IPL 3: Two crackers today – RCB vs. KKR, CSK vs. DC

March 14, 2010

Royal Challengers Bangalore will not have forgotten their first against KKR in the first edition’s opener. Yet, I would like to think they will be better prepared this time. There is no McCullum this time, but there is Pujara- the batting sensation from Saurasthra.

Factors against RCB – this edition is in India. You’ve got to be a flat track bully here to garner any respect. Judging by the recently concluded series against South Africa, the Saffers don’t seem to be in great form. This might play on RCB’s mind.

KKR are playing at home. Theywill have tremendous support. This is the Eden. It can be paradise if it is home and ruthlessly evil for the opponent. This will be fun to watch. As for me, I like both teams. May the better team win!

CSK will open their account against the DCs. I will watch this for CSK and will root for them; though I’m indifferent about them, I care a rat’s hind for the Deccan Chargers – so less that they didn’t even merit a mention in my indifferent list.


IPL 2: So it isn’t boring after all

May 4, 2009

I must admit that I’m the one who vowed not to watch the IPL 2, who wore my thoughts on my sleeve about how this season can be nothing short of very boring. I’m now very guilty for I’ve watched more IPL matches this year than the last.

Credit must be given to the pitch masters of South Africa. It isn’t for nothing that the T20 World Cup in 2007 was such a hit. It isn’t just about the Bollywood babes, catchy tunes, and scantily clad cheerleaders. If the cricket’s boring (and the tickets expensive or spectators’ conditions poor), the tournament becomes doomed. By getting the pitches right and the ticket prices right (if the commentators and other tournament-folk are to be believed), cricket South Africa have ensured the success of the tournament.

Perhaps this even balance so produced by quality pitches have ensure that insipid sides like Rajasthan and weekend ones like Punjab don’t seem that great this year. Suddenly the Asnodkars and the Mascarenases don’t seem that valuable. You’ve got to get the cricket right here, which is why the good old folk – Dravid, Tendulkar, Boucher, Kumble – and those among the new who are worth their salt – Badrinath, Duminy, RP Singh – and the like are making merry.

The teams and their fortunes

Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers

The shift away from India has benefited two teams that found themselves at the bottom of the table last year: Bangalore and Deccan.

We all knew Deccan had it, it just wasn’t clicking for them. That RP Singh has had a lot of success in South Africa adds a lot to their attack.

Bangalore’s is the miracle recovery. I think it has more to do with team spirit and Kumble’s captaincy than Ray Jennings’ coaching. Besides they are the side with almost an all South African combination with Indian stars. They lucked out that the tournament moved to their real home. Bangalore doesn’t belong in India! 🙂 On yesturday’s thumping victory over Mumbai that involved chasing a score of over 140, while Uthappa’s innings might be a flash in the pan, Kallis I think has indeed found himself in the T20 version. I cannot end a paragraph about the BRCs without mentioning Dravid. He started the tournament with a sparkling 66 of 40-odd. That he is back in the squad will add the much needed backbone to the Bangalore team. Dillion du Pree, the debutant yesturday seemed like an inspired pick. Four overs might be too early to judge, but he may yet become the star of Bangalore attack, surpassing a certain lackluster Dale Steyn.

Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab

For those who just couldn’t understand how the Royals won the tournament last year, myself included, this year, so far has been a vindication. The team has little value in the young mavericks. Veteran Saffer batsman Smith isn’t exactly setting anything on fire; they are missing Sohail Tanvir the most. Watson might have been another flop here – not a huge fan of him.

Kings XI is kind of neither here nor there. Their bowling department has lucked out with the selection of Abdullah. They are missing Sreesanth, Lee and Shaun Marsh. Jayawardena isn’t in cracking form. For me this is a 50-50 team. Could go either way.

Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils

The two most balanced sides – Mumbai and Delhi – have got fairly good results so far, the latter more than the former. Mumbai’s bowling has expectedly been bolstered by Malinga’s form and Zaheer’s presence. Is it just me or does somebody else also think Zaheer seemed more lethal when he was bowling for Bangalore?

Delhi lost Shikar Dhawan this year, but thankfully for them, he isn’t in form. Viru is yet to blast away that 10+ an over rate for the first 6-8 overs, but it might only be a matter of time.

Chennai Super Kings

Last year’s uber geek team is languishing in the table. Why that is the case is beyond me. Dhoni and Albie aren’t contributing too well. But that apart, you’ve got to believe it’s a matter of a few wins to see them in the top four where they belong.

Kolkata Knight Riders

The most woeful of the teams this year. Given the degree of off-field woe which seems to be propagating on-field, they probably deserve to be where they are. The batting isn’t clicking, McCullum’s batting looks stressed; he’s not the free flowing carefree man from last season. Ganguly is smug, Ishant erratic and unsupported by horrible fielding which reminds of Indian team from the early 90s, Agarkar is well, just plain Agarkar. Buchanan and his army needs to be shown the door and Ganguly or somebody else made sole captain.


Bangalore Royally Challenged!

April 19, 2008

Poor dear, Dravid! You’re luck of late has been worse than mine! 😦

Like many 20-20 crazy folk would have expected, the Test-squad-ish Bangalore, got royally hit on the head, mattai adi as the Chennai folk would call it.

However, all is not lost, if you are Bangalore fan, that is. It was one match, and there was clearly only one star – Brenden McCullum. As Dravid said at the presentation, if you take away McCullum’s score, you get 70-odd. Though I don’t fully agree with that statement – had McCullum not scored as much, maybe someone else would have played responsibly – there is some truth to it. Given that bouncy wicket, the scorecard will have looked different. But having said that, I must say that it was heartening to see Sourav’s captaincy still rocking!

Problems areas for Bangalore include Jaffer: the out-of-form, short-of-runs-in-the-recent-season, mostly Test-only batsman, Sunil Joshi, Zaheer to some extent, and the lack of a quality spinner (in Kumble’s absense). Adding to the woes are trying-to-return-to-form Dravid and currently-lacklustre Kallis. (Gosh! I’m having a serious adjective-block)

If you are down in the dumps after last night’s thrashing, fellow blogger Scorpicity has some food for the wounded soul. If Bangalore continues to get sloshed, I might join Scorpy in throwing expletives and rotten tomatoes at the IPL.