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Sunday, May 21, 2017

IPL 2017 final: Proverbial David vs Goliath battle


At the start of the season, even the wildest of Rising Pune Supergiant fans could have predicted that their team would be fighting for the team. 

After a horrific debut season, Supergiant had a shake-up in the team roster and the most visible was that of the leader. 

The team management placed their faith on Australian Steve Smith and Dhoni probably had to endure the biggest blow in his career. 

Neutral cricket lovers would love to see Pune win simply because any underdog team triumphing in a league adds to the aura of the tournament. 

Mumbai Indians have done it before and were favourites to reach this stage before the start of the tournament. But Supergiant have shown earlier that if one team can be its hoodoo, it is Rising Pune Supergiant. 



IPL 2017 final : Mumbai Indians' think tank and their strategy helping MI to be in the Final

The last ball of the second Indian Premier League 2017 qualifier between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders pretty much summed up the fixture. It was a short ball, outside off, Krunal Pandya gave himself room, looking to slash it but got a top edge that went flying towards the third man area. Nathan Coulter-Nile rushed across to his right to catch it, but only managed to get his finger tips to the white object and the ball touched the boundary ropes to end Kolkata Knight Rider’s campaign. Mumbai Indians made bold decisions, stuck to it while KKR despite having plans couldn’t quite execute them. They were sloppy and, dare I say, tired.

After putting up a lacklustre performance and making some strange calls against Rising Pune Supergiant in the Eliminator, Mumbai bounced back in the second Qualifier to storm into the final. However, the tactics were still the same. Harbhajan Singh, once again, couldn’t find a place in the playing XI as Karn Sharma got another go. It was a brave move to back Karn’s wicket taking abilities than Harbhajan’s experience in big matches, but it paid off. The idea was simple, have a bowler who could dismiss batsmen in the middle overs, a trait which Harbhajan and both the Pandya brothers don’t offer to Mumbai’s captain Rohit Sharma.

Mahela Jayawardene has done a great job as Head coach of Mumbai Indians. 
Not just this, Mumbai’s team management seemed to have a plan for each and every top order batsmen from KKR. There were discussions whether Gautam Gambhir would come back to open with Chris Lynn in this important game. But KKR continued with their pinch-hitter Sunil Narine at the top.

Commentator Kevin Pietersen was gushing in Mitchell Johnson’s praise on air. He shared his experience of how intimidating it was to face the Australian pacer in the Big Bash League (BBL) and also revealed how he was excited to see a face off between Lynn and Johnson. He couldn’t have been happier after a top first over from ‘Mitch’. He varied his pace brilliantly and confused his compatriot with change in lengths, thereby managing to induce a top edge which fell in no man’s land. The work was done, neither was Lynn given anything to score off easily nor was he allowed to give the strike to Narine.

Mumbai have the best percentage of wickets (30.30) taken in the Powerplay in IPL 2017. So, when their strike bowler Mitchell McClenaghan sat out due to injury, they decided to toss the new ball to Jasprit Bumrah for the first time in this season and he delivered as Lynn holed out to Kieron Pollard at long on.

The responsibility to provide an explosive start was passed onto Narine. Teams that have been successful against the West Indian have cramped him for room and Mumbai’s bowlers did no different. Stump-to-stump lines ensured that he couldn’t swing his arms freely. The only delivery where he scored a boundary was an overpitched one around middle, which he could flick powerfully over the deep square leg fence. The bowlers forced the southpaw to take risks and when he did take one, he was stumped off Karn’s bowling.

As meticulous Mumbai’s strategy was against every batsman, the execution was just as perfect. That Gambhir has a habit of poking at balls that are in the fourth stump line is a well-known fact, but the way the bowlers persisted with that strategy against the tournament’s second highest run-scorer frustrated him. The dot balls had accumulated and to add to their woes, Bumrah had bowled the fifth over of the innings and trapped Robin Uthappa LBW. KKR’s score at the end of six overs was 25/3.

With no Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan (he was dropped), Gambhir knew he had to make a move, so he did and played a lovely inside out drive over covers off Karn’s first ball after PowerPlay to fetch a boundary. The southpaw, perhaps feeling a bit comfortable against the spinner, went for a sweep shot only to find Hardik Pandya in the deep. Gambhir departed for a 15-ball-12-run knock.  A plot which was begun by the fast bowlers was ended by a spinner. The next ball Karn, who had a forgettable 2016 season with Sunrisers Hyderabad, bowled a googly first up to Colin de Grandhomme and handed him a golden duck. The seventh over had just finished and KKR had lost half their side. Karn had repaid the faith the backroom staff had put in him and was on a hat-trick. The night hadn't even begun properly but the end was lurking around KKR.

Suryakumar Yadav, who was having a poor season thus far, and Ishank Jaggi, featuring in his second game of IPL 2017, were at the crease. Both the batsmen batted cautiously, showed solidity but made sure that they put the bad balls away. They forged a 50-run stand and looked set to up the ante when Rohit decided to go back to his wicket-taking leggie. Karn’s dream match continued, he broke the partnership, as Jaggi was caught by Mitchell Johnson at long on, and recorded his best bowling figures (4-0-16-4) in IPL. The rest of the Kolkata innings ended like a flash. They were skittled out for 107, a total that was never going to be challenging. But remember, this team had bowled out Royal Challengers Bangalore for 49 in a group match defending 132.  So the hope was still there for Kolkata fans.

Parthiv Patel was given the license to go after everything, at least it seemed so, as the Gujarat captain played some sumptuous shots before perishing for 14. Mumbai had lost two wickets in three overs, but Kolkata’s best bowlers – Narine and Coulter-Nile – hadn’t even bowled yet. Chawla castled Ambati Rayudu to make things even more interesting. One partnership was all that Mumbai required and Krunal Pandya was sent up the order.


                                                     Mahela as MI coach did a wonderful job.
                                                     pic : AFP

Krunal is a batsman who believes in scoring boundaries more than singles and twos. He did the same against Gambhir and Co in his 30-ball 45 run knock, he didn’t go through this method arbitrarily. He preferred safe shots, even while taking the aerial route he chose the gaps smartly. He scored runs all over the park at a strike rate of 150 on a pitch that was slow and where the ball was not coming onto the bat. He was well supported by Rohit who rotated the strike to ensure that dots don’t stack up. Though the Mumbai captain would be disappointed to end his innings with a needless shot. His side had got the partnership they needed to get over the mark.

Mumbai Indians are often mocked for having a star studded backroom staff, but in hindsight the planning is what separated both these sides. What if Kolkata had addressed that Gambhir’s average had dropped down to 19.40 since Lynn’s comeback. The Delhi batsman was struggling to get going in the period where fields were spread out and going back to open the innings could’ve turned things for him and his side. Would playing an out of form Yusuf had helped the side that had lost a solid batsman like Manish, considering his experience in the IPL? Or what if they had played Kuldeep Yadav in place of Ankit Rajpoot, given that the deck at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium was somewhat assisting the spinners?  They will bid goodbye to this season with a lot of questions. Mumbai, on the other hand, will travel to Hyderabad for the final with smiles and a tinge of worry as their nemesis Rising Pune Supergiant ask them some new questions. But they will afford to take rest for a day as their team management search for the answers.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Smith's Supergiant demolish Kings XI Punjab to enter Playoffs

The Rising Pune Supergiant inflicted a crushing nine-wicket defeat over Kings XI Punjab to secure themselves a place in the Playoffs. Led by Shardul Thakur's 3 for 19, the Supergiant bowlers shot out KXIP for 73, and chased it without breaking a sweat with 48 balls to spare.

We break down the match in five

Wicket of the first ball

This was a virtual knockout, with the winner becoming the fourth and final team to secure a Playoff berth. Hence, a good start is what both sides desired. The first blood was drawn by Jaydev Unadkat, off the very first ball of the match. Martin Guptill, chasing a wide delivery, was out caught at covers. Wriddhiman Saha and Shaun Marsh survived a couple of close catches, and the initial spell from Unadkat and Shardul Thakur shifted the tide early in favour of the Supergiant. Unadkat in particular was nothing short of spectacular on the field. After his first-ball wicket, his terrific piece of fielding resulted in the run out of Eoin Morgan. That wasn't all. He then threw himself at short fine-leg to take a diving catch stunner that sent back Rahul Tewatia. In 5 overs, KXIP were 31/4.

Shardul triple floors KXIP

The Pune surface offered variable bounce, but still bowlers had to deliver. And Shardul Thakur took that mantle to strike three crucial blows. First, it was his wicket of Shaun Marsh, where the batsmen aired a drive and found his Aussie mate Smith at mid off. Smith could have taken him off after two overs, but instead persisted with Thakur. And in reply, the bowler responded to his skipper's call by removing Tewatia and Glenn Maxwell in three balls. While Tewatia fell to that brilliant catch from Unadkat, Maxwell clipped a fuller delivery off his legs straight down Ajinkya Rahane's throat at deep square leg. In three overs, Thakur had stellar figures of 3/14.

Christian, Zampa feast on KXIP batsmen

From 32/5 at the end of Powerplay, there wasn't much scope of restoring order. Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel tried doing so but it was always going to be a herculean effort. Saha had a pretty ordinary outing. After struggling for 16 balls, in which he scored 13 runs, the wicketkeeper edged Daniel Christian to MS Dhoni behind stumps. The former Supergiant captain, who had earlier spilled a tough chance latched on to this one for his 100th IPL catch. Christian removed Axar in his next over, leaving KXIP tottering at 62/7 and at a spot from where there just wasn't any coming back. The last three wickets could add just 11 more before being shot out for 73, their lowest IPL total and the third-lowest this season behind Royal Challengers Bangalore's 49 and Delhi Daredevils' 67 (that ironically came against KXIP).


Supergiant cruise in chase

A target of 74 was never going to make Supergiant sweat much, and openers Rahul Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane ensured there weren't any early speed-bumps. The pair put on 41 patient runs for the opening wicket with Tripathi being the aggressor of the two, hitting four boundaries and a six over midwicket off Tewatia. Rahane seemed content biding his time and rotating the strike and was on 20 when Guptill dropped him at midwicket. KXIP however, did get a breakthrough as Axar cleaned up Tripathi but by then the equation had come down to 33 needed off 87, which Rahane and Smith achieved with 48 balls to spare. Rahane remained unbeaten on 34 with a four, and a six that he hit to score the winning runs.

Supergiant secure Playoff berth

After a dismal last season, the Supergiant joined Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders as the fourth team to make it to the Playoffs. With this dominant win, the Supergiant also finished second in the standings next to Mumbai, whom they now face them in Qualifier 1 - they've beaten Mumbai twice already this season. What was expected to be two teams batting hard and tough in this knockout, turned out to be a damp squib. KXIP lost wickets in heap, and the Supergiant got some throw downs ahead of their crucial Qualifier tie.

Captain Warner smashes Sun Risers into IPL playoffs


Gujarat Lions whimpered rather than roared in their final Indian Premier League match on Saturday, producing the worst collapse in the competition's history, before David Warner and Vijay Shankar clubbed Sunrisers Hyderabad into the playoffs.

The Lions will make way next season when Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are readmitted to the tournament following two-year suspensions.

Gujarat will sadly be remembered for the wrong reasons, having crashed from 111 without loss to 154 all out at Green Park.

Sunrisers skipper Warner strolled through the subsequent run chase, such as it was, with 69 not out off 52 balls faced, as his team recorded an easy eight-wicket victory, secured with 11 balls remaining in Kanpur.

He had a willing ally in Shankar, who notched 63 from 44, both men finding the boundary nine times each, to make sure of a spot in the top four.

Having been put in to bat, Dwayne Smith (54) and Ishan Kishan (61) added rapid runs for Gujarat early on, before the former departed lbw attempting to pull Rashid Khan (3-34).

The loss of Ishan, who top-edged Mohammed Siraj (4-32) to wicket-keeper Naman Ojha, two overs later sparked a landmark calamity for the home team.

Big guns Suresh Raina (2), Dinesh Karthik (0) and Aaron Finch (2) all followed in quick succession, as Gujarat slumped from 111-1 to 123-5 in the space of just seven balls. 

Ravindra Jadeja (20 not out) provided some token resistance and remained unbeaten at the crease, but saw potential partners come and go with barely a pause.

Pradeep Sangwan, Ankit Soni and Munaf Patel all made ducks, with James Faulkner (8) and Praveen Kumar (1) faring only slightly better.


That underwhelming return left Sunrisers with a simple task, the loss of Shikhar Dhawan (18) and Moises Henriques (4) in one Kumar (2-22) over doing little to delay the inevitable. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Injury scare !! - Coulter-Nile doubtful for Mumbai match


Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile is doubtful for their last Indian Premier League (IPL) tie against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Saturday. 

Coulter-Nile was not seen at practice on Friday. When asked about his update, bowling coach L. Balaji said: "It is up to the medical staff to decide so I will reserve my comment on that. Injury wise we are all safe." 

Coulter-Nile, who was injured during KKR's home game against Rising Pune Supergiant, has so far played six matches and has taken 11 wickets. 

Meanwhile, KKR vice-captain Suryakumar Yadav picked up a knock while training. Suryakumar, who is enduring a lean patch, was injured off a Trent Boult rising delivery and was seen sitting beside the nets for some time before leaving the field. 
Suryakumar has played eight times in this edition scoring just 74 runs.

IPL betting probe : BCCI ACSU chief says no approach made to players in Kanpur

The Board of Control for Cricket’s (BCCI) Anti-Corruption Unit head, Neeraj Kumar, said on Friday that there was no evidence of IPL team players having been approached in the case involving the arrest of three men in Kanpur over links with an illegal betting syndicate.

Neeraj Kumar, a former Delhi Police Commissioner, made the clarification following speculation that the trio arrested from the team hotel on Thursday had mentioned during police questioning that they had approached a few players.
However, sources said a few players belonging to Gujarat Lions, who next host holders Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Green Park on Saturday, are likely to be asked to clarify their meeting some unknown people before Lions’ match against Delhi Daredevils played on Wednesday.
The arrests have once again brought cricket in Kanpur and Hotel Landmark under the limelight. According to sources, the trio not just managed to book rooms in the team hotel, but also reportedly got their rooms shifted closer to that of the players.
This isn’t the first time such an incident is connected to Hotel Landmark, where cricket teams stay during any major match in Kanpur.
The CBI report on corruption in cricket released in 2000 said it was where then India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin introduced bookie Mukesh Kumar Gupta alias MK to then South Africa captain, the late Hansie Cronje.
According to the report, Mukesh Gupta told investigators that he was introduced to Cronje during the third Test between India and South Africa at Kanpur in 1996. Hotel records show MK had stayed at Hotel Landmark where India and South Africa teams were staying during the Test.
A local police source said things have changed since then. “The modus operandi has changed as bookies now operate through Instagram, Whatsapp and other social media sites to stay in touch with people concerned, but attempts at fixing game remain unchanged even today,” the source told HT on condition of anonymity.
However, it is a challenge for officials to keep track of suspicious activities during the IPL and players too cannot entirely stay away because they have to meet a number of fans and attend various functions while travelling from one city to another as there is a strong entertainment element to the league.

Monday, January 10, 2011

IPL AUCTION - DAY 2

IPL 2011 Auction day 2, Sunday 9th January


Player
Country
Purchased By
Base Price
Bidding Price
Role






Daniel Christian
Australia
DC
$50,000
$900,000
All-rounder
Umesh Yadav
India
DD
$50,000
$750,000
Bowler
Venugopal Rao
India
DD
$100,000
$700,000
Batsman
Munaf Patel
India
MI
$100,000
$700,000
Bowler
Laxmipathy Balaji
India
KKR
$100,000
$500,000
Bowler
Vinay Kumar
India
Kochi
$100,000
$475,000
Bowler
Murali Kartik
India
Pune
$200,000
$400,000
Bowler
Ashok Dinda
India
DD
$100,000
$375,000
Bowler
Shaun Tait
Australia
RR
$300,000
$300,000
Bowler
Mitchell Marsh
Australia
Pune
$100,000
$290,000
All-rounder
Manpreet Gony
India
DC
$50,000
$290,000
Bowler
Abhimanyu Mithun
India
RCB
$100,000
$260,000
Bowler
Jaidev Unadkat
India
KKR
$50,000
$250,000
Bowler
Sudeep Tyagi
India
CSK
$50,000
$240,000
Bowler
Ajit Agarkar
India
DD
$100,000
$210,000
Bowler
Owais Shah
England
Kochi
$200,000
$200,000
Batsman
Scott Styris
New Zealand
CSK
$100,000
$200,000
All-rounder
Wayne Parnell
South Africa
Pune
$100,000
$160,000
Bowler
Jesse Ryder
New Zealand
Pune
$100,000
$150,000
Batsman
Ryan ten Doeschate
Netherlands
KKR
$50,000
$150,000
All-rounder
Joginder Sharma
India
CSK
$100,000
$150,000
Bowler
Charl Langeveldt
South Africa
RCB
$100,000
$140,000
Bowler
Mohd Kaif
India
RCB
$100,000
$130,000
Batsman
Faf du Plessis
South Africa
CSK
$20,000
$120,000
Batsman
Clint McKay
Australia
MI
$100,000
$110,000
Bowler
Matthew Wade
Australia
DD
$100,000
$100,000
Wicket-keeper
Colin Ingram
South Africa
DD
$100,000
$100,000
Batsman
Dimitri Mascarenhas
England
Kings XI
$100,000
$100,000
All-rounder
James Pattinson
Australia
KKR
$100,000
$100,000
Bowler
Alfonso Thomas
South Africa
Pune
$50,000
$100,000
Bowler
Jerome Taylor
West Indies
Pune
$100,000
$100,000
Bowler
Nuwan Kulasekara
Sri Lanka
CSK
$100,000
$100,000
Bowler
Ben Hilfenhaus
Australia
CSK
$100,000
$100,000
Bowler
Pankaj Singh
India
RR
$50,000
$95,000
Bowler
Juan Theron
South Africa
DC
$50,000
$85,000
Bowler
Michael Lumb
England
DC
$50,000
$80,000
Batsman
Andrew McDonald
Australia
DD
$50,000
$80,000
All-rounder
Suraj Randiv
Sri Lanka
CSK
$50,000
$80,000
Bowler
T Perera
Sri Lanka
Kochi
$50,000
$80,000
All-rounder
Michael Klinger
Australia
Kochi
$20,000
$75,000
Batsman
Moises Henriques
Australia
MI
$50,000
$50,000
All-rounder
George Bailey
Australia
CSK
$50,000
$50,000
Batsman
Johan van der Wath
South Africa
RCB
$50,000
$50,000
Bowler
Luke Pomersbech
Australia
RCB
$20,000
$50,000
Batsman
Robert Frylinck
South Africa
DD
$20,000
$20,000
Bowler
Aiden Blizzard
Australia
MI
$20,000
$20,000
Batsman
Nathan Rimmington
Australia
Kings XI
$20,000
$20,000
Batsman
Jonathan Vandiar
South Africa
RCB
$20,000
$20,000
Batsman
Travis Birt
Australia
DD
$20,000
$20,000
Batsman
Chris Lynn
Australia
DC
$20,000
$20,000
Batsman
Nuwan Pradeep
Sri Lanka
RCB
$20,000
$20,000
Bowler
Rilee Rossouw
South Africa
RCB
$20,000
$20,000
Batsman
John Hastings
Australia
Kochi
$20,000
$20,000
All-rounder
O’ Keefe
Australia
Kochi
$20,000
$20,000
Bowler
Some big unsold players who were not able to find any takersin the IPL auction on Day 2
Jacob Oram


$200,000
Unsold
All-rounder
Ravi Bopora


$200,000
Unsold
Batsman
Sanath Jayasuriya


$200,000
Unsold
All-rounder