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Top 5 Bargains of the IPL 2016 Auction

Dale Steyn was picked up for quite a bargain price. ( Image from indiatoday.in )

The 2016 IPL Auction was arguably the most interesting of all time, not just because of the influx of players from the now-suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises, but also because of the fact that two teams – Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions – had to build their teams pretty much from scratch in what we consider as one of those “team strengthening” auctions. While I saw many buys that just had me scratching my head, I also saw a couple of excellent bargain buys, five of which I shall highlight in this article.

#5 – Stuart Binny (Rs. 2.00 crores – roughly $295,000) – Royal Challengers Bangalore

I realize that many may not think Binny as a marvelous bargain made in this auction, and they are not wrong to do so. However, we must consider the team that he has been brought into. RCB has been in search of a proper Indian all-rounder since…well, forever. Yuvraj was a good shot, but 14 crores was a weight too big for the RCB purse to bear, and he was let go. Acquiring Binny may have finally solved that problem. Although he hasn’t been in prime form over the last year, if he can roll his arm over for 2-3 overs at 8 or less, and swing a couple of sixes at the end of the innings, he will be quite and asset for the franchise. Of course, the question of whether or not he will actually perform remains, but I feel that for the risk, 2.00 crore is not a bad price to pay.

#4- Kevin Pietersen (Rs. 3.50 crores – roughly $515,000) – Rising Pune Supergiants

Even though his standing with the English Cricket Board is flaky at best, it is undeniable that Kevin Pietersen is a true mascot of the sport of cricket, and a worldwide entertainer. He has not donned the English jersey since England’s unceremonious loss of the 2013-14 Ashes Down Under, yet he continues to ply his trade in various T20 Leagues around the world – such as the Big Bash League, the Carribian Premier League, and the recently started Pakistan Super League. Wherever he has gone, he has given fans a marvelous display of T20 skill and power. He captained the Delhi Daredevils to their disastrous 8th place finish in 2014, and had to opt out of his Sunrisers contract last year to ply his trade at county cricket in a bid to return to the international squad. This year, he will be at Pune, alongside the likes of MS Dhoni, Steve Smith, and Faf du Plessis. While 3.50 crores is a significant amount of money, for someone in the form that KP is in, it is quite a steal.

#3 – Mustafizur Rahman (Rs. 1.4 crores – roughly $210,000) – Sunrisers Hyderabad

When we think of India’s devastating Bangladesh ODI series in June 2015, Mustafizur’s name comes up almost the same way Hitler’s does with World War II. The man picked up 5, 6, and 2 wickets in the first three games respectively, giving his team a 2-1 victory. The young 20-year old has not stopped his carnage there, however, as he holds averages under 15 in both T20 and ODI cricket. With a great abundance of Indian pacers in the Sunrisers lineup, not to mention Trent Boult vying for that bowler’s overseas slot, it will be difficult for Mustafizur to get games on a regular basis, but regardless, a price of 1.40 crores for him was a real jackpot for the Sunrisers.

#2 – Dwayne Smith (Rs. 2.30 crores – roughly $340,000) – Gujrat Lions

Since he was made a regular opener by the Mumbai Indians in 2012, Dwayne Smith has taken the IPL by storm. His belligerent hitting played a vital role for MI in 2013, as he covered up for Sachin Tendulkar’s injury and helped them win their first title. When he was contracted to CSK in 2014, he simply picked up from where he left off, partnering with Brendon McCullum to make one of the most devastating opening pairs in all of IPL. In fact, he came within tasting distance of the 2014 MVP Award, only to lose it by half a point to Glenn Maxwell. Considering that they drafted McCullum beforehand, they will be very happy that they could pick up his CSK opening partner for such a modest price.

#1 – Dale Steyn (Rs. 2.30 crores – roughly $340,000) – Gujrat Lions

Despite the fact that he’s going through a rather rough patch, with injuries and lapses in form, Dale Steyn is still one of the best bowlers in the world today. Like he showed in 2012 with the Deccan Chargers, he can single-handedly lead a team’s bowling attack to some success. When Gujrat came out of the Player Draft, many questions were raised about how they were going to acquire someone to spearhead them for a price that their budget would permit. Hence, picking someone like Steyn up for just 2.30 crores was a true bargain.  

 

 

 

 

 

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IPL Player Draft: Takes

by iplgeek 0 Comments

MS Dhoni will be seen in Pune colors this year. Image Source: www.ibnlive.com

This year’s IPL will feature an interesting twist. The termination of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals left a gap for two new franchises – Pune and Rajkot – and these two teams today picked 5 players each out of the pool of former CSK and RR players.

Here’s what came out:

Pune: MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis

Rajkot: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo

It is no surprise that these players were picked; the only question was which teams they would play for. The biggest talking point is that Shane Watson was not picked. However, this too is not entirely shocking. Watson has been plagued by injuries and very sporadic form over the last 2 years, even in IPL. Hence, he will appear in the auctions for the first time since 2008.

Pune

Overview

It is interesting to see Dhoni, Faf and Smith – three leaders for their respective countries – all in one team. In Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin, they also have what is arguably team India’s best batsman-bowler combination today. Their team is very “polar” in terms of player specialities selected, as they’ve gone with 4 batsmen and one bowler. For the historically slow Pune track, this is not an entirely bad strategy.

What to Go for in the Auction

Pune’s top order looks in safe hands, with Rahane and Faf both capable of opening the innings, and Smith playing one down. What they should go for in the auction would be some all-rounders and bowlers, to provide some stability. The exact players they should go for is something that will be released when the auction list is.

Rajkot

Overview

While I love Pune’s players, Rajkot have probably done a better job in terms of team selection. Going for 3 all rounders in Jadeja, Faulkner and Bravo, they will have a strong foundation of all-rounders upon which to build their squad. In addition, McCullum and Raina are both prime top-order batsmen, and decent captaincy options.

What to Go for in the Auction

Like I mentioned, Rajkot have a strong foundation. Therefore, in the auction I sense they will be looking for more prolific, expensive bowlers, and top- of-the-line hard-hitters to work with Raina and McCullum. However, once again, it is difficult to come up with a definitive list of players for them to buy without a full list of players who will participate in the auction.

We will see the two teams again in the Auctions, which will take place on the 6th of February 2016 (our 5th Anniversary) in Bangalore.

 

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Resilient: An International Tale

Some of the various atrocities in the world today Source: Facebook.

                Some of the various atrocities in the world today. Source: Facebook. 

Paris: Terrorist attacks. Japan: Earthquakes. Baghdad: Suicide bombings. These are just a few of the major calamities that have happened over the last two days. Discounting the global scale, one only needs to look at a newspaper to see a plethora of atrocities that make even the holocaust look humane. This is not something new to our world. We have seen these kinds of events before, and we will see them in the future. There’s no escaping it.

While sifting through all the tabs on my browser, I inevitably stumbled upon the Australia vs. New Zealand test match. While comparatively insignificant, the Kiwis were going through a tragedy of their own. Led by the belligerent David Warner, Australia had racked up a massive 559/9 in less than 2 days, something that essentially wins half the game for you. Add Mitchell Starc to the equation, and I thought the Kiwis were done and dusted, and moved on. Yet, when I checked the scorecard recently, the men in black had put up 510/6, a feat that nearly mirrored the one the home side had put up. As I saw this impressive display of batting, something hit me. Resilience. That was the answer. Crises occur all the time. In 2001, it was America, in 2008 it was India, yesterday it was France, and tomorrow it will be someplace else – we cannot stop that. I now speak to all the survivors of atrocities – be it those that’ve made headlines on CNN or made 5th page on the local newspaper – be resilient. Keep your head up, and know that people are praying for you, in different languages, to different Gods, in different places, but for the same purpose. Keep your head up, even if it seems that things can’t get any worse, as the path is still not at it’s end. Keep your head up.

Now, I am aware that I am probably asking you for the impossible. I realize that I am probably asking you to come back from the dead, or to lift a mountain with one hand. However, know this: life doesn’t wait. Life doesn’t care how hard you fall. If New Zealand had succumbed to Mitchell Starc – who was hitting 160 kilometers per hour – and the sheer magnitude of the Australian score, would they have won a “pity point”? No! The series would have been 0-2, and that’s it. Now I’m not trying to be an insensitive person, but I beseech you, fight. While you have arms, pick up your sword, and fight for all it’s worth. Be resilient, like the New Zealanders, and like hundreds of thousands of others impacted by these crises across the years.  Just fight. I cannot guarantee that you will win, but you can sure as hell try. If you can’t be a victor, you’ll be a martyr. So stand up, and fight. Stand up, and be resilient.

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IPL Semifinals: Who Stands Where?

by iplgeek 0 Comments

CSK have been brilliant yet again, and are the first team to be guaranteed a semifinal spot. (image from http://www.cricketcountry.com/)

IPL Season has just flown by, and we’re already approaching the playoffs. The points table stand as follows:

  1. Chennai Super Kings (16 points, NRR = +0.646)
  2. Royal Challengers Bangalore (15 points, NRR = +1.037)
  3. Kolkata Knight Riders (15 points, NRR = +0.315)
  4. Sunrisers Hyderabad (14 points, NRR = -0.033)
  5. Mumbai Indians (14 points, NRR = = -0.259)
  6. Rajasthan Royals (14 points, NRR = +0.027)
  7. Delhi Daredevils (10 points,, NRR = -0.049)
  8. Kings XI Punjab (6 points, NRR = -1.425)

As you can see, the points table is quite close. Everyone in the first 6 spots is within a difference of two points. Hence, these last few league matches promise to be quite exciting. Every team is playing, so whether you want to be there as your team makes the semis, or you support DD and/or KXIP, You’ll want to know the schedule for the next 2 days (last two of the league stage):

  • Today (Saturday, May 16 2015):
    1. KXIP vs. CSK at Mohali (4:30 PM IST)
    2. RR vs. KKR at Mumbai (7:30 PM IST)
  • Tomorrow (Sunday, May 17th 2015)
    1. RCB vs. DD at Bangalore
    2. SRH vs. MI at Hyderabad

Every one of these matches can be important for you (again, unless you support DD and/or KXIP), even if your team is not playing. But how do you know what matches are important? Who should you be supporting? Well, here I’ll do some analysis of crucial matches for each team, who you should be rooting for in them. I’ll also be doing a little summary on what each team needs to do to qualify.

 

1. Chennai Super Kings.

What they need to do to qualify: Nothing (they’re already in)

Crucial match: KXIP vs. CSK (CSK to win, if you didn’t figure that out)

With 16 points in 13 games, CSK have assured themselves a place in the semifinals. Not even the most absurd and unlikely results could bring them any lower than 4th place. However, the men in yellow would still like to take a swing at the bottom-placed KXIP side to finish with 18 points, and gain an assured spot in the top two.

2. Royal Challengers Bangalore

What they need to do to qualify: Almost nothing (just don’t lose to Delhi by a ridiculously large margin).

Crucial match: RR vs. KKR (KKR to win)

RCB have made quite a comeback in this IPL. After stuttering with 2 points in 4 games, they’ve made a dramatic turn-around to lose only 2 of their next 9 (one washout). Their massive-margin victories have yielded great fruits now as their staggering +1.037 net run rate gives them a massive edge over KKR, who also have the same number of points. Because of this, they are all but assured a spot in the semifinals. If KKR win in their game vs. RR, then RCB will be through, regardless of their clash vs. DD. If RR win however, RCB will just need to make sure that their NRR does not drop below that of KKR as they take on DD in order to qualify. However, considering that KKR’s net run rate is roughly 0.7 below that of RCB (and will sink even lower if they lose to RR), this is extremely unlikely to happen. Nonetheless, RCB will be eyeing to land a killer blow on the Daredevils, and book their place in the top two with 17 points.

3. Kolkata Knight Riders

What they need to do to qualify: Beat Rajasthan.

Crucial match: RR vs. KKR (KKR to win)

The defending champions have not run through as smoothly as they did last year. Nonetheless, they are still in the top 4, and will be eyeing to seal that semifinal berth. To get this, the equation is simple: beat Rajasthan. If they were to lose, however, they would need to pray for a rainwash in the SRH-MI match, lest they be knocked out by the winner of that game. If they beat RR, they’ll be hoping for DD to beat RCB so they can seal a top two spot.

4. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians

What they need to do to qualify: Beat the other one.

Crucial matchSRH vs. MI (whoever you want to qualify must win).

Both MI and SRH are in a very similar situation, so I thought it would be convenient to group them together. Both have 14 points, but SRH is above MI courtesy of a higher net run rate. SRH have been shaky throughout the tournament, but have managed to win games with fair regularity. MI on the other hand, started of disastrously, losing 4/4, but then made quite the turnaround to lose only twice in their next 9 games. The equation for these two teams is simple too: winner qualifies, period. Neither of these teams has a chance of making the top two, however. The last thing either of them would want is a rainwash, as it would mean that neither of them would qualify. The only exception would be if Rajasthan beat KKR by a enough to push their NRR below that of SRH, in which case the men from Hyderabad would qualify.

5. Rajasthan Royals

What they need to do to qualify: Beat KKR

Crucial matchRR vs. KKR (RR to win).

It’s really surprising how Rajasthan managed to get themselves into this position. They won their first 5 games, but could only gather a further 4 points in their next 8 and are now 6th. Their equation to qualify (like that of many others above) is very simple: beat KKR. If they don’t, they’re out, and if they do they get in. They don’t have a hope of making the second place spot either, so they’ll just want to try for a win here, and nothing more.

6. Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils

What they need to do to qualify: Wait until the next IPL (no hope).

Crucial matchRCB vs. DD and KXIP vs. CSK (for pride)

It’s really sad to see KXIP end the way they did. The batting lineup that scored 200 four times last year has failed miserably, and their bowling attack has been dismal. They won more matches in their first 5 last year than they did in 13 this year, and now it’s all done for last year’s finalists. For Delhi, there was some fun to be had, as they pulled off some truly remarkable victories and made some brilliant performances. However, they just couldn’t keep the fire blazing long enough, and are now at 7th. They have nothing to play for now but pride, so hopefully they’ll come out all guns blazing to give their fans something to cheer about.

 

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Why are CSK so Good?

by iplgeek 0 Comments

CSK have been one of IPL’s most successful franchises of all time (image from livecricketscore.io).

If you’ve browsed IPL memes on the internet, you’ve probably seen this one (or some variation of it):

 

Image from indianexpress.com

 

Just based off this meme (and many, many others online), you can pretty much conclude that the Chennai Super Kings are one of the IPL’s most dominant franchises. Again, this year, they are sitting pretty on the top of the points table with 12 points in 8 matches.

Now if you’re an non-CSK IPL fan, you’ve probably asked yourself: how are they so good? Many people have said match fixing, many people have said N. Srinivasan, and others have said match fixing by N. Srinivasan. Illegal activities aside, this is why I think CSK have been the best franchise this IPL:

1. They’ve got depth: Very few franchises will be able to say that they don’t have room for Michael Hussey in their first playing XI. CSK, though, have got that kind of depth. This is why, as we saw yesterday, they could recover from 90-5 and still make it to 150-odd.

2. They’re not afraid to be aggressive from the onset: A lot of teams walk out to bat with the mindset of “let me play out these first overs and go big later.” CSK, however, don’t do that. With guys like Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina in their order, they won’t be afraid to go after you from ball one. As a result, they immediately push their opponents into playing catch-up cricket, which then allows them to consolidate and set up for the big score. It must be noted though that this aggressive attitude has often cost them quick loss of wickets at the top of the order.

3. They’ve got a stable playing XI: Throughout the IPL, CSK have been known to not really change their squad much. Same thing here. They’ve not tinkered with their lineup too much, and just kept things simple with the same players. After, if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it.

4. They back their players: This is a tie-on from my previous point, but is still important. There are franchises that keep changing out their squad after rough performances, and don’t really give individual players many chances. However, CSK have been rather generous in this sense, and have always backed their players to come back strong.

5. They Work as a Team: This is one key element that you see in every successful sports team (not just cricket teams). Teams that are carried by one or two people can come far, but the teams that take that final step over the line to make history are the ones that have powerful teamwork. CSK are one such team. If you look at the way they play, you can barely ever pinpoint one man and say he’s the sole cause for CSK’s excellent form. Rather, it’s all the players coming together: the batsmen knocking the runs, and the bowlers and fielders backing them up. This is a crucial element of every champion team.

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Bowler Banzai: What Happened to Malinga and Narine?

by iplgeek 0 Comments
Lasith Malinga and Sunil Narine (image from ibnlive.in)

Lasith Malinga and Sunil Narine (image from ibnlive.in)

IPL 2015 is 32 matches in, and is thrilling as ever. We’ve seen some excellent cricket from some of the best. However, there have been some shockers so far as well. Most of all, Sunil Narine and Lasith Malinga. Malinga, despite his 10 wickets – four of which came in his last game against the Sunrisers – has been quite expensive, going at 7.96 runs to the over, an economy rate which – for someone of Malinga’s calibre – is just not up to par. Narine, on the other hand, has played 5 matches thus far, and taken 2 wickets – something he made double of in his very first match in the 2014 IPL (and Brad Hogg equalled in his first over against CSK last night).

Now Malinga and Narine are two of those bowlers who’s good form we just seem to take for granted, and to see them fail is something of an “end of the world” scenario. Malinga, with 129 wickets, is by far the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, outstripping his nearest competitor (Amit Mishra; 109 wickets) by 20 wickets. Narine, in his 4-year IPL career, has achieved nearly everything a bowler could hope to achieve in the IPL (except the elusive Purple Cap award) – a hat-trick, a 5-er, Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket, you name it. So what could be causing these greats to look so mediocre so far in this tournament?

For Narine, I think we could probably accredit that to his bowling action change. Last October, he was suspended following reports of an illegal bowling action, and this subsequently led to his not being selected for the 2015 World Cup – where he was missed dearly by the West Indies lineup. He was cleared in time for the IPL, but the first delivery he served up in the tournament was a juicy full-toss just outside off, which an in-form Rohit Sharma gladly crashed through the covers for a boundary. He was good, but couldn’t quite bring out that magical bowling that we associate with Sunil Narine. Malinga, on the other hand, looked quite off-color even in the World Cup, where he managed only 12 wickets in his 63.4 overs, and at a rather expensive 5.56 runs to the over. Some have said that his age of brilliance is coming to it’s end, but the thing is that he has still shown some brilliance. A maiden to Chris Gayle whilst defending 209. A wonderful spell of 4/23 to puncture the Sunrisers Hyderabad. These things have shown that he isn’t completely dead just yet, and has still got some juice in him.

Now what has happened to Narine and Malinga? Is it something technical, or is it just the law of averages catching up with them? Either way, we must acknowledge that every cricket player goes through bad patches in his or her career, and it’s how you’re able to pick yourself up and rise from those bad patches that truly defines who you are as a cricket player. And knowing Malinga and Narine, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before they’re back in their usual legendary composures.

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RCB: Make Badri Open, Abdullah for Spin

by iplgeek 0 Comments

Subramaniam Badrinath has played some really good innings for CSK, and will hope to do the same for RCB (Image from sports.ndtv.com)

RCB made a bunch of stats in their victory against KKR on Saturday night. To name a few:

  • RCB’s first win vs. KKR since exactly two years ago.
  • First time RCB has beaten KKR in their first match of the season (out of 3 such encounters).
  • RCB’s first win in Eden Gardens since 22nd April 2011.
  • End of KKR’s 10-match winning streak – best for any team in the IPL.
  • End of KKR’s 6-match winning streak at Eden Gardens.
  • Chris Gayle’s first IPL fifty since 2013.

However, amidst the jubilation of the victory, I found some things about the RCB side that worried me. The fielding is not my problem; every team has it’s off days, and no team that has AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli on the field at once can have a bad fielding tag for long. What troubled me most was the batting. Let me clarify; what troubled me most was the reckless nature of RCB’s batting that made it look like RCB was chasing 240, and not 170-odd. Mandeep Singh followed up a lovely straight six with such an ugly reverse-sweep (which he obviously failed to connect, with the result of his stumps being uprooted) that even he probably had no idea why he played that. AB de Villiers had taken 16 off KC Cariappa’s second over, but still ran down the track on the sixth delivery to get stumped. Darren Sammy, the last recognized batsman left to make a partnership with Gayle, walked down the pitch to play a blind hoick off Shakib al Hassan, only to be stumped as well. This approach further weakens RCB in the fact that they are going with the same shallow batting lineup as they did last year – Gayle, <Indian opener>, Kohli, de Villiers, <reputed Indian batsman>, <hard-hitting all-rounded>, 5 bowlers. This lineup can work, but for the way things have turned out for RCB, I think it’s too shallow. To remedy both of these, here’s what I think they should do. They should bring Subramaniam Badrinath in. Badri is a stable batsman, who can play solid innings with composure. More than once he has rescued CSK – his former team – from sticky situations, and could do the same for RCB. I feel that he would do a great job opening, as his stable nature could allow for partnerships to build at the top of the order, reducing the pressure on men like Virat Kohli, AB and Dinesh Karthik. He will probably come in at Mandeep Singh’s expense, although leaving out a bowler and shortening the tail would not be a bad idea.

And speaking of bowling, there is another issue I wanted to address: spin bowling. RCB’s spin bowling has been utterly neglected, to say the least. They have a total of 3 full time spinners, and none of them are capped. Past evidence suggests that the Chinnaswami pitch has some aid for spinners, as guys like Rahul Tewatia of RR, Shivam Sharma and Karanveer Sing of KXIP, and Karan Sharma of SRH have reaped great rewards here. Hence, I feel that RCB should give Iqbal Abdullah a chance. If he could pair with Yuzvendra Chahal and produce a strong spin pair, I think it would be invaluable for the Challengers, who have historically struggled with their bowling. Dropping one of their 3 Indian quicks might be the answer, but I really liked how all of them bowled on Saturday (barring those last overs against Russell) for the most part, and I doubt that RCB will drop any of them soon. Still, I think that they should seriously consider it.

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KKR vs. RCB: The Poor Little Rich Attack

by iplgeek 0 Comments

Chris Gayle made his first IPL fifty in 2 years to give RCB their first win in IPL 2015 (Image from iplt20.com)

On Saturday night, the Kolkata Knight Riders slumped to their first defeat since May 5th, 2014. They played good cricket, but there is little you can do once Chris Gayle has gotten rolling. Even KKR’s famed spin attack – that has been stifling opponents since 2012 – seemed insufficient to take on the Big Jamaican.

I definitely feel that Chris played a major role in RCB’s success, but not in the obvious way. You see, RCB was able to gain momentum and keep the run rate from escalating too high due to the fact that KKR had long gaps of overs where they didn’t have any of their potent bowlers running through overs. And the reason for this can be directly attributed to Chris Gayle. See, Gayle – if you didn’t know – is a left-handed batsman. And most left-handed batsmen, especially those of Chris’ calibre, are known for being able to take on slow orthodox and leg spinners well, because their natural stock deliveries turn into the left-hander. Hence, Gambhir had lost access to two of his main bowlers – Shakib al Hassan and Piyush Chawla – as soon as Gayle had walked out onto the pitch. 8 overs of quality spin down the drain right there. To unlock them, needed to get Gayle out early. This is why I feel he bowled Sunil Narine as early as the second over of the match. If Gayle had fallen to Narine, Shakib and Piyush would be able bowl, and RCB would’ve had a tough path ahead.

However, Gayle survived Narine’s first 2 overs and Morne Morkel’s 3. Now Gambhir was under the pump. Morkel had removed Virat Kohli (who had decided to open the innings), but didn’t have the important wicket of Gayle yet. However, to give Narine another over would leave his death bowling reserves precariously low. Now this situation I think is the result of something that happened before the match even began: the dropping of Umesh Yadav. Dropping their only other specialist quick denied Gambhir another option to bowl the death, and more importantly, another speedster he could throw at Gayle early on. In fact, it was Yadav that removed Gayle the last time these two teams met. Leaving him out for KC Cariappa left Gambhir one less bowler who he could bring in later on. This raises questions as to whether Cariappa should have been brought in ahead of Piyush Chawla instead of Yadav. As shown, Gambhir trusted Cariappa to bowl to Gayle, something that he clearly did not trust Chawla with. If this had been done, Gambhir would have had four extra overs he could gamble with, and would not have been choked for resources as he was.

After Narine and Morkel were removed from the attack, Cariappa and Andre Russell came in to bowl. Neither could make make any impact against Gayle. Then, no one else to turn to, Yusuf Pathan – the part-time off-break bowler – was handed the ball. He produced immediate success, crashing into the stumps of Dinesh Karthik and Mandeep Singh. However, neither was Chris Gayle, so the objective had not been completed. Yusuf was handed an additional 3 overs, with the same purpose in mind, but this turned out to be more of a blessing for RCB than anything else, as both Gayle and AB de Villiers took Pathan apart, ending his spell at 4-0-40-2. This ensured that RCB’s required run rate never creeped above 11, and hence they were at relative ease, which might have made all the difference.

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IPL IS HERE ^^

Well folks, the IPL for 2015 is here, and I cannot tell you how much I have been looking forward to it. This is my 3rd full IPL here in Korea, and I must say the tournament provides me with many a breather in this rigorous world of study-hard-or-die environment of a high schooler seeking to study in the USA. It is at a terribly late hour (8:00 PM matches start at 11:30), but my IPL spirit will never be contained!

So I hope this season presents a lot more fun, cracking yorkers, Yes Bank Maximums, and AB de Villiers. Au revoir! 😀

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World Cup Journal #4: Felicitations and Farewells

Mitchell Starc’s 22 wickets with an average of 10.18 earned him the Man of the Series award. (image from www.3news.co.nz)

Australia have done it. They’ve pulled off a 5th World Cup Victory. They played some stellar cricket routing the much-favored New Zealand side by 7 wickets with 101 balls to spare in what turned out to be a convincingly one-sided final. From the moment Mitchell Starc uprooted Brendon McCullum’s off stump in the 5th delivery in the match, the Kiwis were Down Under the heat, and were constantly harried by Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner as they stumbled and tumbled to 183, which the Mighty Aussies chased down quite convincingly. Captain Michael Clarke, who had come under a lot of scrutiny for his patchy form during the tournament, wrapped up his ODI career with a lovely 72-ball 74, leading from the front in a manner not unlike MS Dhoni did in his scintillating innnings in the 2011 World Cup Final. New Zealand were brilliant through the tournament, but looked completely dazed in the final. Congrats Australia!
Overall, this World Cup was an extremely exciting one. It was undoubtedly the most exciting in terms of run-fests, with the 300 mark being hit on an almost daily basis. Some may complain that this is destroying the essence of cricket, but when you see the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum blasting it to all parts, don’t you just feel excited? Isn’t it just fun to watch their brutal power-hitting and (in AB’s case most of all) ludicrously outrageous strokeplay?
Some teams disappointed, but others made great strides. Bangladesh beat England to make the quarterfinals. Afghanistan came pretty close to securing a win against their Asian Sri Lanka. Ireland pulled off a stunning victory against the West Indies. Scotland had New Zealand in a corner, and all but managed to slip through with an upset. These associate nations showed now more than ever that cricket is an international sport, and every nation has the potential to make waves.
So to conclude this last World Cup Journal for 2015, I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who made this World Cup possible (I’m not a player so it isn’t cliché). It was a wonderful experience to follow, and I will miss constantly refreshing my scorecard during English class to see how the matches are going. This is also the last ODI World Cup I will watch before I go to college (*sniff sniff*). Thank you WC 2015!
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