Category Archives: Cricket

India wins maiden bilateral series in Lanka

After the Test series debacle, Dhoni’s men redeemed themselves by winning India’s maiden bilateral series in Sri Lanka by winning the fourth one dayer in Columbo. Meanwhile the fear of the duo of Mendis and Murali has all but disappeared.
The pundits had written the Indian ODI team off even before the series had got rolling. Largely due to the disappointing performance of the Indian batsmen against the duo of Mendis and Murali in the test series which India lost 2-1. But Dhoni’s men have gotten used to being the underdogs before the start of a series and yet emerging triumphs at the end of it. The ODI series down under early this year was one such example. But the side filled with young rising talent was a treat to watch in this series a they went from strength to strength and managed to pull off the series even with a match in hand. Even in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag both of whom had to pull out due to injuries, the Indian bench made up for their absence.
A victory in Sri Lanka is always sweet. The last bilateral series in Sri Lanka had India face an embarrassing defeat of 3-0 and confirmed the fact that taming the Sri Lankan lions in their own backyard is not such a frivolous task. But finally India succeeded in triumphing in an ODI series here and this success can be attributed to the team work and the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Right from calling the coin correctly, Dhoni has not set a foot wrong in this series. He led from the front especially in the last two matches in Colombo. But what is important to note is the way he motivated the team after the embarrassing loss in the first one dayer in Dambula. The Indian team was expected to lose this series badily as none of the batsmen had any experience whatsoever against the duo of Mendis and Murali and that too on spinner friendly tracks in Sri Lanka. But the young Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and even Badrinath applied themselves to the early swing of the experienced Vaas and against the guile of Mendis and Murali. They applied themselves, used their feet and were not scared of hopping down the pitch in order to counter the spin. During the test series it was just one batsman Sachin Tendulkar who had tried to get aggressive against the spin duo. But in the one day series it was all the batsmen who went aggressively against the Sri Lankan spinners and emerged triumphant at the end.
But the primary reason why the Indians have got the series in the bag has been the success of the Indian bowlers. The pace bowlers Zaheer and Praveen kumar have always picked up wickets with the new ball. Right from pitching the ball in the right areas to getting early break throughs, the Indian pacers have laid the foundation for Harbhajan to come and clean up the tail. Even the fifth bowler in the form of Yuvraj Singh has picked up wickets at regular intervals.
The series win against Sri Lanka would come as a huge sigh of relief for the thousands of the Indian fans who had given up after the test series. But this win will do wonders to the confidence of the Indian ODI team who has just started a fresh innings under the reign of Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has appeared to be calm and unperturbed even when faced with tremendous pressure. The Indian team can only get better from here and after the infusion of Sachin and Sehwag at the top of the order, this team will have the perfect mix of flamboyant aggressive youth and dependable experience.

Rajasthan Royals- the IPL Winners!

It is said, the winner takes all. In a closely fought encounter at the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai, Rajasthan Royals beat the Chennai Super kings in a humdinger of a match to win the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League by three wickets..

IT WAS touted as the clash of the titans. The invincible Rajasthan Royals up against the resurgent Chennai Super Kings. Even the pundits were refusing to take a stand, as this was expected to be a very close encounter.

Both the semifinals at the Wankhede Stadium had been tame one-sided wins with both the teams registering comprehensive wins over their counterparts. But the 55,000 plus spectators seated at the DY Patil stadium could not have asked for a better finish to what has been the most explosive series ever to have hit Indian television. All the critics who had earlier questioned the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the outset are now running for cover because such is the popularity of this league that it has every one hooked on to it. And now that it is over for this year, there would still be people salivating for more.

The glittering closing ceremony with the host of Bollywood starlets, German acrobats and a sizzling display of fire works were a treat to the eye. But the action was still to begin with Dhoni’s boys coming out to bat against a hostile bowling attack of Rajasthan Royals led by Sohail Tanveer who had been the highest wicket taker of the tournament. The Chennai openers set the ball rolling and were off to a sedate start. Suresh Raina came in and hit some lusty blows, which included three huge towering sixes.

The Chennai Super kings were restricted to a total of 163 in their quote of 20 overs. Not a match winning score but definitely a competing one! The Rajasthan Royals were not off to a very good start, as they lost the first wicket of Patel early. It was left to the find of the tournament Yousuf Pathan to come to their rescue as he has done time and time again for his team in this series. His 50 was the turning point of the match as he led his team to within a few runs from the target. At the end it was Shane Warne and Sohail Tanveer who had a cool head on their shoulders and took the Rajasthan Royals home but not without its share of drama. The winning runs were scored of the final delivery of the innings.

This is what dreams are made of. Here is a team, which spent barely anything on the auctions who retained Shane Warne as captain and coach, it was sure that this team would find it next to impossible to qualify for the semis. But qualify they did not through any back door entry but by topping the group and carrying on the good work in the finals as well. And on the other hand some of the big names like Royal Challengers and the Deccan charges, both failed o create an impact in this edition as well.

The IPL has been a phenomenal success. With all the money pouring in, this league has created a storm. Rajasthan Royals emerged as the winners of this edition. It is a day when Warne needs to be applauded for his incessant work and charming personality. The Indian Premier League has arrived and is here to stay. The transfer window in February will be a vital important aspect of the IPL.  Here’s applauding Lalit Modi and the rest of the gang behind this colossal event and hoping the next edition of the IPL will be bigger and better.

Jayasuriya blast hits Chennai

It was a day when a packed Wankhede Stadium had gathered to watch their favourite son make his IPL debut. But in the bargain they got more than they had wished for. Sanath Jayasuriya, the most underperformed player of the tournament went berserk making an otherwise hostile Chennai attack look mediocre.

 

It could not have been scripted better. Tendulkar made his debut in the IPL, with his team Mumbai Indians having won three matches consecutively. But in order to make it to the Semis, they had to keep the momentum going. After restricting the Chennai Super Kings to a modest total of 157 due to some disciplined bowling up front by Pollock and Nehra but since then the night belonged to Jayasuriya.

 

He had been getting starts in the tournament but had barely converted them. This was the day when Jayasuriya had been waiting for to prove his worth to the team. Till the match against Chennai, he had been opening with different partners and the opening partnership never used to go past a few years. Opening with Sachin probably gave him the confidence to go berserk. The first six overs yielded 78 and by then the Chennai Super Kings knew that something had hit them hard. His flicks over Square Leg for six, his powerful cover drives and bottom hand jabs on the on side were a delight to watch.

 

Though on the other hand Sachin did not really make his dream debut but was more than happy to let Jayasuriya take the strike and demolish the opposition. Eleven sixes in an innings, second in the IPL only to Brendon Mecculum’s 13 in the first match against the Royal Challengers. The sheer arrogance with which he hit all the Chennai Super Kings bowlers all around the park was astonishing to see. In the belligerent mood that he was in, he did not even spare his previous team mate Muralitharan as he attempted twice to reverse sweep the Sri Lankan off spinner. If there is one player who can single handedly take the match away from the opposition with his explosive batting, it is Sanath Jayasuriya. And his team were aware that it would need just one innings to get him abck in form which he did in style.

 

The second fastest hundred of the tournament after Adam Gilchrist who had gone on a rampage against the Mumbai Indians a few matches back. But with Jayasuriya’s current performance the Mumbai Indians can be happy that their most explosive batsman is back in form and these are not good signs for the other teams. Jayasuriya’s knock was the first good score from a team who had till now struggled in the tournament.

 

But this innings would do a world of confidence to them as they would now make their move to try and reach the Semi Finals. For the thousands that had gathered to see Sachin bat, it would have been a dream come true to watch this innings of Jayasuriya. Mumbai Indians would also feel confident now as their batting looks more or less to be settled though the departure of Bravo will hurt them. Their next tie against the Kolkatta Knight Riders would be a vital one, as both these teams are fighting for a birth in the Semi Finals. It will be great to see King Khan back in Mumbai cheering his team at the sidelines. But the resurgent Mumbai Indians would be up for the challenge.

Melbourne Massacre: Reality Check for T20 Champs

The Twenty Twenty champions had arrived at MCG with a lot of promise. The record 84,000 plus crowd was anticipating a humdinger of a Match, but the Aussies once again showed that when it comes to the big stage, they almost always come out trumps.

It is said, Cricket is a great Leveler. Continue reading

Sterner Tests Await MSD

     Australia thrashed India by 9 wickets in the one-off T20 in Melbourne, and the harsher of the critics will have already started baying. But critic or not, that match has surely taught everyone one thing: that there is a very fine line between bravado and foolishness. Just before the game, in a press conference, M S Dhoni has said that his players would be treating it as a practice match. Looking at the result, it seems a lot more practice is in store for the entire team. Continue reading

Harbhajan Exonerated, Aussie incensed

Australia incensed by Harbhajan reprieve. This article appeared in Cricinfo.

Harbhajan Singh’s exoneration for his alleged “monkey” comment towards Andrew Symonds has been hailed as a victory for justice in India, but the decision has incensed Australia’s cricketers, who believe their board has caved in to overwhelming pressure from the game’s financial superpower. Continue reading

Should Ganguly have been omitted from the ODI squad??

The selectors are at it again. Chopping and chipping away at a winning combination. Ganguly should consider himself really unfortunate to have been unceremoniously dropped for the ODI’s after registering the best ever comebacks in cricketing history.
Sourav Ganguly is sure to be in a quandary. He had registered one of the greatest comebacks into the Indian team. Continue reading

Dominance Over, New era begins

THE contrast could not be more stark. At the very venue they reclaimed the Ashes last summer, the Australians yesterday witnessed the end of their record-equalling 16-Test winning sequence, though not before an enthralling late-innings fightback. [Alex Brown for Sydney Morning Herald] Continue reading

Anil Kumble: The Legend of Indian Cricket

The smiling assassin or the giant killer, Kumble has been India’s best bowler in the past decade. It is time to stand up and salute this great bowler and even greater human being on accomplishing the humongous feat of 600 test wickets. Continue reading

Symonds: Kumble’s 600th test victim

Anil Radhakrishna Kumble or AK 37 is the most lethal weapon in Indian Cricket’s armoury. AK made Symonds his 600th test victim in Perth on Day 2 of the 3Mobile Test Series. India took some quick wickets today but partnership between Andrew Symonds and Gilchrist steadied the Australian innings. The wicket came at the right time when Symonds looked dangerous. Symonds edged to Dhoni, the ball jumped off Dhoni’s glove, reached Dravid’s hands, who was in the first slip. Indians were ecstatic, but Rauf kept quiet. Indians kept appealing. Here goes Rauf’s finger up! Celebrations begins! History is made at Perth.  Anil Kumble not only broke the partnership Continue reading