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Poll – Which team will take 4th place?

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Gayle, Vinay thwart MI

Yesterday evening the Royal Challengers Bangalore won one of the narrowest wins ever against the visiting Mumbai Indians. This also ended MI’s record of never being beaten by the home side here at Bengaluru. Observing the grass on the track, Ricky Ponting decided to give his pacers a chance to use the conditions by bowling first. Although RCB would have had some relief at the fact that Lasith Malinga wasn’t playing, his replacement Mitchell Johnson’s angle from left-arm over the wicket was very hard to score of for the RCB openers. In his second over, Johnson castled Tillakaratne Dilshan with a fuller delivery, and sent the off-stump out of the ground. Captain Virat Kohli showed flashes of aggression by taking on Johnson and Munaf Patel. Then he hit debutant Jasprit Bumrah for 3 boundaries in 4 balls before getting lbw on the 5th. Mayank Agarwal – who was batting at number 4 in the absence of AB de Villiers – perished shortly after, again to Bumrah. Chris Gayle then used Daniel Christan’s solidity at the other end to go for his shots. Although Christian fell to Harbhajan for 4 later on, the fact that he had stayed there gave Gayle the momentum he needed. Although domestic hero Karun Nair fell to Bumrah for a duck later, Gayle teamed up with Arun Karthik (19 of 19) to take RCB to a defendable 156. Just to demonstrate how Gayle’s aggression in the middle and death overs piled, consider this: he was at 21 of 20 at one stage, and finished at 92 of 58. Gayle went particularly severe on Munaf Patel, converting his figures from 0/8 in 2 all the way to 0/40 in 4. Many people had raised their eyebrows at the selection of the bowling attack, in which Jaydev Unadkat had been played ahead of RP Singh. Even more eyebrows were raised as he came in to bowl the opening over to the opening pair we have all been waiting to see since the auctions in Feb: Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. Although the RCB bowlers were not outrageously expensive, Sachin and Punter were still scoring with little difficulty, and brought up a 50-run stand in 7.1 overs. However, some sharp fielding by Unadkat resulted in Sachin’s run out 2 balls later. RCB then forced their way back into the game as Murali Karthik had Punter stumped about 2 overs later, and Vinay Kumar dismissed Rohit Sharma for the 3rd time in their last 3 meetings. However, Dinesh Karthik didn’t give up so easily. He took Christian for 24 in one over, and his efforts made sure that MI needed just 10 of the last over. However, Vinay Kumar bowled the best death-over of his life. First Ambati Rayudu sneaked a bye. Then Karthik perished attempting to clear the stands again, then Vinay clattered Rayudu, who was on strike because they had run in KArthik’s dismissal. Bhajji took a single, and Pollard struck a boundry that was almost a six. Then, VK – with 4 to defend – bowled a beautiful yorker that Pollard could only dig out for a single. It was heartbreak for all the MI players – particularly Dinesh Karthik – as they had come so close, but failed to pull it off. Ironic, as MI have given so many other teams this heartbreak in the past. Chris Gayle was adjudged Man of the Match for his match-winning knock, although Vinay Kumar was very much in contention. Well, now we will progress on to Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Pune Warriors India, which is yet another interesting game. Check back for the preview in about half an hour. See ya!

Ricky Ponting failed to make it large on his debut as an IPL captain

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The formats of cricket – a comparison

Cricket. The best international sport in the world in my opinion. With the 6 stumps, the 2 batsmen, and the 10 fielders, and the bowler, cricket is just an amazing game. Like any other game, it has formats. Cricket has three formats: Tests, ODIs, and T20s. Test cricket is “classic” cricket, played in white clothes, over a span of five days. It is the slowest of the formats, and takes a cricketing mind to watch patiently. ODI cricket is a little more on the exciting side. With 50 overs an innings, it is still very long, but not as long as Tests. Lastly, T20 cricket is the most quickly paced and exciting format of the game. It is only 20 overs long, meaning it is short, and hence not as boring. Now, let’s look at them from the perspective of the players.

Playing Test cricket for your country is a tremendous honor. Why, you may ask? Well, tests, as the name implies, are “tests”. They are the place where your skills will be put to the test. Test cricket demands more of the players than any format, both physically and technically. For one, the captain and coaches have to plan for five days, and not just one. They have to interpret how the pitch might behave for five days, and then come to a conclusion on selecting players and other stuff. Also, it really demands a lot of you, which ever position you play. Full-time bowlers are expected to bowl at least 35 overs a game, batsmen are expected to be like rocks; resolute, and determined to stay. To help them, strike rate is not important. They can take 200 balls to score 35 runs and nobody will care too much. Consequently, they are expected to score lots of runs. You are expected to get your team total to at least 360. Even fielders are tested heavily. For example, you can stand somewhere for like half the day and nothing will come your way, but when it does, you will be expected to pull out your best fielding. This is why fast-bowlers in particular find Tests very stressing, and also why quicks like Brett Lee and Shaun Tait forfeited this format and preferred to focus on the shorter formats.

ODI Cricket is kind of like the “neutral” format. This format is neither as slow and heavy as tests, nor as quick as T20s. You can score at a reasonable strike rate or about 80, and bowling spells are limited to 10 overs a bowler. A team total of 260 is a great total to have. It is not as terribly long as test cricket, but can go on from about 3 in the evening all the way till midnight. Still, it is the format where the majority of players play, as then neither have to be too durable, nor have to be too quickly paced. Even though teams that play it generally go at 4.5 an over on average, they can go at 8 an over sometimes, like the South Africa vs Australia match, where both teams scored 400+ runs in the whole 100 overs played.

T20 Cricket is the most unpredictable format of them all. You can need 5 of 30 balls with 5 wickets in hand and still lose the game, or score 25 in the last over to clinch a win. T20 is, in my opinion, the most fun of them all. It is 40 overs of run-scoring-wicket-falling-nail-biting-brain-twisting cricket. Your team can go from 124-0 in 13 overs to 150 all out in 19.4 overs, or go from 9-4 in 4 all the way to 197-7 in 20. It is the format that needs the most inventive thinking, and unorthodox tactics. In test cricket, you can bowl 6 full-tosses on middle stump, and even if the batsman hits 5 for six, if he gets out on the 6th, you’re safe. In T20 cricket, however, if you give 30 runs, whether or not you get a wicket, you will generally be taken off the attack. This is also the format where strike rate and economy matter the most. There’s a reason most senior batsmen don’t play T20s. After adapting to a required strike rate somewhere around a lukewarm 75-80, if you are expected to score at 200 when the circumstances call for it, it’s not easy. This is why most countries prefer to use T20s as a kind of testing site for young talents. Also, full-fledged all-rounders have more value in T20s than in any other format. That’s because you don’t have the option of using batsmen as part-time bowlers (if you ask MSD to bowl in T20s, the batsmen will take him for runs). So if you can bowl 4 overs at about 6.5, and hit at least 30 per game at a strike rate of around 120, you’re in. Despite all of what I have said, T20s are not very demanding physically. You need to bowl 4 overs as a bowler, and staying at the crease for about 10 overs will make you a very valuable batsman.

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IND vs AUS – Post match thoughts

The first test between India vs Australia went very well for the hosts. Dhoni’s magnificant 224, and Ashwin’s 12 wickets left the Australians hapless, and took a 1-0 lead in the 4 test series. For the Ozzies, only James Pattinson, Moises Henriques, and Micheal Clarke managed to provide some resistance against the Indian fury. While this victory might seem great, we must keep in mind that this was the same way we started against England, and went on to lose the series 2-1. Now, what negative points came out in this game? Well, we have Murali Vijay and Virender Sehwag’s miserable shows up front, and also we have Nathan Lyon’s dismal show with the ball. Probably because of Sehwag’s experience, Vijay will be the one to get the axe. Question is, who will replace him? I think that Shikhar Dhawan will be a good option for that. Why over Rahane? Well, Rahane’s shows against England were far below satisfactory, and also Dhawan provides another left-handed batting option. This will definitely prove useful, knowing that the Australian bowling lineup doesn’t have too much quality spin. With Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, and MSD in such good touch, this is a risk worth taking. For the Lyon problem, I don’t think there’s very much the Ozzies can do about it. Lyon is one of the two full-time spinners they have now. I believe they should just shrug off the fact that he conceded 215 runs in India’s innings an just keep in mind that he took 4 wickets, in addition to bringing in Xavier Doherty in to support him. The interesting thing will be to see at who’s expense he will come in. Definitely not Moises Henriquesor Pattinson. Probably not Starc, as he’s the only left-arm seamer in the side. I believe it will be either Peter Siddle or Philip Hughes who gets the axe. Doherty will definitely be a good move, as more than three-fourths of the Indian lineup is right-handed. Another few things I missed were the performance of India’s pacers, and Harbhajan Singh. Both Ishant and Bhuvneshwar didn’t trouble much with the ball, although the latter played a crucial knock with the bat. India don’t have too many pace options, but trying Ashok Dinda ahead of Ishant might be an interesting move. Now on to Bhajji. He had very moderate success in his 100th test. He took 3 wickets in 2 innings, whereas Ashwin took 12 and Jadeja took 5. Nobody is going to try and drop Ashwin, and Jadeja’s absolute snorter to Phil Hughes in the second innings was a delivery even fast bowlers would have been proud of. Dropping Bhajji for Praghyan Ojha might be an interesting move, but consider that the Australian line up has a total of 6 left handers. Ojha might be very effective, but when David Warner is opening the innings, playing a left arm spinner is always a risk. 

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India vs Australia: Some thoughts

The India vs Australia tour is something that will really be of importance for the Indian players. After suffering a 2-1 drubbing in the hands of the Englishmen in their test series, this will be a chance to redeem some of their lost glory. However, looking at the past will have no relief for the hosts. Last time the Indians met the Ozzies they were whitewashed 5-0. Of course, this time things will be much more different. No Ricky Ponting, Mo Micheal Hussey, No Rahul Dravid, No VVS Laxman, and no Gautam Gambhir. So India will have to rely heavily on Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar to keep the wheels moving. For the Ozzies, Micheal Clarke and David Warner will be the main guys to look out for. Clarke, however, is suffering from a hamstring, and it is possible that he may not play. In that case, Australia will rely a lot on Eddie Cowan and Usman Khawaja to keep the batting steady. In the field of bowling, India might miss Ishant Sharma, who is going to Melbourne to get his ankle looked out. Australia might have a troublesome task matching up to Praghyan Ojha, but considering that they have the left-handed Warner upfront, that night not be such a threat. The Ozzies might be tempted to go with four seamers in Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus. Starc and Johnson in particular should be able to produce some good swing, which when used properly might trouble India. If Johnson can bat at number 7, then going with Nathan Lyon as a spinner should be a good option. The Indian side, on the other hand, is recruiting several youngsters. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shakhar Dhawan, and Murali Vijy are three such youngsters. If they can play the seam bowlers out well, then I think that India shouldn’t have such a big problem, as Lyon is no Greame Swann. Bhuvi has shown incredible talent, and hopefully uses this opportunity to become one of India’s full-time seamers. Dhawan has also been brilliant, and hopefully can show some shine with the bat. Also, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli will be pivotal in India’s batting.

Potential Squads:

IND: Shikhar Dhawan, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Pragyan Ojha

AUS: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja, Micheal Clarke (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus

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IPL Auctions 2013- The highs and lows

 

 

Well, the auctions for this year are over. It was amazing, though. So here’s the promised post-auction summary. I hope you enjoy it :).

The 2013 auctions were far more exciting than the 2012 one. A total of 37 players were brought by the franchises, for a total of $11.89 million. Like all the auctions so far, this one had many surprises. For one, Mumbai brought Glenn Maxwell for a million dollars, making him the only millionaire, and also the most expensive player in the auctions yesterday. The extraordinary part about this, is that less than a year ago, Maxwell had barely 9 lines on his wikipedia page. Let’s hope he performs, and doesn’t end up like how Jaddu ended up last year. Another surprise was Kane Richardson. The South Australian fast bowler was fiercely contested for by Chennai and Pune, and the latter emerged victorious, buying him for a tremendous sum of $700,000. This made him the third most expensive player in this auction. Ajantha Mendis, who was the leading wicket-taker in the ICC World Cup T20 last year, was the second most, also picked by Pune, at $725,000. The most expensive Indian player was Abhishek Nayar, who was sold to Pune at $675,000. Some other surprise buys were Chris Morris, the Highveld Lions all-rounder, who was sold to CSK at $625,000, Sri Lankan all-rounder Sachithra Senanayaka, who was picked up by KKR at $625,000, and the Sydney Sixers all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was sold to Mumbai at $450,000. However, one of the biggest surprises was the fact that Doug Bollinger was unsold. The Australian quick was released by Chennai earlier, but wasn’t brought back. CSK shouldn’t miss him too much though, as they have replaced him with Dirk Nannes. Some other faces to look out for will be Ravi Rampaul, who got his first ever IPL contract worth $290,000 from Bangalore, Kushal Perera, who was picked up by Rajasthan for $20,000, and Ricky Ponting, who has been given his second IPL contract, this time with the Mumbai Indians, who forked over $400,000 for him.  Another interesting fact is that RP Singh now becomes the first ever Indian player to have represented 4 different IPL franchises (the first player ever was Owais Shah), as RCB picked him up for a bargain price of $400,000. RCB brought the most players (7), while Pune spent the most money ($2.5 million). Pune have also brought back Micheal Clarke, at his base price of $400,000. So that was the IPL Auctions 2013. If you want, you can see a full page on who brought who here. Goodbye 🙂

 

Glenn Maxwell: Our Million-Dollar Baby

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KXIP- A Pre-Auction Review

 

The Kings XI Punjab have had very little success in IPL since 2008, where they rode into the semifinals on Shaun Marsh’s blazing performance. Since then, they have finished 5th, 8th, 5th and 6th in IPLs 2009-12 respectively. Their best buy in last year’s auctions was the English-Pakistan all-rounder Azher Mahmood. Mahmood proved his worth as an experienced bowler and a devastating batsmen, despite the fact that KXIP crashed out at the last minute. On other KXIP news, Adam Gilchrist has announced that he will be available for IPL 2013, which is great news (not just to KXIP fans 🙂 ). Now onto their team. They have a lot of great young talent,  in the form of Mandeep Singh, Gunakreet Man Singh, Paul Valthaty, Parvinder Awana and more. Awana will definitely want to cover up his dismal show against England in the 2 T20s with another good show in IPL. Moving on, what KXIP really lacked last year was consistency. Their bowling unit in particular, was very, very inconsistant. And with a side filled with players like Praveen Kumar and Ryan Harris, you’d wonder why. This year I sense the batting is going to look really good with Gilly and Mandeep on top, followed by Marsh and David Hussey. In the middle they have Mahmood, Gunkreet Mann Singh, and possibly Siddharth Chitnis. Their bowling, however, still remains a worry. Only PK and Piyush Chawla have a decent amount of international experience. Of course, playing Ryan Harris ahead of Marsh is an option, but KXIP will still want a reserve option. Here, they have RP Singh, Dirk Nannes, and Johan Botha as good choices. This wouldn’t have been a problem if Stuart Broad had stayed, but he’s not going to be available this year either, so KXIP have released him, along with the overpriced Abhisheik Nayar, Kyle Abbott, Love Ablish, Amit Yadav, Ben Cutting, Paras Dogra, James Faulkner, Vikramjeet Malik, Ramesh Powar, and Nathan Rimmington.

Potential Squad:

  • Adam Gilchrist (c & wk)
  • Mandeep Singh
  • Nitin Saini
  • David Hussey
  • Azher Mahmood
  • Gunkreet Mann Singh
  • Piyush Chawla
  • Ryan Harris
  • Praveen Kumar
  • Parvinder Awana
  • Barghav Bhatt

Notes:

If extra spinner is needed, Botha comes in for Harris

If extra pacer is needed, Harmeet Singh comes in for Bhatt, 

If extra batsman is needed, Shaun Marsh comes in for Harris 

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MI- A Pre-Auction Review

The Mumbai Indians were, until 2011, the costliest franchise in the whole of IPL. Their team has always been on the favorites list since the inaugural IPL, with players like Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, and Lasith Malinga in their ranks. However, they didn’t win anything until CLT20 2011, whic

h they were least expected to win owing to the injuries of several players (the irony there is so thick you could cut it with a knife 🙂 ). After releasing 6 players, in the form of Clint McKay, Davy Jacobs, Richard Levi, Thisara Perera, Sujit Nayak, RP Singh, and Jaydev Shah. And they have finally managed to find a good opening pair for Sachin in the form of Dwayne Smith, and Dinesh Karthik has taken the keeper gloves. However, the Little Master (“God” knows why he’s still called that 😛 ) has been going through a very rough patch in his test career. However, he has also retired from ODIs. That means that other than the Australia tests, it’s very unlikely for him to have to play any international cricket until the South Africa series, that is supposed to take place sometime in November 2013 and go on till January 2014. This could either be a good thing, or a bad thing. A good thing, because MI will get a fully rested Tendulkar for IPL, bad because he might have lost whatever touch he had in the last couple of tests he played. However, I think that it’s very unlikely for the later to happen. All the same, MI should have a back up option in the event that Sachin is out of form. Even though that is extremely unlikely that he will be so woefully out of form for IPL (like most players, he has that magic touch that always appears during the IPL and mysteriously disappears after). And for those rare instances, I would say Jesse Ryder would be a great option. He hasn’t played much cricket off-late, but having him in the side will be a big boost for the Indians. If they really need Indian, Wasim Jaffer is another great option. He opened with Sachin in the Ranji Trophy, and doing it MI would bring lots of smiles to the fans.  Other than that, there’s really nothing wrong with the MI lineup. Mitchell Johnson was in good form, as he gave a Man of the Match show for Australia, claiming 6 Sri Lankan wickets and scoring 92* as the Ozzies stormed to yet another test victory. Also James Franklin held his nerve as New Zealand just scrunched past South Africa by 1 wicket in the first ODI.

Potential Squad:

  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Jesse Ryder
  • Rohit Sharma
  • Dinesh Karthik (wk)
  • Ambati Rayudu
  • Kieron Pollard
  • Mitchell Johnson
  • Harbhajan Singh (c)
  • Lasith Malinga
  • RP Singh
  • Praghyan Ojha

Notes:

  • If extra pacer is needed, Munaf Patel comes in for Praghyan Ojha.
  • If extra spinner is needed, Robin Peterson comes in for Mitchell Johnson
  • If extra batsman is needed, Dwayne Smith (or James Franklin) comes in for Mitchell Johnson
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What’s coming up in IPLgeek

The IPL auctions are approaching quickly. The date and venue have not been confirmed. but two possibilities are January 12 2013 in Chennai or January 20 2013 in Kolkata. As I don’t think I’ll have time to write anything then, I’m going to begin writing articles for each team, and hopefully will get it done by January. Each team will get an entire post with the following:

1) Background info

2) Strengths & Weaknesses

3) What they need

4) Who they can buy

Also, I will be updating each team’s page as soon as the auctions are over, as well as our auction results page.

After the auctions, I will try to make a summary of the auctions.

And in case you’re wondering, I will still be writing about all the other cricket that’s going on. Never fear 😉

So see ya, and stay tuned 🙂

 

 

 

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