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India 0-1 down in the ODI series

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in News |

A super professional effort by the visiting West Indies side left the World no. 1 India stunned at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, Kochi last night. Despite their row with their board over the contract issue, the men from Caribbean were at their clinical best in batting, bowling as well as fielding. They did not have the best of playing conditions as they had to bat first with wicket still a little bit damp because of the overnight rain and then, they had to bowl second with the wet ball because of dew. So, plenty of things were against them, but, the individuals put their hands up and did the job.

Marlon Samuels was brilliant in his comeback game. It was vintage Samuels, eating up deliveries at the start, taking singles, biding time and then, a few explosive shots in the middle to get going. Denesh Ramdin, who is batting up the order these days, seemed to carry on from the same point he had left against Bangladesh. He was not afraid taking on the spinners from the word go and he was picking the vacant places in the field to hit his shots. He was toying with the Indian captain’s field placings.

Mohammed Shami, by going around the wicket and cramping batsmen with some good yorkers at the end, limited the climbing run rate somehow, but, West Indies still got to a score which was way more than enough. The wicket was looking easy paced when India started batting. A good opening partnership was being built, but, all of a sudden, a miscommunication between Rahane and Dhawan led to the former getting run out.

Virat Kohli’s angled bat issue continued as he edged to the slips again. Rayudu played a very average shot to give catching practice to the mid on fielder who did not have to move even a millimetre to take that catch. Raina, unfortunately, played it on.  Thereafter, it was all up to an out-of-touch Dhoni who could not pull it off this time. With his wicket, the game was sort-of gone for India. It was only a matter of how much the tail-enders could reduce the gap. Last wicket partnership of Jadeja and Shami fought to some extent, but, Rampaul, with a cracking delivery, knocked Shami over to hand India their biggest defeat at home in 9 years.


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Kuldeep called up, Ashwin given rest

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in News |

The Indian team for the opening 3 games of the ODI series against West Indies has been picked. MS Dhoni, as usual, is going to lead the side with Virat Kohli being retained as his deputy. Rohit Sharma, because of being unfit, is not in the team and his place has been given to Murali Vijay who was very successful in the test series on the England tour. Vijay, however, is not supposed to be opening the batting in any of the games with the third choice opener Ajinkya Rahane already being there.

The uncapped Kuldeep Yadav has also been selected after being noticed by one and all in the Champions League T20. MS Dhoni is reported to have insisted his inclusion after being impressed by his tendency of flighting the ball even while the batsmen are looking for big shots. Kuldeep has got a whole lot of variations in his repertoire including the normal china-man delivery which goes away from the left handers, the googly which goes in the wrong direction and the carom ball which goes straight on with the angle.

The Indian selectors have kept Ravichandran Ashwin out of the squad having in mind that the off spinner has to play plenty of matches in the next few months leading to the World Cup. Amit Mishra has made his comeback after bowling well while playing for the A team in the practice game against West Indies the other day. Mishra had not been on the England tour due to injury. Karn Sharma, the Railway leggie, had gone there on his place.

Sanju Samson, whom many people thought might have got the opportunity if Dhoni had decided to rest, has been overlooked. He was in the squad for the England ODIs as a backup wicketkeeper.



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Narine out of the final, CSK favourites

Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in News |

The BCCI has banned the Caribbean mystery spinner Sunil Narine from bowling in the Champions League as well as in the Indian Premier League because of him being reported for chucking for the second time. There could not have been a bigger blow than this to KKR on the eve of the final. Narine has been phenomenally successful against the power packed batting line of the Chennai Super Kings, the other finalist in this CLT20.

In the first match of the tournament which was also played between KKR and CSK, not even 10 runs had come off Narine’s quota of 4 overs, while, the other bowlers had disappeared all over. The Knight Riders do have found another mystery man i.e. Kuldeep Yadav, but, he is relatively inexperienced and can fall apart if being attacked. Shoaib Malik played with the minds of the young man quite easily in Hyderabad the other day.

The Super Kings must be thanking heavens for the ban on Narine to be imposed at such a great time. This has, all of a sudden, made them the favourites for the final in spite of the opposition having won 14 matches on the trot. Peaking at the right time is what CSK seems to be doing at the moment. None of their batsmen is out of form and the bowling, with Negi coming in and doing well and with Ashish Nehra being consistent, is looking fine too.

Since, the venue is Chinnaswamy, people would be expecting fours and sixes, but, it will all depend on how the pitch plays. As it has been seen in the past, no matter how small the boundaries are, if the surface is not conducive to batting, it has turned out to be a low scoring game. The grounds men, however, have had a few days to prepare the pitch and the weather has also been alright in Bengaluru. So, it should be a typical Chinnaswamy wicket, a batting paradise.


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CSK through, will face Punjab in the semis

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in News |

The Australian club Perth Scorchers helped Chennai Super Kings make the semi finals of the Champions League T20 2014 by beating Lahore Lions at Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.

The Scorchers actually just needed to prevent the Lions from winning by a margin of 47 or more runs. So, the moment they crossed the 77-run mark replying to the Lions’ total of 124, the Super Kings were through. The men in yellow will play against Kings XI Punjab in Rajeev Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad in the second semi final on Thursday night.

It was a bizarre start by the Lions in the afternoon as they lost 4 of their top order wickets inside 10 runs batting first. But, thanks to the youngster Shaad Naseem who came to their rescue again, scoring a quick fire half century and ensuring that his team put a fighting total on the board.  The Lions captain Mohammad Hafeez knew that he was effectively defending only 70 odd runs. So, he tried to put his foot on the throat of the opposition right from the word go. He set up test match field, placing 2 slips, a gulley, a forward short leg and even a backward short leg at times and the Scorchers started obliging by giving their wickets to the spinners.

But, Mitchell Marsh, the stand-in skipper of the Scorchers, held one end up and he found a gutsy partner in Brad Hogg who broke the shackles on his arrival at the wicket. With a four and a six off the off spinner Rasool, Hogg forced Hafeez to go back on the defence. Marsh took his time and blasted only in the last two overs. He finished things off with consecutive sixes in the penultimate over that was bowled by the left arm pacer Wahab Riaz.

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Leg spin – an effective tool in the T20s

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in Columns |

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 |

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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