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Preview | Rajasthan Royals | IPL 2018

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The champions of the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Rajasthan Royals are all set to make a comeback into the most opulent cricket league in the world after a two-year gap.
After an astounding first season, the franchise dropped down to the sixth position in the points table in 2009. The next three years saw them wandering at the seventh, sixth and seventh position in the points table. In 2013, they failed to get past Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier. Royals dropped down to the fifth position in 2014. RCB knocked them out in the eliminator in the following year.
Upon their comeback, the franchise would be hoping for a performance which at least takes them through to the knockouts. Since 2008, Rajasthan Royals have been known for their investment in the youth. Despite a two-year gap, they have stuck to their strategy of believing in the youth, something which is apparent from looking at their squad on paper.
Expected Playing Eleven1) D'Arcy Short 2) Ajinkya…

Preview | Delhi Daredevils | IPL 2018

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Delhi Daredevils made it to the Semi-finals in the first two seasons of the Indian Premier League. But since then, their expedition has faced a lot of ups and downs. They did not make it to the qualifying round in 2010 due to a low Net Run Rate. They went through a sudden sink in 2011 when they finished at the bottom of the points table.
In 2012, they topped the points table but failed to get past Chennai Super Kings in the play-offs. 2011 struck them again in 2013 and 2014 as they finished at the bottom of the points table. They improved by a position each in 2015 and 2016, remaining at No. 6 in the points table last year as well.
Talking about their performance in this year's auction, Delhi Daredevils have done a commendable job in building a squad of 25 players, which has a perfect blend of experienced campaigners, T20 specialists, all-rounders and youth. It was evident that they had come into the auction after doing their homework. Out of the available budget of INR 80 crores, D…

Preview | Royal Challengers Bangalore | IPL 2018

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If it is that time of the year when eight Indian franchises lock horns in a bid to conquer the most opulent cricketing league, it is also that time of the year when pundits are discussing meticulously as to why Royal Challengers Bangalore should have won at lease one season of the tournament till now. This tale has been ubiquitous before the start of every IPL season for some years now.After the season, the same pundits analyse reasons due to which RCB didn't end up lifting the trophy. Such has been the theory of expectations with context to Royal Challengers. Not that the pundits are anywhere wrong, the team's batting order over the years has been so dominating that anyone can mistake them for being the winners. As unfortunate as it sounds, the franchise finds a reason every single time to not win the trophy. Despite the outcomes, Royal Challengers Bangalore are always supported by a heavy and passionate fan base. The team under Virat Kohli would want to lift the title at leas…

Preview | Chennai Super Kings | IPL 2018

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Having served a two-year ban, Chennai Super Kings are all set to make a comeback into the Indian Premier League (IPL). One of the top two teams in the IPL in terms of results, Chennai Super Kings is also one of the topmost teams in terms of fan following. The franchise from down South enjoys a fervent fan following, a base which has supported their heroes in both good and bad times.
After being runners-up and semi-finalists in 2008 and 2009 respectively, Chennai Super Kings eventually won the IPL title in 2010. Having repeated the feat in the following year, they have thrice entered the final since then, but failed to cross the victory line on all occasion. If there is a team which has been most consistent in terms of making it to the play-offs since the inception of the IPL, it has to be Super Kings.
What the Super Kings did the best before the auction was to not let go Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja in the IPL auction. For a team making its comeback, it was imp…

Franchises must buy more local players

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The much-anticipated IPL auction of this year is just a handful of days away from the real world now. It will be that time of the year when the soi-disant demigods of the game will be up for sale. The celebrated names on the cricket field will be hawked across the eight franchises and depending upon their needs, demands and budget, these franchises will build a team by luxuriating in some money-spinning deals.
The reason why this year's auction is a hot topic is because it is going to be a mega auction which will see a significant revamp in the structure of almost all teams. The two-day auction is likely to be a witness to numerous startling decisions. The Indian Premier League is at a level now where a lot of things have to be kept in mind before taking a decision for there are other facets involved which are far away from the competition between the bat and the ball. A commercialised event, as it has been for some years, a lot of pondering goes behind the development of the brand …

What is lost is not just a series

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There were theories regarding this Indian Test team being the best so far to compete in and against South Africa. There were talks as to how each player of the current lot understands his role and responsibility in the team. There was confidence to the extent that the idea of playing a warm-up match was shelved. 
But within a span of 13 days, things have changed. Well, the results have forced us to think likewise for what is lost is not just a series, but, an aspiration. An aspiration to continue the current form in overseas conditions and the greater aspiration of winning a Test series in South Africa.
Selection conundrums? Plenty! They were, they are and they will remain until and unless they are worked upon. Be it the openers, the middle-order or the wicket-keeper, there is no set procedure at the moment.
India were banking heavily on Murali Vijay (69 runs in two matches at an average of 17.25) and Cheteshwar Pujara (49 runs in two matches at an average of 12.25) before the series. Th…

Preview - First ODI - India vs Australia

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It is not for the first time that Australia are completing a tour of India in multiple trips. Talking about Australia's visits to India in the past decade, they played a seven-match ODI series in 2007. In the following year, they played a four-match Test series. The Aussies featured in another seven-match ODI series in 2009.
In 2010, they visited India for a short tour, i.e., two Test matches and three ODIs, out of which two ODIs were abandoned without a ball being bowled. In February-March 2013, they played a four-match Test series on the Indian soil. They returned back in October to play a one-off T20I and seven ODIs. Perhaps, their itinerary of 2017 was made on similar grounds. A four-match Test series in February-March, followed by a five-match ODI series and a three-match T20I series in September-October. Australia beat Pakistan 4-1 in ODIs this year (in January). However, they haven't won a match in the same format since then. Playing an ODI series against India in India w…