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Post Auction & Pre-Season Review #1: Rising Pune Supergiants

by iplgeek 0 Comments
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"What? No MSD in CSK?" :3 (image creds: www.india.com)

Welcome to my series of Post Auction & Pre-Season Reviews! How I will do this is that I will discuss my proposed Playing XI for each team, and in the process review my thoughts on the players and the team. Enjoy! 

Basic Analysis

The Rising Pune Supergiants have one of the more glamorous and star-studded sides in this IPL. It was interesting to see their approach as they approached an auction where most other teams were looking to strengthen their sides with a whole team to purchase. They were not able to spend exorbidantly, like some of their counterparts could, but still managed to scrap together what I think is a very strong side. They played to a good plan, picking up bowlers to complement their strong batting pics from the draft. My only issue with their auction picks is that they undervalued the importance of those “in between” reserve Indian batsmen. Their lineup is strong up top, but the fact that they lack a couple of Indian batsmen who they can squish into their middle order while they use their overseas slots to experiment with bowlers/bowling all rounders. Saurabh Tiwari is the only guy they have right now who can do this, so his form will be vital.

Squad

Here’s the playing XI I think they should use. I’ve also done some player-specific player analysis there, which is why it’s so long:

Ajinkya Rahane

Rahane’s biggest role at the top of the order for RPS will be that of an anchor. His solidity at the top should allow other players, such as Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith and MS Dhoni, to play a more free-flowing, aggressive variant. Many complained that his innings in the T20 World Cup semifinal vs. the West Indies was too slow given the pitch they were playing on, but I personally feel that Rahane did his job well. He gave the strike to the more aggressive Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as much as possible, and although he could have tried for a few more boundaries here and there, he fulfilled the role that was given to him. If he can do the same for Pune, they will be quite happy.

Kevin Pietersen

The mainstream path would be making Faf open the batting, as he has a significant amount of experience with the role in IPL cricket. However, I would go with KP. The main reason for this is that he contrasts Rahane better. Faf’s conventional style of play is that of an anchor, not unlike Rahane himself. While that is handy to have, I feel KP would be better utilized at the position. Rahane’s stabilizing effect will allow the Englishmen to do what he does best, and attack from ball one, all without the worry of trying to rebuild after the fall of a wicket. It will be an unorthodox ploy, but will definitely be one that can bring the Warriors Supergiants great success. Also, with the track in Pune known for being notoriously slow, don’t be surprised if he is called on to roll his arm over once in a while.

Faf du Plessis & Steve Smith

Faf and Smith. Nuff said, to be honest. Anyways, I find it so hard to decide which one of them should play at 3 and which one at 4. Both have similar variants of gameplay, and both are equally capable of batting at both positions. However, if I were forced to chose, I would say that I would send Smith at 3 if KP got out early, as Smith has a better reputation for being aggressive in the IPL. If Rahane got out, I’d send Faf, as he can consolidate better.  Again, these are just speculations. Only the actual tournament will tell which one is in better form to take that number 3 spot. Both batsmen will also be looking to re-cuperate themselves in the T20 format after rather dismal campaigns in the recently concluded World T20, so expect them to come hard.

MS Dhoni

Self Explanatory.

Saurabh Tiwari

Tiwari’s role – should Pune play him – will be of utmost importance. Pune, as it seems, have contracted what I call “RCB Syndrome,” where they have a super strong top 4 or 5, but after that you kind of see that there’s on one else who really makes that much of an impact (so named because of RCB’s issues with this between 2012-2014). Hence, Tiwari’s form will be critical to determining the flavor of Pune’s squad composition this year. If he does well, they will be free to experiment with options like Adam Zampa, Scott Boland, Thisara Perera and Albie Morkel, without much fear of losing batting stability. If he fails, however, they will pretty much be stuck with Mitchell Marsh, who has been a bit off-color lately.

Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan joins Dhoni for a second time. He did not get much of a chance in CSK due to the resurgence of Ashish Nehra, as well as the arrival of Pawan Negi. However, Pune’s squad composure will allow for his talents to really be put to the test. More than being a 5th bowling option, he provides some extra insurance with the bat at that number 7 position. Also, should Saurabh Tiwari fail and Adam Zampa prove to be worthy of cementing himself in the playing XI, he will need to take the further responsibility of shoring up the batting at number 6. All this said, Irfan cannot afford to be complacent with his role, as Rajat Bhatia is also knocking on the door.

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ashwin is probably India’s best bowler out there right now. Especially on a slower wicket in Pune, Dhoni will be licking his lips at how he can deploy his number one spinner to max effect. Also, Ashwin’s moderately effective batting ability will come in handy for those few extra runs that – in T20s – can really make the difference. Honestly, there is not much else to say for Ash.

Ishwar Pandey

Pandey was one of CSK’s best finds over the last 2 years. His excellent tandem with Ashish Nehra allowed CSK to go with their traditional structure of 3 overseas batsmen and Dwayne Bravo, something that was crucial to their success in the tournament. He represented the Pune Warriors India in 2013, so he should have some prior knowledge of the wicket.

RP Singh

This slot is basically one that will be contested for between RP Singh, Ashok Dinda, and Ishant Sharma. I picked RP because he offers a unique angle of left arm seam, has the best IPL stats of the three, and frankly because Ishant and Dinda have been pretty terrible off late. However, the competition is still healthy to have, as it will keep all three bowlers on their toes. Also, this will be RP’s first IPL appearance in 3 years, so hopefully he can use it to springboard himself back into the limelight.

Adam Zampa

Zampa is probably Pune’s most underrated foreign player. I would understand if they eventually decided to go with Mitchell Marsh ahead of him, but I still feel that he is one of their true trump cards. He was one of Australia’s most successful bowlers in their recently concluded WT20 campaign, and also bowled some superb spells for his Big Bash franchise, the Melbourne Stars. Especially on what has historically been a turning track, I think Zampa will really make a difference. It will help that he has MS Dhoni, Steve Smith (his Int’l cricket captain), and R Ashwin in his team, players that can help him reach his full potential with the Supergiants.
 

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Get Lost XI

The topic ‘#getlostXI’ is quiet a popular topic on twitter, so we here thought why not create our own get lost XI? So here we present the IPLgeek Get Lost XI for IPL 2012. Hope you enjoy 😉

Richard Levi (MI, about $400,000)

In the Player Auctions 2012Player Auctions 2012 Levi came under the hammer with a base price reading $50,000. Despite that he went unsold. Later in 2012, Levi smashed a whirlwind century, which got his name in the record books for the fastest T20I hundred. Mumbai, who’s problem was to find a suitable opening partner for Sachin Tendulkar, snapped him up at around $400,000 as a replacement for Andrew Symonds, who had just retired then, and was automatically sent up to open with Sachin, ahead of Hershelle Gibbs. He started his IPL with a flyer, scoring a fiery 50 in just 35 balls. After that though, he managed only one 20+ score in the rest of his IPL career and was not surprisingly dropped from the MI playing 11 soon. Even if he wasn’t good enough for the MI playing 11, he got a well earned spot in our get lost XI

Brendon McCullum (KKR, $900,000)

McCullum is one player who nobody, including myself, could have believed to be a part of this get lost XI so I write this from the heart. After his brilliant 158* in the very first IPL game, he had a very ordinary 3 years with Kolkata, as they finished 6th, 8th, and 6th respectively. He then moved to Kochi Tuskers Kerala, for whom he gave an entertaining season, and ended as their highest run scorer with 357 runs from 13 innings at a strike rate of 129.81. After the KTK franchise was terminated by BCCI, McCullum was paid $900,000 by KKR, who warmly welcomed him back into their ranks. However, he had his most un-McCullumish season for KKR, scoring 289 runs in 12 innings with only one 50 and three sixes (yuck!) at a strike rate of 109.19. Such an performance, which is so unnatural to the Brendon McCullum we know has unfortunately booked him a place in our get lost XI.

Paul Valthaty (KXIP, $5400 (uncapped player) )

Paul Valthaty. A relatively unknown all-rounder from Mumbai first made his mark on IPL history when he came to the crease and hit 120* against CSK in IPL 2011. After that his superb batting performances always kept him in contention for the Orange Cap, and his bowling was economical with a few wickets, which was very useful for the Kings XI. He finished IPL 2011 with 463 runs from 14 games at a healthy strike rate of 136.98, and 7 wickets from 9 innings, at 7.82 per over, with best figures of 4/29, a performance worthy of the Citi Rising Star Award, which unfortunately he did not get. Still, he walked away with the Volkswagen Power Performance of the season for that 120* that he hit vs CSK. When he came into IPL this year, he had an air of expectation surrounding him. Unfortunately, he failed to click at all, scoring a measly 30 runs from 6 games, and he was given only 1 over to bowl, which yielded 16 runs, and was unceremoniously dumped from the KXIP playing 11 for a majority of the tournament. Such a performance itself doesn’t condemn a player to our get lost XI by itself, but such a performance coming from a player who has done such brilliant things in the past does. And Valthaty HAS done brilliant things in the past, and such a miserable performance coming from him is a shame. So it looks like Valthaty will have to prove himself in IPL 2012 or suffer our get lost XI for even longer.

Ross Taylor (DD, $1 million)

Ross Taylor was traded from the Rajasthan Royals side mainly because DD wanted a strong overseas batsman because David Warner, Kevin Pietersen, and Mahela Jaywardene were all fulfilling national duty for their respective sides and would be unavailable for DD’s first few games. Unfortunately, Ross injured himself in the South Africa tour of New Zealand which took place just before the IPL began. When he arrived, though, he had a dismal season, scoring only 197 runs from 12 innings at an average of 19 and a strike rate of 115.20; which is most unlike the Ross Taylor from IPL 2, playing for RCB. Unfortunately for him, his unsuccessful stint with Delhi earned him a place in our get lost XI

Saurabh Tiwari (RCB, $1.6 million)

Does everybody know what happend to Lalit Modi? One day chairman of IPL, popular, loved by everybody for being the brains behind what is arguably the World’s best T20 tournament, and next day (actually 3 years later 😛 ) removed from his post of chairman, sent to prison, and is now not in such a good position as he was 3 years ago, anyways. Saurabh Tiwari suffered the same fate. He gave such a brilliant performance in IPL 3, a performance worth the citi rising star award. He was immediately picked up by RCB in the auctions at a massive $1.6 million, but he had a very ordinary IPL 4 and an even more ordinary IPL 5, and is yet to score a fifty in RCB colors, despite sitting out for only 1 game. He was also the only batsman in the top 50 batsmen to hit less than 10 boundaries. So he has unfortunately been given a one-way ticket to our get lost XI, and will have to work hard to get a ticket out.

Yusuf Pathan (KKR- $2.1 million)

The 2nd KKR player in the team. What a disappointment. Yusuf Pathan began his IPL career for the Rajasthan Royals, who were the least likely team to win the IPL, but his power batting took them to the title. The Kolkata Knight Riders took note of this, and we’re determined to add him to their ranks, and were perfectly willing to pay him the $2.1 million that he came at. He came up with a good show in IPL-4, scoring 283 runs at a strike rate of 140.79 and 13 wickets at an economy rate of 6.10. He was expected to carry that show into IPL-5, but unfortunately that did not happen. He managed only 194 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 114.79 and took 4 wickets at 8.16 per over. And now because of this his path to the Indian T20 team no longer looks as breezy as it once did. Still, with such performances the only assured path he’ll have is to our get lost XI

Ravindra Jadeja (CSK- $2 million +)

Probably the only player who’s here because of money-wise expectations. Jadeja was doing pretty well for India with the ball and a little bit with the bat as well. So before the auctions, there was an air of rumor surrounding him saying that he will be wanted by many teams. And he was just as expensive as he was rumored to become. He was purchased in the tiebreaker by CSK for a rumored price of $5-6 million. So what CSK really expected of him, I think, was a good performance with the ball, as well as some good batting that would have helped them form a good balance in their side with and all -rounder trio of Jadeja, Morkel, and Bravo. This way CSK could have risked experimenting with their opening combinations or bowling attack without to much to worry. However, the mediocre show he pulled off was way below the expectations CSK had for him and in the end, despite being a bowling all rounder, Jadeja was barely ever trusted with the ball, and was scheduled to come in at No.8 during many games. He may have looked good as he hit a healthy 48 of 29 and took IPL 5’s best figures of 5-16 in 4 overs, but after that, nothing went right for him. Now he’s got a place in our get lost XI and will have to do well to get out.

Parthiv Patel (wk) (Deccan Chargers, cost: $650,000)

Patel was very inconsistent as a player for DC. His height gave him a disadvantage behind the stumps, but despite that Sangakkara still gave him the keeper’s gloves and that really didn’t pay off as Parthiv failed to hit the stumps at least 4 times in their crunch game vs Mumbai. Other than that his statistics card reads 194 runs from 13 games at a strike rate of 117.57. So after all this the Chargers preferred to have Sangakkara open rather than him, and he was normally slotted in at No.6 or 7. So poor little Parthiv has become the wicket-keeper for our get lost XI, and until he learns to hit the stumps from behind that is where he will stay.

Harbhajan Singh (MI- $1.3 million)

Bhajji!! Tum yaha kyaa kar rahe ho? A question I’m sure many of you are going to ask when you see the name of Harbhajan Singh written here in the list of players for the get lost XI but then ask yourself this, “what did he do to stay out of it?”. His bowling was simply miserable, with 6 wickets in 17 games, which was equaled by Dhawal Kulkarni in 2 games, and was overtaken by Praghyan Ojha (9 wickets in 9 games) and RP Singh (10 wickets in 11 games). Other than that, he abused the importance of the captaincy which was handed to him by Sachin Tendulkar. Bhajji did brilliantly to lead the injury ridden MI side to a CLT20 win, but since then he’s barely coped up with the expectations of captaincy, which includes making some shrewd bowling changes and not utilizing all of his bowlers. For example, during MI vs KXIP, he gave the first over of the innings to Robin Peterson, and he yeilded only 3 runs. And after that Peterson didn’t bowl again, and Bhajji preferred to give 4 over spells to Clint McKay (4-0-36-1) and Munaf Patel (4-1-41-0). Then again in the eliminator vs CSK, Bhajji himself had opened the bowling and had bowled figures of 2-1-1-0, and then he took himself off the attack, and when he returned, he was hit for 19 runs and finished with figures of 3-1-20-0. Other than that he also contributed to MI’s last-place finish on the FairPlay awards when, in MI vs DC, Sangakkara inside edged a Munaf Patel delivery onto his stumps but then the ball ricocheted onto Dinesh Karthik’s pads and back onto the stumps. The umpired decided to declare Sanga not out assuming that the ball had hit the stumps only after hitting Karthik’s pads. Seeing this Bhajji rushed to the umpire and apparently asked him why he did not refer it to the 3rd Umpire. It was eventually referred and Sanga was made to walk, but it left a mark on MI’s FairPlay points. Other than that, he was fined for slow over rate twice, most for any team shared by Ganguly’s PWI. And if Bhajji continues behaving like this he may never escape our get lost XI.

Munaf Patel (MI- $700,000)

Munaf’s entry into our get lost XI is not because of his overall show, which is quiet respectable (15 wickets in 12 games at 7.86 an over); but a few simply horrible shows that made up for it all. Munaf was also a part of the Sangakkara bowled incident and he and Bhajji were wagging their fingers at the umpire and spoiling the team’s name. After that in the RCB vs MI game, getting the wicket of Gayle was about the only good thing Munaf did for MI as he bowled 3 overstepping no-balls in 1 over (with another little chat withe umpire, by the way), then made a comical misfield on the boundary, and was then smashed for 24 of the last over of the innings by Mayank Agarwal. Then vs KXIP, he was bowling full-tosses in the death to Davids Hussey and Miller, and they made him pay royally, finishing him with figures of 4-1-41-0 despite the maiden over. The Munaf Patel we saw this IPL was not even half of the Munaf from the victorious Indian World Cup side, or the Munaf who gave Chris Gayle a ‘well played’ after getting him out, which was a fantastic gesture. So if you want proof that just bowling well isn’t everything and you must be respectful to be successful, remember Munaf Patel, who ended up in our get lost XI almost solely because he raised a finger in anger at the umpire.

Sourav Ganguly (PWI- $400,000)

Dada fans, look away now. You have been warned. Now even if you are not a Dada fan, you will be curious to know on what grounds I am sentencing him here. A fair question, which deserves an answer. So let me take you back a few years in time. Sourav Ganguly, captain of India, 11363 ODI runs with 72 fifties, and a top score of 183, Dada was named the 6th greatest ODI batsman in the World. After such a career, Dada could have comfortably retired and gone down in flame and glory like most of his other Indian teammates once did, and could have still got a lot of money commentating. Unfortunately, that was not enough for Dada as he stepped up to captain Pune Warriors India in the absence of Yuvraj Singh. He started well as a captain, with a superior bowling unit spearheaded by an in-form Ashok Dinda, and backed well by Murali Kartik and Marlon Samuels. In fact, PWI were actually the last team to lose a game. Then, they played horribly, winning only 4 games in the entire tournament, for which Ganguly is quiet responsible as both captain and batsman. His strike rate of 98.88, worst for a full-time batsman, crippled the PWI batting as the in-form players, such as Steve Smith, Robin Uthappa and Jesse Ryder never got enough of the strike to do their job and perished trying to accelerate. Even though PWI were comfortably out of the contest, Ganguly ‘rested’ himself for only 1 game and came back in the next game. He never hit a 50 for PWI, and struggled to cross the 20 run mark. His lax running was like a joke as he pulled out the dive about 3 seconds after he’d been given out. So poor Dada now cannot go down with flying colors as he could have then, and after a short debate, we have also decided to name him captain of our get lost XI for 2012. And even retiring from PWI’s captaincy won’t let him retire from captaincy from our get lost XI and he will definately have to pull of something extraordinary to retire. We are sending him in at No.11 because even if he runs like a comedy piece, the only person he generally won’t run out anyone serious, and we want to give everybody in our team a fair percentage of the strike, including Munaf Patel, because they all can score at a strike rate of 100+ for sure.

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CSK beat RCB;retain the trophy

On the 28th of May, the final clash between the Royal Challengers Bangalore happened. Put in to bowl by M.S Dhoni,The Royal Challengers Bangalore put up a shabby bowling performance,taking the first wicket only after 14.5 overs. Murali Vijay’s 95 was terrific as CSK put up 205 for 5. RCB lost hope the minute Chris Gayle fell to R.Ashwin in the first over for 0. Despite Kohli’s (35)and Saurabh Tiwari’s(42*) efforts,they still collapsed to a measly 147-8.
Murali Vijay was the man of the match for his stunning innings of 95.

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