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Showing posts from April, 2016

IPL 9 Preview - Match 28 - GL vs KXIP.

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There are to many ways to look at this match.Gujarat Lions vs Kings XI Punjab.No. 1 team vs No. 8 team.Loftiest vs Rock bottom.Gujarat Lions might have some things to ponder about. But winning isn't one. With six wins in seven matches, the team is at the top of the points table. The openers, be it Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum or Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, have laid foundations on which not only the batsmen but the bowlers thrive as well. Runs are coming in gobs but what makes the difference is the speed which they are coming. Smith (168.18) and McCullum (160.29) are among the batsmen with highest strike rate in the tournament. The skipper, Suresh Raina, has chipped in with vital innings when his team required them the most. He is yet to reach his best and if that happens, the bowlers from Punjab will have a tough time. Dinesh Karthik has yet again proved that he is as good as in front of the stumps as he is behind them. In Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkne…

IPL 9 Review - Match 26 - DD vs KKR.

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The sun was shining like a blowtorch in Delhi. Such was the weather. But the true level of the fitness of a cricketer can only be regulated in exigent conditions. The mercury had risen above 40 degrees but even then the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and elected to field. Batting first could have saved his team from the scorching heat of Feroz Shah Kotla but his decision was inspired by the latest trend of chasing.
His decision was very well supported by Andre Russell, who got rid of the openers in the first over itself. Delhi was already low on the economic front after dropping Pawan Negi. Imagine the financial value of a team when it benches a player worth 8.5 crores!
Within the powerplay, Delhi Daredevils lost Sanju Samson as well, restricting them to 37-3 after six overs. It was as if what happened 20 days ago was again in the making. In their first match, KKR bundled out Delhi on 98 in Kolkata and their bowlers were perhaps writing another such script.
But what follow…

Playing along the carpet!

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Gautam Gambhir has become the first batsman to hit 400 boundaries (fours) in the IPL. The shot which went through the mid-wicket region off Hardik Pandya brought his 29th half century and was also his 400th boundary in the IPL. His tally has reached to 401 now. The second in the list is the highest run-scorer of the IPL, Suresh Raina, with 338 fours. The disparity between the two displays that Gambhir is the epitome of a batsman who counts on playing along the carpet rather than favoring the aerial shots.
A perfect exemplar of this would be his running total of 48 sixes in the ninth year of the tournament. He is the fourth-highest run-scorer in the IPL since it's inception. Among the top 5, he has the lowest no. of sixes. Above him is Virat Kohli, with 119 sixes in the tournament. Gambhir best demonstrates that the shortest format of cricket is not only about the sixes. The boundaries along with the singles and doubles are equally important.

Gambhir is not only at the top of the …

Dhoni vs Raina: Second bout!

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It will be the second time when Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina will face each other in the Vivo IPL 2016. More than the individuals, it will be more about Rising Pune Supergiants taking on the Gujarat Lions at this crucial juncture in the league. Supreme Court's order of IPL not happening in the drought-hit Maharashtra means that this match will be the last in the state. The fact that it will be Supergiants' last engagement in their official home ground of Pune makes this contest of paramount importance for them.The front-page news in the home team's domain would be the unexpected and unfortunate end of Faf du Plessis' IPL 9 journey. His broken finger has ruled him of the sport for six weeks. du Plessis is the second Supergiants' player after Kevin Pietersen to be ruled out of the tournament due to an injury, which will further incapacitate things for the management. A replacement must and will be called but not before tomorrow's match. So, Dhoni will hav…

IPL 9 Preview - Match 24 - MI vs KKR.

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After beating Kings XI Punjab hook, line and sinker in their previous match, Mumbai Indians are high on confidence once again in the tournament. It is the first team to complete half it's campaign. Despite that, they are yet to fill their bill. As of now, their form reads L W L L W L W which is in disagreement with their status. As a result, they are placed on the points table at fifth position with only seven matches remaining. More than anything, they would have wanted to win the match against Delhi Daredevils. In a match where they required 67 from 8 overs with 8 wickets in hand, felling short of 10 runs at the end was a stumbling block.
Parthiv Patel was the highlight from their victory in the last match. His coming back to form will release a lot for burden from his opening partner and captain, Rohit Sharma's head. MI will also be gratified with the way Ambati Rayudu has shielded the No. 3 position. Jos Buttler is yet to deliver a trademark performance. He has got the start…

New team, new results!

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India' s ODI and T20I captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is finding himself on the wrong side of the points table in the IPL for the first time in nine years. After the loss to Kolkata Knight Riders last night, the campaign for Rising Pune Supergiants has undergone four consecutive defeats. In the 134 matches that Dhoni has captained in the IPL, this is the first time that his side has lost four matches on the trot. Such has been his domination for eight years. Under MS Dhoni, Rising Pune Supergiants has looked far from being a stone's throw away to what Chennai Super Kings was under him. The franchise has been changed for Dhoni, so have been the results!

A calf injury to Kevin Pietersen has forced him to return back to England, which has not worked in Supergiants' favor. Neither has Steve Smith's indifferent form. Ajinkya Rahane and Faf du Plessis have looked impressive at the top of the order but it is the middle order that has let them down. Mitchell Marsh, Thisara Pere…

IPL 9 Review - Match 13 - KXIP vs KKR.

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If it was Kolkata Knight Riders' third victory in the Vivo IPL 2016, it was Kings XI Punjab's third defeat, leaving them at the bottom of the table. The 13th match of this edition of IPL had brought with it an air of despondency for the home team. If their sole win against Rising Pune Supergiants had displayed some light at the end of the tunnel, their loss last night dimmed it again for them. They have yet again become a casualty of the same issues that led them to finish at the bottom of the points table last year.
Knight Riders' skipper, Gautam Gambhir, chose to field after winning the toss. His decision of going with the flow made sure that out of the 13 matches played so far, 12 have been won by teams batting second. After coming at the back of a win each, none of the team altered with the winning combination. Punjab scored a decent 41 runs in the powerplay but lost the important wicket of Manan Vohra in the process. Just when Murali Vijay and Shaun Marsh settled in the…

IPL 9 Preview - Match 13 - KXIP vs KKR.

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If Kings XI Punjab are second from the bottom in the Points Table of IPL 2016, Kolkata Knight Riders are second from the top. The huge difference is because of the result of their respective inaugural match. However, the tender age of IPL 9 ensures that the current place of both the teams is not everlasting. If Kings should not get bogged down by their current status, the Knights should certainly not be complacent with their achievements in the tournament so far. The fickle nature of the the tourney will keep both the teams on their toes.
Both the teams will face each other in Mohali on April 19. After coming from a win in their previous match, both the teams would look to carry the momentum forward, but unfortunately one would have to rebuildit again in it's next match. Punjab defeated the Supergiants from Pune on Sunday to register their first win. Much of that credit went to the openers - Murli Vijay and Manan Vohra. The team would definitely be expecting another such outing fro…

Elect to bowl, Elect to win!

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10-1!!
IPL 2016 is only in it's budding phase right now. At such a point, a variance of 10-1 is too big to digest. The above numeric value does not suggest any team's lead or any team's trail. But it still is a fact of it's own kind.
Out of the 11 matches played in the ninth season of IPL so far, 10 have been won by teams batting second. Only Royal Challengers Bangalore have registered a victory after batting first. But it was Sunrisers Hyderabad's captain, David Warner, who won the toss and put them to bat. RCB further strengthened their case by posting 227-4 on the board. In the quest to register a win, Sunrisers decided to bat in their second match, but found themselves on the losing side yetagain.
Mumbai Indians elected to bat in their inaugural match but managed to score only 121-8. MS Dhoni seldom follows the stats. Some one like him is more of the believer of creating them. But so far, and out of the ordinary, even he ended up losing both the games where he won…

IPL 9 Preview - Match 9 - Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat Lions.

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In what will be the second match of the Super Saturday, Mumbai Indians will take on Gujarat Lions in Mumbai. Having won one and lost one match in the tournament so far, Mumbai will be looking to extend it's winning streak. The front-page news for Mumbai Indians at the moment is the addition of Martin Guptill in their squad. Guptill, 29, has replaced the injured West Indian batsman, Lendl Simmons. Another right-hand opening batsman, Guptill can be devastating at the top of the order. His attacking instincts can diminish the skills of any bowler around the globe.
Guptill will most likely be included in the playing eleven by MI which means that the captain, Rohit Sharma, will have to bat at one position lower than he usually does. It will also solve their concerning matter of having some one reliable at No. 3. But Guptill's inclusion will leave the management with a lot of permutations and combinations. He will replace his New Zealand team mate Tim Southee as the fourth overseas p…

IPL 9 Preview - Match 8 - SRH vs KKR.

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Tomorrow will be the first time in Vivo IPL 2016 that two matches will be played on the same day. After the release of this year's fixture, it was observed that there was no room for day/night matches on weekdays in this edition of the IPL. So get your acts together for the first Super Saturday of IPL 9!
The first match will be played in Hyderabad between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. The home team will play it's second match, having lost the first one against Royal Challengers Bangalore by 45 runs. Their bowlers leaked runs at will, as many as 227. David Warner gave himself a chance to chase down 228 but did not get any sort of support from the non-striker's end. The lower middle order cleared the boundary several times but it was all too late at that moment.
If the injury to Yuvraj Singh just before the start of the tournament was a big blow for them, the injury to Ashish Nehra in the first match is a much bigger one. The fact that Nehra was in form and wa…

The Chief vs The Lieutenant.

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In what was the sixth match of Vivo IPL 2016, the two new franchises were to face each other. For common people, it was a contest between Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions, but for followers of IPL since it's inception, it was a contest between a Chief and his Lieutenant. It was a contest between a Leader and his Deputy. It was a contest between a Headman and his Second in Command. Yes, it was a contest between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina.

If ever a story on bromance in IPL would be written, Dhoni and Raina would be named as the actors in lead. Such has been the alliance between them. The duo has represented Chennai Super Kings since the first season of the IPL. They have shared the highs and lows (mostly highs) of the tourney for 8 years. But what was written in the stars had it's say over anyone else. As a result of which, both the players are now captains of different franchises. Their maiden clash was always one to watch out for.
When the captain of the …

IPL 9 Review - Match 2 - KKR vs DD.

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In a match where both teams took field for the first time in IPL 2016, Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Delhi Daredevils by 9 wickets. It was as if Delhi had brought it's woes from the last season along with it. Their script had the same old plot of batsmen failing in unity. At the toss, Delhi were put into bat first by the opposition skipper, Gautam Gambhir.
After the first two overs, just when they started opening their arms, their script came into play. Quinton de Kock played an awkward pull straight to mid-off to start the proceedings for them. Shreyas Iyer, highest run-scorer in Ranij Trophy 2015-16 followed him to the pavilion in the same over. In an attemp to pile up the run rate, Mayank Agarwal played a lofted shot, but the extra bounce made sure that ball reached safely to Brad Hogg, who was placed at third man. The fourth batsman to fall in the powerplay was Karun Nair, who was unable to keep his drive along the carpet, further reducing Delhi to 35-4 after 6 overs.
When Sanj…

IPL 9 Preview - Gujarat Lions.

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Gujarat Lions is one of the two fresh teams in this year's IPL. Having owned by Keshav Bansal, Director of Intex Technologies, the management bought 24 players (17 Indian + 7 Overseas) for all intents and purposes in the IPL players draft and the IPL auction earlier this year. Suresh Raina, IPL's highest run-scorer was named as the captain of the team. Raina has played a significant role for Chennai Super Kings over the past 8 years. Some one of his experience in the IPL was bound to become the captain of a new team.
Lions have pretty much the same players which formed the core of Super Kings. The team was further uplifted with the addition of Brad Hodge as their Head coach. The 41-year old from Australia might look old on paper but is still in his playing days, having played the Pakistan Super League earlier this year. It is always good to have some one like Hodge as a coach because the more recently you retire, the more you know about the modern day game. His companion in the…

IPL 9 Preview - Rising Pune Supergiants.

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Rising Pune Supergiants is one of the two fresh teams in this year's IPL. Owned by Sanjiv Goenka of RP Goenka group, the management bought as many as 25 players (17 Indian + 8 Overseas) in the IPL players draft and  IPL Player auction held earlier this year. MS Dhoni has been the most fruitful captain in the history of IPL. Having a winning percentage of 60.93 as captain in the IPL, Chennai Super Kings never missed the knockout stage under him for consecutive 8 years. With Dhoni leading the Pune team this year, it is perhaps an enormous boost for them.
Besides Dhoni, they have also added New Zealand's former captain, Stephen Fleming as Head coach. If Dhoni was instrumental for CSK on the field, Fleming was the main person responsible for their success off it. He is also the Head coach of Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. Some of Stars' Top performers have also been added to the squad. Hrishikesh Kanitkar has been named as the Assistant coach and Eric Simmons will hand…

IPL 9 Preview - Delhi Daredevils.

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Delhi Daredevils made it to the Semi-finals in the first and second season of IPL. But since then, their expedition has faced lot of ups and downs. As a result, even after 8 years, they still are without an IPL title. They have had 8 captains in the IPL so far. Zaheer Khan, their captain for this season, being the ninth one.
In 2008, they finished at the fourth position in the points table. In the Semi-final, Rajasthan Royals thumped them by 105 runs. In the following season, Deccan Chargers defeated them by 6 wickets in the Semi-final. They didn't make the qualifying round in 2010 because of their low Net run rate. They received a sudden sink in 2011 when they finished at the bottom of the points table. In 2012, their improved performance enable them to finish at the top of the table. However, they again lost in the Semi-final. They replicated their performance of 2011 in 2013 and 2014, finishing at the bottom of the table. In the previous edition, they finished at the seventh p…

IPL 9 Preview - Kolkata Knight Riders.

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Kolkata Knight Riders has always been the most acclaimed team in the IPL. KKR was in the limelight when Brendon McCullum smashed 73-ball 158* in the first match of the IPL. KKR was again in the public's eye when the management did not purchase Sourav Ganguly in 2011. Having waited for four long years, they won their maiden IPL title in 2012 undership the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, drawing everyone's attention towards them yet again.
They failed to go past the league stage in 2013. But, were once again declared the Champions in 2014. Last year, they finished at the fifth position.
The team is owned by the King of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan, along with Juhi Chawla and her spouse, Jay Mehta. The skipper, Gautam Gambhir had expressed desires of buying a fast bowler ahead of this year's IPL auction. They ended up buying as many four fast bowlers along with three other players. They are: Colin Munro - The 29-year old hard hitting New Zealand batsman is a T20 specialist. Known for …