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Leg spin – an effective tool in the T20s

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in Columns | 0 comments

Throughout the Champions League T20 2014, we have seen the wrist spinners getting a lot of wickets, be it the right arm leggie or the left arm china man. We have seen it in the other T20 leagues as well especially the Indian Premier League that the wrist spinners have proved to be very effective and it’s surprising. When the slam bang format of the game was evolving, it was said that leg spinners would have no role to play in that. For the first couple of years, the captains were very reluctant to play the leggies in the T20s. The general thinking was that because of their lack of control, the wrist spinners would not be able to contain the batsmen.

But, in T20 cricket, containing the batsmen is not the only thing that you look to do as a captain. Apart from keeping the batsmen down, you also look to take wickets and that’s where having a wrist spinner is a luxury. The first thing with the wrist spinners is that they don’t need a weary pitch to turn the ball as the finger spinners do. Wrist sinners can make the ball the spin even on a belter and secondly, it’s their loop which prompts the batsmen to try and go after them and quite often, the batsmen get deceived.

Well, leg spin is a difficult art and as mentioned above, it’s hard to control a ball on which the spin is being imparted with wrist. There will be days when a wrist spinner bowls only the full tosses or the long hopes and goes for plenty and makes the captain look stupid, but, if he is backed and he is good enough with a big heart, he is going to get wickets on more number of days than not.


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Abandoned match made teams’ positions tricky in Group A

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in News | 0 comments

The Champions League T20 Group A match between Chennai Super Kings and Lahore Lions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday was called off because of wet outfield. It bucketed down constantly for about two hours there in Bangalore which created a lot of water puddles on the squares and it was impossible for the ground staff to make the ground ready for play till the cut off time which was 10.45 pm. So, the umpires decided to abandon the proceedings and award two points each to both the teams.

This has now made the Saturday’s game between CSK and Perth Scorchers very important. If CSK loses that, they will almost be out of the tournament, while, if they win that, there will be 90% chance of them going through to the semis as their net run rate is pretty high thanks to their big win against the Dolphins. The same applies to the Scorchers as well.

However, before that Super Kings Versus Scorchers game, Lahore Lions will play against the Nashua Dolphins and after that game, things will be slightly clearer. If Dolphins win there and then CSK wins, CSK will be the semi finalist. But, if the Lions win and then, CSK lose, that will make things a bit complicated in Group A.

Kolkata Knight Riders though have already qualified for the final 4 from Group A and their last match against the Dolphins will be a dead rubber for them. They are the only semi finalist from either of the groups as of now. From Group B, no team has reached there. Kings XI Punjab, that has got 8 points, will be there if they win against the Northern Knights of New Zealand later today. It’s a night game at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali.

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Super Kings back on track with huge win

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in News | 0 comments

The Chennai Super Kings showed against the Nashua Dolphins what can happen if their power packed batting line up clicks collectively. Playing at Chinnaswamy, the likes of Raina, McCullum and then, Jadeja at the end made an absolute mockery of those short boundaries as the men in yellow surged to the highest Champions League score ever. Two hundred and forty two was the number at the board when 20 overs finished and even if it was Chinnaswamy where the ball just flies over the boundary, even if CSK had inexperienced bowling attack, even if the Dolphins had depth in their batting, it was going to be one heck of an ask.

The Dolphins, to their credit, were up for the fight. They went after the CSK bowlers from the first ball and half way through the inning, they were maintaining the necessary run rate, but, that’s when the CSK skipper MS Dhoni brought on his trump card Dwayne Bravo who with his subtle changes in pace and length made the asking rate climb. The Caribbean all rounder just dried up the boundaries from his end and not only that, he got a couple out too.

Mohit Sharma, though he leaked runs at 10 an over, was quite good too considering how high scoring the game was. He took 4 wickets; two of them came in the first 10 overs which kept the Super Kings in the game there. Dhoni did not use his third seamer Ishwar Pandey at all probably because Pandey’s pace and length could have been ideal for the Dolphins’ batsmen to hit sixes.

CSK won by 54 runs which took their net run rate close to +2. The Net Run Rate happens to be a huge factor in the Champions League for the teams.



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T20- a momentum oriented game

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Columns | 0 comments

Sometimes, a very minute factor can turn a T20 match on its head. Yesterday in Hyderabad, Cape Cobras from South Africa had almost crushed the Hobart Hurricanes from Australia. The last recognized batsman of the Hurricanes i.e. Aiden Blizzard was shown the door by Vernon Philander and it was almost game over as an asking rate of 12 was required from there on. But, it wasn’t to be actually. There was a twist there.

Because of the tendency of Philander  to get very close to crossing the line of the bowling crease, the umpires decided to have a look if the ball at which he had got that Blizzard wicket was legitimate or not and guess what, it turned out to be a no ball and the game changed.

Blizzard hit insanely thereafter. Philander; of course, helped with length balls, but, those length balls had to be put away and the left hander obliged gleefully. Four boundaries, two via air and two along the ground, killed the game there in that over. Philander was shell shocked. Had he, over those few minutes, become such a bad bowler that he couldn’t land even one right? No, absolutely not. It’s the rhythm, it’s the momentum. The free hit that came with that no ball shifted the momentum and T20 cricket is all about momentum.

You can be cruising and you think the game is in your pocket and then, all of a sudden, you put a foot wrong and that becomes the turning point. It’s so much a momentum oriented game, this T20 and that’s why no team is ever out of it. You’ve got to remember one thing as a player that you always have to keep going. You can never relax thinking that you have won the game. This format can be very, very cruel at times, as Philander experienced the other day.


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Is Sehwag’s ego hurting him?

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Columns | 0 comments

Even at the age of 36, there is a bit of recklessness in Virender Sehwag’s game. Well, people can say that he has always been like that and that aggression is in his blood and all that, but, when you are playing for your comeback in the national team, you’ve got to be responsible enough, at least towards your fans. The shot that Sehwag played off Doug Bollinger’s first ball in Mohali yesterday night, even his die hard supporter would have felt embarrassed after that. A target of 145 was in front of Punjab and Sehwag could well have afforded to have a bit of look in there. But, first ball, he fetched a wide one and toe ended it straight to third man. There was no power, no timing, no feet, nothing in the shot.

Sehwag seems to have got to a stage now where his strong point has become his weak point. There were days when he used to intimidate the bowlers. You just couldn’t bowl him short outside the off stump. He could hit you all day on either side of the square and that too without moving his feet even an inch. One could sense that his game was all about his reflexes, his hand-eye coordination. Now, that he has got a bit old, his reflexes haven’t remained the same. They have got slow and he struggles in getting those short and wide ones away. Yes, he wants to be fit. He has been working in the gym, he has got himself slimmer, but, no matter what you do, you just can’t quicken your reflexes in your mid thirties.

Sehwag, however, is not ready to be realistic. He is just not admitting that there is no way he can play the way he was playing a few years back. If he wants to elongate his career, which he certainly does, he needs to bring more application in his batting. He will have to resist the temptation of going hard at those short balls first up. If it’s a ranked bad delivery, then, it’s alright to punish it, but, if it’s a good delivery, he will have to show respect to the bowlers. He has never done that in his career mind you. He and Kevin Pietersen are the only two guys in the modern generation who have never been dominated by any bowling attack on any surface. But, given his age, given his career situation, he will have to change himself. The great Sachin Tendulkar did that at a certain point, why can’t he do it?

Sehwag has always been an egoistic fellow and his ego sort of helped him in the first half of his career when his game was right there at the top, but, that ego might have been hurting him a little bit now. If he doesn’t realize that he is not the same player anymore, his career would be over earlier than when it should be.




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Champions League to start today

Posted by on Sep 13, 2014 in News |

It’s that time of the year again when we all, rather than supporting our country, would be supporting our favourite franchises as the Champions League T20 is going to kick start this Saturday. The qualifying round will take place first with 4 teams going head-to-head against one another in that for making the main draw. Lahore Lions (Pakistan), Northern Districts (New Zealand), Southern Express (Sri Lanka) and Mumbai Indians (India) are those 4 teams who will be there tussling in the qualifiers from 13th to 17th of September. The International Cricket Stadium in Raipur, Chattisgarh will host all the qualifiers.

In multi team tournaments, the no. of points matter a lot because on the basis of that only, the teams move forward and Champions League T20 is no different. The teams which finish first and second in the CLT20 points table in the qualifying round will qualify for the main draw. They will join 8 other teams which have directly qualified to the main draw because of their better performances in their respective domestic T20 competitions.

The teams which finish at the last two positions in the Champions League Points Table in the qualifying round will be knocked out and go back home . For each win, the teams will be given 4 points, while, in case of loss, there will be no points awarded. If the match gets abandoned due to rain or any other reason, both the teams participating will be given 2 points each.

There might be a scenario where the points of 3 teams in the qualifying round are same. If that happens, the last column in the Champions League t20 points table i.e. the net run rate column will determine which 2 teams go through. The teams having higher NRR will enter the main round and will compete with the teams in their group thereafter for a semi final spot.

In the main draw also, the criteria for awarding points will be the same i.e. 4 points for win, zero for defeat and 2 for no result. In the main draw, there will be separate Champions League team standing for the two groups. The two top sides from each group will be in the semi final and the winners of the two semis will play against each other in the final.



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