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IPL 2015: The Released XI

by iplgeek 0 Comments

Amongst the released players is Yuvraj Singh, the most expensive player of the 2014 Auctions (image from sportskeeda.com).

In the last few days, we’ve seen a lot of players being released prior to the 2015 IPL. In past seasons, this releasing window has been a usually uneventful time, where franchises release a few random low-price players to free their roster a bit. However, this time we’ve seen a massive movement, with some really big names hitting the released list. I made a playing XI out of these released players, fitting in the biggest names.

1. Murali Vijay (DD): Vijay had a pretty lean run for Delhi in the 2014 season, with a paltry 207 runs at an average of 18.81. That, and his massive price tag of 5 crore rupees, is what probably led to the franchise letting him go. However, his scores of 53 and 99 in the first test Down Under indicates that the Daredevils might have missed a trick by letting him go.

2. Aaron Finch (SRH): Finchy had a lukewarm run this IPL, with 309 runs at an average of 28.09. Nonetheless, he was never quite the impact player that the Sunrisers wanted, as they ended up slipping to 6th place.

3. Jacques Kallis (KKR): Well, to be completely honest, we cannot say that we didn’t see this one coming. KKR pretty much gave up on Kallis 8 matches into the tournament, and preferred to run in with Ryan Ten Doeschate as the fourth overseas player along with Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hassan. Injuries to other players meant that he got a few games in the Champions League, where he played a memorable knock against the Hobart Hurricanes to take KKR into the final, but I think that the Golden Era of Jacques Kallis in IPL is pretty much over.

4. Kevin Pietersen (DD): Cricket is a lovely game, but can have a terrible twist. Kevin Pietersen’s fate is just another example of that. Prior to IPL 7, he had been dropped by the English side, but offered a massive Rs. 9 crore deal from the Delhi Daredevils, and made their skipper shortly after. It was the perfect chance for Kevin Pietersen to lash the whip at the ECB. However, this story turned out to have a rather naturalistic twist to it, as his side finished at the bottom of the table, and Pietersen himself scored only 294 runs. And now, come the reformation era, he’s been released, and will most likely be up for grabs in the IPL Auctions 2015 (where the Daredevils may seek to buy him back at a cheaper price).

5. Yuvraj Singh (RCB): In the ICC World Cup 2011, Yuvraj Singh was India’s hero, as he seemed to be able to score runs and take wickets by the sheer power of his will. Now, with the 2015 World Cup just a few months away, things are very different for the Prince of India. He’s was not included in the Indian World Cup Probables’ list, and has now been dropped from the RCB roster. Despite starting off the 2014 IPL with a blazing half century, he had a lean period that stretched through most of the tournament, before he finally brought out some fireworks that brought some light to what was otherwise was a dismal exit for the Royal Challengers. I’m guessing that it was not poor performance that caused the RCB management to make their decision as much as the fact that he consumed 14 crores of their auction money, which means that they may well try and buy him back in the auction.

6. Brad Hodge (RR): Since his acquisition in IPL 2012, Brad Hodge has undoubtedly been one of Rajasthan’s most valuable players. Nonetheless, last season Steve Smith showed much more potency that he did, and that is why I think they dropped him. Still, I think it’s a queer option, as Shane Watson’s dastardly form last year showed that RR would be well advised to have a backup batsman on the side. He is still one of the best T20 batsmen in the world today, and I’m sure that some team will be willing to pay big bucks for him, even if it isn’t the Royals.

7. Dinesh Karthik (DD): I think that Dinesh Karthik’s sacking was probably the saddest decision of the lot, along with Yuvraj. This is perhaps because of the fact that he was one of the few batsmen who did something for Delhi. He was the only batsman to cross 300 runs apart from JP Duminy, and while he was understandably not his 100%, he did more than most of the other batsmen. Like in the case of Yuvraj, I think that this is more related to the fact that he cost the franchise 12.5 crores to hire that led them to their harsh decision, and I’m sure they will try and get him back ahead of IPL 2015.

8. Darren Sammy (SRH): In 2013, it was Sammy’s two sixes that pulled the Sunrisers into a semifinal berth in their debut season. In IPL 2014, he managed to hit just six more sixes than that in the 108 runs he scored. He was dismal in this season, and failed to make the impact that inspired the Sunrisers to fight to buy him back in the 2014 Auctions. It was probably just the fact that Shikhar Dhawan was a lousy captain and Moises Henriques’ indifferent form that kept him in the playing XI for most of the tournament. Overall, Sammy will need to buck up and try to redeem himself with his new franchise in 2015.

9. Irfan Pathan (SRH): Yusuf had a bit of a blast towards the end of IPL 2015, but it was rather lean for the other Pathan. Irfan barely managed to make an impact with the bat, and was barely trusted with the ball. This is undoubtedly the awakening period in IPL, and the fate of Irfan confirms it. Franchises are no longer willing to express sympathy to a player because they’re Indian; if you don’t perform, you’re out. Hopefully this is a wakeup call for Irfan, and a reminder to some other players.

10. Amit Mishra (SRH): I must admit that I never saw this one coming. Amit Mishra had a terrible season last year (7 wickets from 10 games with an E/R of 9.06), not to mention this hilarious incident. Again, I think it’s a wake up call for players who’ve been coasting on IPL contracts just because they’re capped Indian players. It’s a blunt reminder that talent, not nationality is what matters in the world of cricket.

11. Pragyan Ojha (MI): The irony of MI releasing Pragyan Ojha is just so sweet that I cannot help but post it. MI picked Ojha with their RTM card, which they could have used on Glenn Maxwell or Dwayne Smith (who finished first and second on the MVP list respectively). Then, he ends up bowling so terribly (4 wickets in 12 matches, E/R 8.26) that they throw him out. It’s just so sad for MI (more for their fans). Nonetheless, Ojha was pretty bad, so we must say that MI were justified in throwing him out.

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The IPL Trading Window – MI

Vinay Kumar is one of MI’s 3 new imports for the year. (Image from gocricket.com)

The IPL Trading window has been going very well so far. I’m personally very happy to see that teams are actually using it this time (as opposed to last year), and I’m also glad that I can actually understand why the teams made the decisions they did.

The Mumbai Indians have been the most active, dropping 2 of their players and acquiring 3. The two players they dropped were Praveen Kumar and Michael Hussey.

With PK, I can see why they did what they did. The seamer was, after all, only a replacement for Zaheer Khan, and while he did not underperform, he did not do enough to give MI enough reason to retain him. Still, I personally would have thought that MI would have done well to retain PK, owing to the fact that Zak is injury prone.

With Hussey, however, I was more surprised. Although he had a poor showing in the UAE, he made a strong comeback in the India leg of the tournament, and brought experience to the playing 11 that would have been much missed after Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement. This again shows the fickle nature of the Mumbai Indians unit in terms of their player choices. Players such as Richard Levi, Davy Jacobs, and Corey Anderson were all players who delivered momentary bursts of brilliance, and were immediately snapped up by the franchise. However, when they failed to show, they were discarded almost as quickly as they were purchased. Jacobs and Levi were dropped following the 2012 IPL, and Corey was not a part of the playing XI for any of MI’s games in their forgettable CLT20 run this year. Same thing has happened to Hussey here. I’m guessing that it’s because of the unexpected rise of Lendl Simmons as an opener. His revolutionary rise to the occasion when Mumbai were all but out of the IPL is probably what inspired them to give him their slot for overseas opener.

Now on to their purchases. With Unmukt Chand and Parthiv Patel, I believe that it is yet again a part of Mumbai’s black hole desire for opening batsmen. Since Tendulkar’s retirement and Dwayne Smiths’ leaving MI, they have been searching for that suitable pair to open the innings. Hence, players like Hussey, CM Gautham and Ben Dunk were tried, but in vain. This, I assume, is just a continuation of that need to fill the void. Parthiv Patel was scintillating for RCB in the first few games of the tournament, but he quickly sizzled out, and failed to make much more of an impact. Nonetheless, he has shown on numerous occasions that he can be a stable opener, and could well be the answer to MI’s opening issue. As with Chand, he received well below his due playing time in IPL 2014, which I assume is due to Karun Nair’s extraordinary form. However, he can be a forceful opener for the MI squadron, and I feel that spending some time under greats like Tendulkar, Johnty Rhodes, Shaun Pollock and Anil Kumble would give the youngster an excellent chance to hone not only his cricketing skill, but his leadership skills as well. This experience could be one that would prepare him to be a future leader of India.

As for Vinay Kumar, the only reason I can find for their picking him is Zak’s injury situation. Although he is by no means a very economic bowler, Vinay is an aggressive wicket taker, who can choke oppositions at the right times. The Karnataka skipper also brings some experience with him, which can be useful for nurturing some of the other young bowlers in the MI squad.

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IPL Auctions 2014: Ten Stick-Outs in the Lot

Its the new year 2014, and the IPL Auctions 2014 are dawning upon us already. With less than 30 days to go for the first phase of what is arguably the best domestic league in the world, teams are beginning to stir, waking from their long slumber. The list of retained players has already been announced, and if you so desire you can view them here. This auction plans to be much more interesting than the ones before, not only because it is the quarterly-arriving time where the entire teams are reformed, but also because of several new concepts introduced in this auction. The introduction of the “Right to Match” cards are amongst these interesting reforms, in addition to the retention limit going from 4 players to 5. I will do a thorough post that explains what the rights to match card does in another post, as I plan to do a lot of pre-auction posts anyways. In this particular post, I’m going to talk about 10 players who will definitely be on the buying lists of many franchises, and what will make them so valuable. Just so you know, the order they’re listed in has no statistical significance; its just the order I thought of them in. Here we go:

 

1. Cameron White (Australia)

The hard hitting Victorian has been known for inconsistency in the past, but in the on-going Big Bash League he has made himself heard, leading from the front with 201 runs at an average of 33.83, reinforced with a strike rate of 138.62. He also holds the reigns of captaincy for the Melbourne Stars, and is yet to lose a game this season. Such stats will definitely make White someone the IPL franchises will be looking for. For teams looking for new leaders and complete reform – namely the Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils – this experienced campaigner would be a good option.

Cameron White

2. Luke Wright (England)

While his fellow countrymen were being deep-fried Down Under in the Ashes, Luke Wright was having quiet a ball for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. Opening the innings with White, he has amassed 275 runs at a strike rate of 151.93 and an average of 34.37, and is the highest scorer for the Stars this year. He is no fool with the ball either, and in fact had an economy rate of 6.5 during Chris Gayle’s memorable assault on the Pune Warriors India during IPL 2013. He is a flexible batsman, and can bat anywhere from opening down to number 6 or 7. I feel that all the teams would love to have him on their side, but with the ECB being touchy about IPL, availability might be an issue for Wright. Still, franchises like RCB and MI would gladly take the risk, as combinations like Gayle and Wright would be beyond deadly.

Luke Wright

Luke Wright

3. Pragyan Ojha (India)

Pragyan Ojha is arguably India’s best test spinner today, but unfortunately he has been overlooked in the limited overs formats, where India’s bowling has taken a severe berating off late. His peak of form in terms of IPL cricket was in the years 2009 and 10, where he played a crucial role in Deccan Chargers’ unexpected title win in 2009, and semifinal place in 2010. He also won the Purple cap in 2010. In 2013, he played an instrumental role in Mumbai’s victory, as he claimed 16 wickets with an economy rate of 7.28, including the crucial wicket of Albie Morkel in the final. It is likely that he will be up for fair auction, as MI chose not to retain him, and are more likely to use their right to match card on Mitchell Johnson. This means that all the franchises will be after him, including MI. The Royal Challengers Bangalore might be willing to invest a lot in him as well, owing to the fact that bowling has been a concern for them in the last few years and Ojha would be able to remedy that well.

Pragyan Ojha

Pragyan Ojha

4. Dwayne Smith (West Indies)

The West Indian all-rounder is known for packing quiet a punch, and I doubt that there will be anyone to doubt that theory. He was devastating from the moment he set foot in the Mumbai Indians camp in 2012, and is remembered for smashing a six and two boundaries off Ben Hilfenhaus’s last three deliveries in the 20th over to snatch MI an improbable victory against the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2012. However, he struggled in the middle-order from then on. His promotion to opener saw hell break loose, as he absolutely mauled the opposition bowlers and played an instrumental role in Mumbai’s victory of IPL 2013, scoring 418 runs at a strike rate of 122.58. He – like Ojha – will most likely be up for fair auction, as Mumbai did not retain him either, and as I said before, are more likely to use their right to match card on Mitchell Johnson, who was in red-hot form for the Ashes. While his former franchise will undoubtedly do everything they can to snap him up again, teams like CSK and Sunrisers Hyderabad –  who are looking for in-form batsmen to open their batting – will have their eyes on him as well.

Dwayne Smith

5. Aaron Finch (Australia)

Aaron Finch was in utterly decimating form this Big Bash League season. With 262 runs at a strike rate of 148.02 and an average of 52.40, he currently tops the run charts, he has truly been an example of “leading form the front” as he also captained the Melbourne Renegades. Unfortunately, international duty made him unavailable for their last 2 games, and that was only a catalyst that sped up the downfall of the Renegades, as they finished 6th in the league. Nonetheless, his performance is still enough to catch the eyes of any selector. He also scored a whoop-de-do 156 of just 63 against England in August last year, a score which stands as the highest individual T20I score ever. Finch led the now-defunct Pune Warriors India in 2013, and his 456 runs at a strike rate of 135.71 was the most for any batsman from his team, and gave a silver lining to PWI’s otherwise miserable season. The fact that his franchise cannot use a right to match card on him (because they don’t exist anymore) will make him up for fair auction, meaning that he will be under heavy bidding from about every franchise. Teams like Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils, who are seeking batting reforms, will be particularly interested in him.

Aaron Finch

6. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (India)

Just about a year ago, Bhuvneshwar Kumar made his international debut, and he steamed through batsmen like a hot knife through butter. It has been more than evident that he lacks pace, and has been expensive at the death because of that. However, he is able to swing the new ball both ways, and is capable of wrecking havoc to top-order batsmen, and has even quelled Chris Gayle on many occasions with typical outswingers that caught edges. Although his form has deteriorated slightly over the last couple of months, which led to his dropping from the Test side in favor of Shami Ahmed, he is undoubtedly one of the best of the new-ball bowlers India’s got today, and it’ll be very strange if no IPL franchise decides to go for him. Teams that are looking to reform their teams altogether – such as Delhi or Kings XI Punjab – or teams that have struggled with bowling in the past – such as the Royal Challengers Bangalore – will definitely put a lot of money in him.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

7. Ryan McLaren (South Africa)

This South-African all-rounder has been an integral part of South Africa’s limited overs side, and has guided them to multiple close wins. As a bowler, he has worked with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to good effect, and was a part of the 5-man pace attack that South Africa used to barrage the Indian visitors on their recent tour. As a batsman, he has not fired quiet as much, but has played quiet a few crucial knocks for RSA, as well as his IPL franchises. Most notable of these knocks was during Kings XI Punjab’s first game of the 2011 IPL, where he came in at 36-5, and made a crucial 43-ball 51, which saved his team many blushes, although they went on to lose the game. Considering also that the IPL may take place in South Africa, McLaren would be a handy player for any team to have on their side. After James Faulkner profited on their home pitch, Rajasthan might want to give McLaren a go as well, to add to their international flavor in their attack.

Ryan McLaren

8. James Neesham (New Zealand)

The New Zealand all-rounder made a large impact in the T20 world after his exploits for the Otago Volts in the CLT20 of 2013. Although his team just missed their semifinal berth, his highlights gave a silver lining for the Volts to remember. He made 92 in 54 balls across his 3 matches, and got out only once. He was able with the ball as well, taking 3 wickets across his 10 overs while keeping his economy rate to a mere 7.00. His best highlight of the league was probably during the super over between Otago Volts and the Highveld Lions, where he managed to defend his total of 13 runs despite giving 10 in the first 2 balls. Neesham’s abilities will be valued by about every team, but teams like RCB – who have been looking desperately looking for one of those all rounders who can be equally brilliant with both bat and ball – should be willing to shell out a large amount for him.

James Neesham

9. Jackson Bird (Australia)

Jackson Bird has been one of the key standout performers in the Big Bash league season this year. Amassing 13 wickets across 7 games with a miserly economy of 6.71 and a stunning average of 14.46, he has been an integral part of the unbeaten Melbourne Stars’ success so far. He currently stands second on the highest wicket takers table, with Cameron Gannon of Brisbane Heat ahead of him. Teaming up with Lasith Malinga, Bird has been Cameron White’s weapon of choice against opposing batsmen throughout this league. The teams that will probably go hardest for him are teams that have lacked the genuine spearhead bowler, such as Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, it would also be just as wonderful to see him in Mumbai Indians or Sunrisers Hyderabad, bowling in tangent with Malinga or Dale Steyn.

Jackson Bird

10. Corey Anderson (New Zealand)

Corey Anderson has been the sensation of the year 2014 so far. After his world-record 36-ball ton against a hapless West Indies attack got everyone to look at him, he’s begun to show some more of his real class. In India’s tour of New Zealand, he whipped up a barrage with the bat, which included a 17-ball 44 that was just a six short of beating the record for fastest ODI fifty as well. He’s no amateur with the ball either. His left arm fast is probably not the most economic source of bowling, with his economy ranging well around the 6-an-over-mark, but he’s picked up nearly 20 wickets in just 12 games, and has already collected a 5-wicket haul. This shows that Corey may well be the vintage T20 all-rounder who gets the top bid for this year’s auction. Although about every team will look to go for him, it will be nice to see him in RCB, since the batting-friendly Chinnaswami Stadium track would definitely be able to bring out the best of Corey.

Corey Anderson

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What your squad needs when going overseas

Playing overseas has been a problem for many teams. Leaving behind your home ground which you know so well to go to a completely new place is never easy. However, it must be done to ensure that fans all over the world can have the pleasure of enjoying International cricket at their home cities. So, saying you are to pick a team to tour another country, here are three things your team should have:

  1. Experienced Players: When going overseas, having experienced players in your side is always a good thing. Not only will they have had experience in the place you are playing, but also can provide some valuable insights for the rest of your team, and help them do better. It is advisable to have at least one experienced batsman and bowler, if not more. Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, and Greame Smith are some players today who can do this.
  2. Backups: Injuries can break down a team’s stability, particularly when playing overseas. This is why it is crucial for you to have a strong backup unit in your touring squad, particularly for wicket-keeping. In the case of an injury, this can save a lot that quickly bringing in replacement players might present. This can also be a great help if some players go out of form.
  3. Young Players: This is a little long term investment. Bringing in a young player or two is always good, as it is their generation who will be the next Indian team. Also, it will be a good learning experience for them to learn how the tracks of different countries are, and do so with the guidance of their seniors. However, these players must be picked very carefully, after observing their performances carefully in both domestic and franchise cricket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one such player who has done well this way.

Another very useful thing would be to allow your players to play franchise cricket in other countries, such as the Big Bash, IPL, and CLT20. This gives them experience in other countries, and under seniors from those specific countries. What better way to gain experience?

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IPL Final 2013 – An interesting fact

Well, IPL 2013 has come to an end. It was all over after CSK were unable to score the required total of 149, giving the Mumbai Indians their first IPL cup – something that has evaded them for six years. This win also made them the second team to win both an IPL and a CLT20 (need I say who got it first?). After watching the men from Maharashtra seal this feat, it reminded me of another such clinical performance they put up in the Champions League final. They were very similar circumstances, you see; both times they were up against the wall; without key players, up against a team that was playing at the top of it’s form. So here are some similarities between that night back in 2011, and the game on 26th May 2013:

 

  • Sachin Tendulkar was injured both times.
  • It was not MI’s first-choice captain who was leading the side (Rohit this year; Harbhajan in 2011).
  • Both times MI won the toss; and elected to bat.
  • Both times MI’s Indian opener was bowled by the second bowler (Tare was bowled by A Morkel vs CSK; Kanwar was bowled by Nannes vs RCB).
  • The other team was fresh off scoring a giant total (CSK had just scored 192 vs MI; RCB had just scored 204 vs NSW).
  • MI were restricted to around 140 in both matches (148-9 vs CSK; 139-10 vs RCB).
  • It was the efforts of an all-rounder who scored 40+ that got them to a par score (60* by Pollard vs CSK; 41 by Franklin vs RCB)
  • Lasith Malinga was asked to bowl at an unexpected time, and picked up a crucial wicket (M Hussey vs CSK; TM Dilshan vs RCB).
  • Only one opposing batsmen scored fluently (Dhoni hit 63* in 45 for CSK; Dilshan scored 27 in 20 for RCB).
  • Only 3 other opposing batsmen scored double-digits (Vijay 18, Bravo 15 and Morkel 10 for CSK; Kohli 11, Agarwal 14 and Tiwari 18 for RCB).
  • Both teams lost by an unexpectedly large margin (CSK lost by 23 runs; RCB lost by 31 runs).

 

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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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Sixers thrash Lions in one-sided final

by iplgeek 0 Comments

After dominating every team that came to face them, the Sydney Sixers played completely out shined the Highveld Lions in the finals to hold that CLT20 cup for 2012. On winning the toss, Brad Haddin opted to bowl first. Alviro Petersen said he had no problem batting first. Obviously he didn’t see what was coming. With Gulam Bodi departing to Nathan McCullum in the 4th ball of the innings, the Sydney bowlers began to pile on the pressure. By the end of the 4th over, the Lions were 9-4, with Petersen, Bodi, Quinton de Knock, and Neil McKenzie back in the dug-out. Strangely, Sohail Tanvir walked out at number 5 as a pinch hitter. This, too failed as Tanvir departed for 11 in 12, leaving the Lions at 32-5 at the end of 7 overs. Then Jean Symes put on a brave face and scored a strong 46-ball 51. He was assisted by Thami Tsolekile (20 in 19) and Dwaine Pretorius (21 in 18). After these 3 men fell, the tail was quickly cleaned up and the Lions were bowled out for 121. With a total like that to defend, not many people would have fancied the Lions’ chances of winning. However, the Sixers made it look incredibly easy. Miceal Lumb belted a fierce 42-ball 82, while captain Haddin kept calm and scored 37 in 33. The Lions bowlers, with the exception of Sohail Tanvir and Dirk Nannes, were all taken to the hammer. Chris Morris, who had bowled so beautifully against the Daredevils, was struck for 25 in his 2. Aaron Phangiso was also taken to the hammer, going for 29 in his 2. Then Lumb struck Pretorius for 16 in his first 3 balls to clinch the game by 10 wickets, and to take the cup home. The Lions had stunned many teams, including the Chennai Super Kings, defending champions Mumbai Indians, and the in-form Delhi Daredevils. Still, they failed when it mattered most. Another sad end 🙁 Well, that’s all for today, see ya!

cricket @ iplgeek

Sydney Sixers- Champions CLT20 2012

 

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The Grand Finale- Lions vs Sixers

The group matches are over. The semifinals are over. The final is here. And the Highveld Lions will take on the Sydney Sixers in a thrilling contest. The Lions, using their home-field advantage, have played clinical cricket, and have edged past everyone, excluding their one game against the Sixers. The Sixers on the other hand, have utterly destroyed every team that they’ve faced so far, and despite Shane Watson’s departure mid-way, their team lost none of it’s potency. They were still strong with the bat, and clean with the ball. Brad Haddin must be very proud of his side. This game is currently being advertised as “Home favorites vs Tournament favorites”. For the Lions, their spearheads Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir have done a  good job upfront, and left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso has slowed down the ball as the game progresses. In terms of their batting I think Neil McKenzie and Gulam Bodi have been the top two. Skipper Alviro Petersen will want to find some form, as he’s not looked in great touch so far. For the Sixers, their batting has been lead by Micheal Lumb, and supported by Steve Smith. Still, it is their pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, assisted by Josh Hazelwood, that’s won them the majority of their games. Like I said in my previous post, this tournament has been a bowler’s tournament. With the 180 mark being crossed only twice, this tournament has been looked down on by the previous edition of CLT20, in which RCB alone hit 200+ three times in a row. Still, expect a cracking contest. And to conclude, let me give you a few clashes that should be interesting (all of my predictions on the WCT20 final came true 😀 )

Mitchell Starc vs Gulam Bodi- In their previous meeting Bodi played a valuable knock upfront, and the Lions will be more than happy if he can do it again. Starc on the other hand, would do a great service to the Sixers by removing him early.Micheal Lumb vs Dirk Nannes- Nannes has been pivotal in getting early breakthroughs for the Lions. Lumb, on the other hand, is someone who can either lay anchor, or go for it from ball one. So if Nannes can remove Lumb, nothing like it.

Steve ‘O Keefe vs Neil McKenzie and Sohail Tanvir- In the second semifinal, O’ Keefe bowled very economically, despite going wicketless. So if McKenzie can latch on to him, it will be a big bonus for the Lions. On the other hand if O’ Keefe can knock over McKenzie, it would make the Sixers’ day. Also, O’ Keefe openned the innings in that same game. So if he does open again, then Tanvir will want to knock him over. Also O’ Keefe won the Man of the Match yesterday despite going wicketless, which means he really hit well. So if he latches on to Tanvir, game’s on.

 

May the best team win!

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Semifinals of the CLT20

The CLT20 has finally reached the semifinal stages. There are many unique statistics regarding the teams that have qualified this year. For example:

1) This is the first time 2 South African sides have qualified

2) This is the first time only 1 IPL side has qualified

Still, with the threat of rain looming, this might be a flop show worse than any other. So definitely, everyone will be praying that nature decides to spare the last 4 days of CLT20 2012. Our semifinalists are the Sydney Sixers, who stormed unbeaten into the semifinal, the Titans, who have played exceptionally good cricket, except for their unsuccessful encounter with KKR, the Highveld Lions, who have put on an excellent show with both ball and bat to qualify, and the Delhi Daredevils, who’s pace battery and beefed up batting lineup have not yet failed. So far this CLT20 has been more of a bowler’s game. The highest score is 188. That says it all. And because of the constant rains, I think the pitches are supporting swing and seam better, which would explain DD’s success with the ball. So expect some cracking cricket. Here are the upcoming fixtures:


Delhi Daredevils vs Highveld Lions (Today, 8:30 PM) 

Titans vs Sydney Sixers (Tomorrow, 8:30 PM) 

THE GRAND FINALE! (28th October 2012, 8:30 PM) 

So now you know when to get the popcorn out, let me brief you on some of the key players:

Morne Morkel: He has been brilliant so far. He has led the Delhi attack strongly, but can he click when it matters most?

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Morne Morkel

Neil McKenzie: The Highveld batsmen has been in good form throughout the tournament, and if he can get going, the Lions will definitely have something to roar about.

Neil McKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Smith: Though his batting has not been extraordinary, Smith has shown maturity as he has batted according to the conditions, and he will be a deciding factor for the Sixers

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Steve Smith

Jacques Rudolph: He’s shown extreme maturity on the top of the order, and laid foundations for many of the Titans’ innings. And his performance could well be the deciding factor for the Titans.

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Jacques Rudolph

Another player who will be of importance is AB de Villiers, who recently underwent fitness tests. It’s unlikely that he will play, but if he does, then the Titans will definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

Well, adios then, catch you at the games! 😉

 

 

 

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CLT20 so far

So far, the Champions League has been rather rocky. With rain washing out every fourth game, and half the teams knocked out before playing 4 games, and the highest score being 188, things haven’t been as good as expected. The Sydney Sixers have been dominant so far, as the only team to win all their games so far. However, from the IPL side, things haven’t been as smooth. The Delhi Daredevils have been the Indian fans’ only source of motivation, as they have all but qualified for the semis. All the other big teams have flopped. CSK got two consolation wins, and KKR exited in style with a 99-run win against the Titans, but Mumbai have really been a flop show. Despite coming in with a beefed up side with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Mitchell Johnson, and Kieron Pollard, you would have expected them to put up a better fight. Only Dinesh Karthik was consistent with the bat, and Malinga’s fiver versus CSK was MI’s only good show with the ball. In CSK’s case, Dwayne Bravo’s injury really hurt them, and they were struggling with the out-of-form Albie Morkel and Ravindra Jadeja. For KKR, excluding their performance versus the Titans, they simply weren’t able to be threatening enough, like I said in my previous post. Delhi, have tasted success. Their ploy of playing 4 seamers has really paid off, and their new captain Mahela Jaywardene has really been impressive in his decisions. Their batting was a bit off-color against the Scorchers, but Sehwag showed maturity as he carried his side to the brink of victory. Another team I wanted to discuss about is the Titans. They had like the strongest side, but both the Morkels and Faf du Plessis, went to play for their IPL sides. And AB de Villiers was out with an injury. So they weren’t left with much. Despite that they are still almost in the semis, but if they had a full strength side, things would have been completely different. So today’s games are Delhi versus the Titans at 8:30, winner gets an assured spot in the semis, and Aukland versus the Scorchers at 4:30. For them to qualify, Aukland have to win big, and hope that either Delhi or the Titans do the same. So see you then! 😀

Sehwag played well against the Scorchers. Can he do so again?
cricket @ iplgeek

Azher Mahmood holds the cards for the Aces.

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