back well and picked Smith, Suman and Venugopal. Nannes bowled a brilliant 18 over just one run without a single Yorker, couple of runouts and what looked like a 160 odd at one stage ended up being 148.

Delhi got their best start of the season 30; soon they were 49/3 in the 8th over. Dilshan and Karthik yet again played the ODI kind of innings, knocking around for singles and getting the odd boundaries. We saw tidy 4 over spells from Ojha and Shoaib. 17 runs off Venugopal proved be the over which brought DD back into the hunt. With 17 needed of 12 balls it took only 4 legal deliveries for Dilshan to get those runs and also get his 3rd 50 against Edwards who was their best bowler. All Edwards did was shout, kick the turf and put his hands on in head and appreciate Dilshan’s efforts. He is the same Dilshan with a round hat who has won n number of matches for Sri Lanka in similar fashion. He now has 3 consecutive 50s at a good strike rate all in the wining cause making him a true match winner or the crisis man. Even though Nannes was awarded MOM Dilshan was not far behind.

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Nailless after the Nail bitters at Kingmead

Even though Mumbai Indians lost the match by 3 runs & RCB won it with a ball to spare it wouldn’t be wrong to say that cricket was a winner today, one tasted a unique flavor of T20; low scoring thrillers. The beauty of T20 is its ability produce nail bitters, IPL 2.0 is no different, and a nail bitter is more intense if it’s a low scoring one. In the end some tidy bowling and some shoddy batting saw Kings XI win by 3 runs. Lack of good bowlers and some shoddy performance by KKR saw RCB snatch victory from the hands of defeat.

119 was what Kings XI managed on a tired surface of Kingsmead which had already produced a low scoring chase in the afternoon. Mumbai Indians have the strongest bowling attack in this IPL 4 ODI specialist or rather T20 specialist. Malinga is a revelation this season, all he does is fires in toe crushing Yorker; batsman try to survive rather than score. At any instant it’s either ball or the bat of Yuvraj bat that moves; this time ball moved. Sangakkara anchored the innings to a respectable 119 even after some good death bowling from Malinga; the Yorker to Chawla was a treat to watch, right on the money. He now heads the purple cap for the most wickets in the series with an avg of 5 and econ of 4; that’s some numbers.

Chasing 120 on a slow pitch is quite tricky, and gets tougher when you lose Sanath of the first ball; he really is having a torrid time this IPL. Sachin followed him the next over to yet another Debutant; one needs a count on number of times Sachin has fallen to a Debutant. Abdulla’s toe crushing Yorker to Dhawan reduced MI to 12 for 3. Bravo got sucked into Powar’s flight and scooped into the deep. Duminy n Nayar did try to steady the sinking ship before Pathan punctured by rattling Nayar’s leg stump. Chawla’s penultimate was the key, the ploy of leg spinner against legside favored Bhajji worked out quite well in the end. And one can never take away the accurate and canning last over by Abdulla. Duminy finally fell to Abdulla’s variations slow bouncer caught at deep midwicket. Finally MI fell short by 3 runs after some good out fielding by Powar.

Earlier in the day KP’s RCB stole a nail bitter with a ball to spare. It was a historical day in T20 as 15 of 20 overs were bowled by 4 spinners and staring with spin at both the ends, reminding us the spin quartet of the 70s’. IPL 2.0 so far ironically has belonged to the spinners; Royals, Kings XI & now Challengers have started off with spinners. McCullum’s unforgettable nightmare continues as he fell for a golden duck to KP. Kumble is getting better with each game, KKR’s reached a defendable 139.

For the first time in IPL RCB have an opening stand of 69, Goswami’s run a ball 43 was vital, KP’s and Kohli’s wicket made sure that we have a nail bitter. Some hammering from Boucher made sure that SRK wouldn’t book his return ticket; and has wowed not to return until KKR starts winning, which means he won’t return. Ishant’s spell of 2 for 15 was the only silver lining. Late bashing from Boucher saw RCB win with a ball to spare.

The MUMBAI INDIAN chewed the Calcutta Mithi Pan

They say a number is worth thousand pictures and a picture is worth thousand words. Sachin’s 68 of 45 balls neither does it give you the right picture nor do I have the right words to describe it. Even though he scored at a strike rate of 150 there wasn’t a single rash slog nor were there any mistimed shots looping in the outfield. It was like watching highlights of 2003 WC, the six against Ishant reminded us the one against Caddick. It felt like a 16 year old trying to woo his female classmates in the crowd. Gavaskar sahib would have been a very happy man seeing those high elbow and straight bat shots.

At the end of the day Mumbai’s 187/6 doesn’t reflect how well Sanath and Sachin played; if Sachin took the initiative to start with, Sanath played second fiddle. Once Sachin cooled down Sanath began to explode. At 111/0 in 11 overs there wasn’t scope for even damage control from the KKRs. It looked like Mccullum’s team had given it up, just going through the motions. As a bowler one could feel like a candle burning from both the ends. If Sanath bludgeoned over the infield, Sachin caressed through, both complimented each other very well. As a bowler you had to pick between getting caressed by Sachin or clubbed by Sanath.

When batsman start getting used to the pace and bounce of the wickets, generally one needs to take the pace off. Mendis, Gayle and Hodge did that but the ball travelled even further into the boundary, couple of them even saw the Port Elizabeth city. One has to just feel for KKR’s bowlers, there wasn’t much difference in the bad balls and good balls bowled; everything reached the fence, only probably difference was the speed at which they reached. Shukla ji bowled with a lot of heart picked up both the wickets of Sanath and Sachin. Bhajji did pinch on KKR wounds, rest of MI made us realize that there was something called pitch and conditions which affected the scoring.

Chasing 188 against the likes of Malinga, Zaheer, Bravo and Bhajji is a tough task and a touch tougher when Malinga starts with a Yorker. Gayle and McCullam’s opening seems overrated; Hodge and Ganguly did try to accelerate but got sucked up by Nayar’s variations. With lack of batting power the KKRs stumbled to a cliched score of 95 all down in 15 overs. Had SRK invested in same low cost players rather than a 600K Mortaza who hasn’t featured yet, it would have done KKR some good. The future for KKR this season as last season looks dark as their jersey.

One can confidently say that the MUMBAI INDIAN chewed the Calcutta Mithi Pan.

(Dare)ing Dilshan take DareDevils home

Last time Delhi’s biggest problem was the inability of the middle order to step up when the top order failed, but this time things have changed for good. Dilshan has been a revelation this season; he is one of the better finisher in the modern era due to his ability to hit the boundaries at will. He has shown that he has in him the temperament to pace the innings. Coming in at the 2nd over he used his experience to nudge around initially building partnerships with AB, and finally some good hitting along with M&M (Mithun Manhas) he made sure DareDevils achieve the desired target without any hiccups.

I might sound like a broken record but RCB’s biggest problem is their opening pair, it doesn’t last more than an over. We now have 5 ducks in 5 games from a combination of openers, Ryder twice, Kumar, Kallis n Uthappa ones. Basically RCB’s no 3 is trying building an innings, while their counterparts are trying to keep up the good work done by their openers. And the biggest problem is that neither Pietersen nor Jennings have a solution to that. Like the famous bollywood movie doctor’s dialogue “Inhe Dawa Ki Dua Ki Jaaroorat Hai” is quite apt for the Challengers.

Today for a change our Dum Slog Millionaire did score some runs along with Taylor. RCBs were 73 at the half way stage, it was a good score considering the bad start they had. Blame it on the tactical break or good bowling, Mishra got Taylor. It came at a bad time for RCBs as they had just lost KP before the break. How many times has this happened that a team doing well till the 10th over suddenly loses a wicket right after the break? These strategy breaks are becoming the talk of the town. The batting teams quickly need to come up with a strategy to counter these strategy breaks. Good hits from Boucher n Kohli took Challengers to a respectable 149. Once again IPL 2.0 has shown that spinners do have a role here and a big one, Mishra’s 1/19 from 4 was instrumental in keeping the pressure.

Chasing at 7.5 an over for DareDevil’s even against depleted RCB wasn't all that easy, especially after losing Sehwag early. Double strike from Pankaj and good tidy bowling by Kumble restricts DD to 64 in 10 overs. As did other slow left armers KP Appana did flight the ball that dipped, turned and knocked AB’s leg stump. “Mandir ka ghanta” Kallis did prove costly again this time; he has been the new Agarkar -- the run daata. 51 runs in 30 balls seems daunting but as Bopara did it other day Dilshan did make it look ridiculously easy. Bowling towards the end has also been Challengers problems, yorkers n slower ones were missing and the length deliveries were deposited on the stands. Clean hitting by Dilshan and M&M (Mithun Manhas) saw Daredevils home with 4 balls to spare.

With Dravid out for couple of games and KP leaving RCBs need some Divine touch if they plan to stay in the hunt.

SINGH is KING at KINGsmead

Ravi Singh Bopara showed that even in this age of T20 - fatafat cricket; slow and steady could still win the race. He showed that it’s not just veterans who can play the old fashioned innings in chasing big targets in T20. Nudging around, playing at run a ball and accelerated towards end, it was a good combination attack with defense. The credit of chasing 170 with 3 down in with an over to spare should go to Bopara.

There is some connection with RCB and good starts rather lack of it; they don’t seem to go hand in hand. Kallis and Ryder were off to a decent start even after the early loss of Uthappa for a golden duck. Both played some high quality risk less fabulous cricketing shots. Some classic cover drives and some powerful pulls. When things looked pretty good RCB were pegged back by Abdulla’s double strike. KP is going to give Mallya uncle a heart attack if continues this way; every flop of his is going to hurt Mallya by 100k USD.

Yet again Dravid had to come to save the wrecked ship at 48/3. Just because they call him the wall, it doesn’t mean that Dravid has to rebuild the innings every time. Taylor along with Kallis did stitch the innings together towards the end. 4 wickets from Abdulla and 3 for Pathan curtailed the innings to respectable 168. Efforts of Puyush gets unnoticed in these kinds of games, he is the bowler to be watched out.

168 is a decent target to chase especially with a short boundary on one side, plus one can’t forget Yuvraj and Durban connection, Yup the full Monte 6 6s of Broad. Kings were off to a good start 50/0 of 6 overs. A brilliant runout brought Sangakara in. Runs kept flowing from Bopara’s bat regularly slowly and steadily, he wasn’t unfazed by asking run rate which always kept creeping. Dravid didn’t help the RCBs by dropping a sitter, which was crucial at that stage, finally Sangakara yielded to Kumble who was by far most the best bowler. 5 overs to go 60 to get with 8 wickets in hand match evenly balanced. When Yuvraj starts playing his shots bowling or pitch doesn’t matter. With Styen not playing RCB didn’t any a good bowler, forget about death bowling.

I guess it wouldn’t have matted the way Bopara n UV smacked around. After reaching his 50 Bopara revealed the wild side of calm face, it began to rain sixes in Durban. KP could nothing but watch the Kings XI sail over with an over to spare. Win meant that the SINGHs were off the mark.

Bopara showed that SINGH is still the KING

Royals Ryde the Super K(Night)

It took 20 overs and one super over for the royals to register their first win in IPL 2.0. The two most uninspiring teams pulled out one of the most exciting matches of the IPL so far. Frankly after the high scoring Chennai Delhi game I wasn’t all excited about the clash of minnows, but the Royals pulled out a tie out of thin air and then Pathan blasted 16 from 4 balls in the super over. Last time around Gayle had blasted 25 in the super over against Vetori’s NZ. Super over is far more exciting than the bowl out in case of a tie in T20, as its far more challenging n exciting.

Spinners have always played a big role in T20’s; Mendis was no different, picked up key wickets of Smith and & well set Pathan. Scoring 42 of 21 balls Pathan gave Royals much needed momentum. Agarkar is one of the few bowlers who would never completes his quota of 10 overs in ODIs; the trend is following even in T20. Late fireworks from Raut took Royals to a defendable 150.

150 was a good total to defend on a Newlands ground, but no ground or total is big when Gayle starts swinging, he makes it look ridiculously easy. Runs looks easy from a set batsman’s bat, pitch and conditions only start to matter when you lose him. Dada marshaled the innings up until the penultimate over, after which drama started. 7 required from 6 only I team that could have lost it was RR, but the match ended in a tie, thanks to wonderful last over by the tornado Kamran Khan. Owe it to the team spirit or captain spirit, Royals have the knack of pulling out victories out of thin air. One has to feel for Ganguly who almost took KKR to victory.

It takes great courage & guts to hand over the super over to a rookie, but that's Shane Warne, he gets the best out of the ordinary. 15 runs was good target of 6 balls. KKR missed the trick by using Mendis, probably a fast bowler would have been a better choice against Pathan. Now KKR have lost 2 out of 2 in the presence of Gayle, I just wonder their fate after Gayle's departure. Buchanan has to quickly convert his theory into practice, right now they neither look Knights nor the Ryders.

Royals Ryde the Super K(Night)

Alcohol Yeilds to Print Media

Sunshine at Capetown was good enough to recharge the Deccan Chargers, owe it to the change of colors or change of venue, they look a team determined to prove a point. After a day of rain hitting the pitch at Durban, it was Gilly belting the ball to all parts of the Sahara Park, Newlands. Anything pitched short was cut past point & the fuller ones were bludgeoned over the bowlers head. He showed that he is still one of the better strikers of the cricket ball. They say the best way to bowl at Gilly is to give him a single & put him of strike, RCB failed in doing so & had to pay the price. With Kumble bowling & Uthappa behind the stumps one witnessed some of the kannada words like KAL MURI (Leg-break), SUTTU TANE (he is going to swing), BARATTE (going to come), HAKI (put), ONDE (only one).

It took a brilliant catch from Kohli to finally dismiss Gilly, by then most of the damage was done. Rohit began to rub salt on RCBs wounds; his hunger for runs in this format of the game is increasing day by day. The way he belted Kumble for 3 towering sixes showed that he has come a long way, he definitely can give Raina a run for his money in the ODI squad. With some late fireworks Chargers reached tournaments highest score. PK needs to learn to bowl in batsman friendly conditions, otherwise he would end up being an English bowler grumbling all the time.

The first ball Edwards bowled was an in swinging yorker rattling Ryder’s ofstump; in contrast RCB bowled just one in the entire innings. RP just relishes conditions in South Africa. Kallis's bowling has been like a mandir ka ghanti; Jyo bhi aata hai baja ke jyata hai. KP is proving that he indeed is the Dum Slog Millionaire, as the English crowed once claimed & he has made no plans of erasing that. “Rahul Dravid walks out to save the follow-on.” was a nice comment on cricinfo, which explained pace at which RCBs were going. As said earlier Dravid is the only one who looks in good nick, he showed that T20 can also be played with conventional shots. He rightly earned the orange cap for leading the run score in the competition. With some charismatic shots from Kohli RCB ended 24 shots of the target. Well the only positives from this game would be posting 160 in 20 overs, which I guess is their highest score.

In this contest United Beverages Yielded to Deccan Chronicle.

CSK win the Cauvery River battle at Port Elizabeth.

After a weekend of ball dominating bat, cricket returned to normality as bat dominated the ball. Cricket is a batsman's game & is always exciting to watch batsman score 6s and 4s. Runs from Hayden's bat is always nice, even the one without a makers name. IPL so far has shown that when set batsman starts playing their shots pitch conditions don't really matter.

Hayden showed that he didn't lose any fire power after his retirement; he was at his bullying best. The walk-down-the-track to blast the quicks, the muscular sweeps against the spinners & daft touches behind the wicket were pretty amazing. Parthiv and Raina did their part to keep the momentum going. Dhoni is losing his fire power like a bottle of opened soda; he is just upping his numbers. Freddie did show a glimpse of his million dollar paycheck. Good bowling towards the end just pegged back CSK to 180 which looked like 250 at one stage.

Scoring at 9 an over isn’t RCB’s forte, not even with the revamped & rejuvenated team. Like an old wine in different bottle, old problems of collapses persist even under the new captain. Royal Challengers have problems up front, they are under a myth that they need an opener for each bottle. Settled opening pair is a key to success of any team, sooner they realize that lesser the embarrassment they would have to face.

By the time Murali came into bowl the match was already slipping away from the RCBs. Virat Kohli has been given enough opportunities, he is nothing more than an arrogant little spoilt brat. Kumble did show that he is still the best bowler in RCB. When Dravid arrived at the scene, there wasn't any foundation laid on which he could have built his wall. RCB collapsed for a paltry 87, perhaps it was an ad for AEROPOSTALE.

CSK have convincingly won the Cauvery River battle at Port Elizabeth.

Veterans Day Out

In the era where so much emphasis is on young blood, veterans Tendulkar n Dravid showed that "its not age but mileage that matters" even in today's arena. Clinical Sachin showed that why he is called the master blaster. Rahul picked up from where he had left from last year, he was the only person scoring runs and scoring fast for the RCBs. Kumble & Warne showed that spinner are like wine, get better with age. If Warne showed that age has never come in the way of his drift, dip & spin; Kumble show that accuracy still is his middle name.

The day-1 of IPL 2.0 saw surprises, both losing team were finalist of the first edition. This indicates that equations have changed. The tournament is played in a different country, hence different testing conditions. Because the bowl does a bit raw players who were successful in India may find it difficult to get adjusted to new conditions. Lack of technique & temperament might cause ones downfall.

Twenty2O is tricky format; 20 overs might looks too small to begin with; if you go bang bang n lose 2-3 wickets quickly then it just look herculean task to achieve the desired target. It might even trigger a chain reaction for fall of wickets. So one does need a player to anchor the innings at a good pace. This is where likes of sachin,rahul kallis,hayden would come into play. So the ideal old fashioned strategy would work here, keep wickets in hand and throw at the kitchen sink towards the end.

Just a back my theory up we have already had 2 collapses in RR & KKR with in the first weekend. So Veterans keep those gutsy innings coming; slow and steady will win the race in this IPL 2.0.

IPL 2.0 an In Depth Analysis --- Oh really!!!

The I PL 2.0 kick starts on 18th April in the “Diamond country” South Africa. As the wickets in SA would offer pace & bounce, it would be a contest between bat and ball eliminating the slam bang cricket. As a batsman you would need decent technique to negotiate the seam movement,& as a bowler you have a chance to exploit the weaknesses of the batsman. It would be an acid test for our domestic flat track bullies. Also since 24 of 59 matches are played in Durban of which 12 would be 4:30 pm starters, so there might be possibility of “win the toss win the game” kind of scenario if the “tide factor” of Durban comes into play; i.e. ball swings prodigiously under lights in Durban due to tide effect.

Rajasthan Royals owe all its success to Tanvir’s opening spells and Watson’s all round performance backed up with captaincy skills of Warne 2.0, with now their services unavailable Warne would have to come up with a Warne 3.0 in rebuilding the empire. Smith & Yusuf Pathan would hold the key again; Munaf has improved in last couple of months, watch out for the Tornado Kamran Khan.

Chennai Super Kings might emerge as the IPL king this time. Hayden’s fulltime service; Raina’s ability to pace innings, Albi Morkel’s hard hitting skills, Dhoni’s netagiri, Goni’s ability to hit the deck hard, Ntini's home adv, Murli’s guile could be fatal. Flintof's presence would be felt. Hope fully baccha patel & jogger Balaji won’t screw up this time around.

Kings XI Punjab’s marched into the semis thanks to Marsh and Hopes, now with their availability looking bleak coupled with absence of Brett Lee and Sreesanth onus would be on UV and Desi bowlers to step up. One can only feel for a team whose strike bowler would be Irfan Pathan. No wonder UV is already complaining.

Delhi Daredevil’s success story was no rocket science; won all the matches when the top 3 fired. And this time around Gauti is far more consistent & Warner would be an ideal replacement for Dhawan, Owais Shah and Collingwood would be handy. Addition of Delhi lad Nehra would bolster their pace attack along with McGrath and Maharoof. De Villier’s home experience will be useful. Absence of Shoab Malik would be a blessing in disguise, Karthick has left some unanswered questions.

Mumbai Indians probably have the best opening pair in Jayasuriya n Tendulkar; either of them can win the match single handedly. We all know about Bravo’s contributions with bat n ball. Hopefully Duminy’s 950k would be justified, Zaheer, Bhajji, Malinga, Dhaval &Co hopefully would fill the void in Pollock’s absence.

Bangalore Royal Challengers this time won't be Royally Challenged; first they got to wipe off the test team tag under their captain KP. It would be nice to see how KP would gel with Chanderpaul around especially after their verbal spat. Ryder and Taylor would give them a bit of fire power; Kallis needs to get out of his test match mood.

Kolkata Knight Riders will have ride on Mccullum n Gale. They will miss the services of Aktar,Gul,Hafeez,Ponting,DJ Hussey who played a crucial role last time. Not sure how much Mortaza can find his way. Buchanan would eventually find 4 decent players through his 4 captain theory. Poojara would be the player to watch out.

Deccan Chargers need to recharge their batteries as they look like a overpriced minnow team. They will need Gibbs,Gilly,Rohit,RP to fire each and every time if they want to stay in the competition.

Last time when I did a In Depth Analysis I got a comment as Oh really!!! in RED. Hopefully this time it wouldn't turn that way.

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