Saturday, 31 May 2008

Second Semifinal - King's X1 Punjab v Chennai Superkings - Preview

Today it is. Do or die day. No more second chances, no more bothering about tables and run-rates and the like. On the opposite side is our favorite opponent - King's X1 Punjab - a team that we like to beat and hold some grudge against. Also a team that is on the up, and supremely confident, a bit too confident if you like. At stake, is a chance to contest in the finals of the inaugural DLF IPL Final !

Favorites ?
What a question !

League Record: 2-0 in favor of Super Kings
In the first game, we totally annihilated them - but those were different days as we had Mike Hussey with us. But more encouragingly we had a very good win in the return game also, despite Shaun Marsh batting well. It seemed Dhoni Raina and Badrinath relished taking on the all Indian bowling attack and then Balaji sealed it off with a super-spell !

Teams
Punjab
Strengths - Shaun Marsh, Sangakarra
Weaknesses - Yuvraj, dicey lower-middle order, part of the bowling can be tonked around

Chennai
Strengths - Key players are beginning to show form (Raina, Morkel, Dhoni, Gony, Murali)
Weaknesses - Opening combination, Backup bowling, below par performances by Ntini and Murali

Royal Contests
Marsh v Gony
Sangakarra v Murali
Raina v Chawla
Dhoni v Irfan

Friday, 30 May 2008

Strongest Rivals ?

Well, maybe we can answer this question better in two days time. But why not get the discussion started ? Who should be our arch-rivals for the next season ? I remember earlier in the season, Robin had considered Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore as potential rivals and settled on Bangalore. But now, is it time for a re-think given Bangalore's poor performance ?

My thoughts - candidate rivals and reasons in no particular order -
1) King's X1 Punjab - We play our best cricket against them, plus Dhoni has a keen battle against his friend and vice-captain Yuvraj

2) Delhi Daredevils - We seem to be very evenly matched, plus there is the age-old South v North issue, plus Dhoni also bypassed Sehwag for India captaincy, so there's a contest.

3) Mumbai Indians - The Mumbai crowds are the worst behaved. How can we forget the way they booed Dhoni at the Wankhede ? Plus they fairly destroyed us in our away game. Plus there is the history and the financial clout of Mumbai.

Of course the earlier reasons mentioned by Robin are still somewhat relevant. I don't want to make this sound a Dhoni v Yuvraj or Dhoni v Sehwag thing ... that's just one thought for you guys to consider.

Waiting to hear from you as to who should be our arch-rivals for next season and why ?



First Semifinal - Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Daredevils Preview

It's the first knockout. No more second chances. No more opportunities for revenge or comebacks. One of the Royals and the Daredevils will be going home disappointed tonight and the other will be readying for the mega-finals on Saturday.

Favorites ?
I would like to see Rajasthan in the finals - because I believe they are by some distance the better team, although possibly Delhi might be the preferable opponent for us if we go through tomorrow. I do think Rajasthan have the edge despite their loss in the last league game.

League Record 1-1
Delhi had beaten Rajasthan on the second day of the championship at home when Warne's men were yet to get things in order and were written off by all as minnows. However, Warnie returned with interest in the home game - a comprehensive win for the Royals.

Teams
Delhi
Strengths - Top order, McGrath, Fielding
Weaknesses - Middle order, Backup bowling (esp. fifth bowler)

Rajasthan
Strengths - Versatile, well-oiled batting, Warne - bowler and captain, Tanvir - best bowler of the series, Watson
Weaknesses - Some of the players rely a lot on Warne's captaincy, these could be individually targeted.

Royal Contests
Smith v McGrath
Yusuf v Mishra
Gambhir v Tanvir
Sehwag v Warne

Team Categorization

1. Rajasthan Royals - Undoubtedly the best team. 3 defeats - one right at the start, when they were yet to find their feet, one right at the end in a game they took lightly and one in the middle which they are entitled to.

2. King's X1 Punjab - Very strong team. 4 defeats - one against the top team, 2 against the No. 3 team (against whom they seem to have a mental block).

3. Chennai Super Kings - The most unpredictable team. 6 defeats - 2 against Rajasthan, but 0 against Punjab and then they have lost to almost every other team once (except Kolkata)

4. Delhi Daredevils - Typical middle of the table team. Did a good job of minnow-bashing, decent against top and other middle of the table teams.

5. Mumbai Indians - Another unpredictable team. 2 losses to Punjab against 2 wins versus Kolkata but against every other team has a 1-1 record, minnows and toppers and middlers alike.

6. Kolkata Knight Riders - Excellent minnow-bashers, pulled off the odd upset against a top team too.

7. Bangalore Royal Challengers - Minnows that caused an upset and a half

8. Deccan Chargers - Minnows that caused an upset and a half.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Semifinalists !

So who is the strongest of them all ?

If you just look at the records of the semifinalists against each other here is how they stand:

Rajasthan 4-2
Punjab 3-3
Chennai 3-3
Delhi 2-4

Which is the exact order in which they line up.

However that does not tell the whole story. For a lot of the teams have evolved since when they played each other.

So who are the favorites ?

I know that in a lot of forums I visit Chennai is described as the weakest of the semifinalists and Punjab is expected to run over them. I do not subscribe to this view however; for the simple fact that Chennai have beaten Punjab twice.

Indeed given a choice between facing Punjab and Rajasthan in the semis I would prefer to face Punjab any day.

Also for some reason people are beginning to look upon Delhi as very strong contenders. I wonder why. I believe luck (and some self-destruction on the part of Mumbai) played a huge role in Delhi getting to this stage. If they continue to rely on luck they might be in for a huge shock.

All in all I still believe Rajasthan is by far the strongest team and the one to beat.

And you ?

Fleming Out

So Stephen Fleming will not be available for the rest of the tournament leaving due to personal reasons (birth of his child) as per reports. This will be a bit of a blow - losing our accomplished, experienced opening batsman on the eve of the semifinals. At the same time he hadn't really set the world on fire as yet but I for one was banking on him to come good.

So what are our options now ? Do we go for a replacement foreign player as we can ? However I do think it will be too much to get a newcomer in at this late stage and ask him to gel with the team. We have the option of going in with either Vidyut or Aniruddh of course, but I for one would be interested in Chamara Kapugedara.

I know he didn't quite impress in whatever chances he got but I have seen him play for Sri Lanka and when he gets going, he can be a class player.

What are your thoughts ? How do we go about this problem ? How do we replace Fleming ? Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

And That’s How It’s Done!

For all those doubting Thomases (or Saurabhs or Narayans), hope the Chennai team has proved you guys wrong by marching into the semifinals with a convincing if not emphatic win. The semifinals are here now and from now on it’s down to which team plays better on the day.

This was a match in which, all said and done, we were always going to be favorites. We did everything right in the first ten overs of our bowling – but let it slip away slightly in the second half. This is a bit worrying. I would have liked to see us bowling the opposition out for 120-odd and the performance of Morkel and Balaji yesterday with the ball left a bit to be desired.

In the batting department, the old habit of the openers of throwing away their wickets when there is absolutely no need continues to be a worry. Raina was really encouraging but what was most relieving was seeing MS Dhoni bat. This is perhaps the best and most free I have seen him bat since his fabulous innings against Bangalore 10 games ago. MS coming into his own can only mean great news for us and ominous signs for the rest of the teams. Also, I do think Morkel took a little long to settle down yesterday which made the finish just a little bit more tense than necessary.

So we take on Punjab a team over which we have major psychological advantage, aided by the fact that we have Dhoni who seems to have some psychological hold over Yuvraj. I fancy our chances to make it through to the finals!

Positives
1) Gony – Fantastic spell first up

2) Murali – Though not at his best bowled much better than earlier

3) Raina – Finally saw the team through

4) Dhoni – Just the way he was striking the ball today was ominous

Negatives

1) Morkel – Disappointing with the ball, adequate with the bat, but we can pass this off as just a bad day, he has been great otherwise

2) Fleming – Yet another waste of a start

3) Parthiv – Just when we thought he had turned a leaf in the last game he is back to his old ways.

Do we have a chance to go all the way now? I believe we do, I definitely believe we can beat Punjab, Rajasthan might be slightly tough provided we don’t get a couple of issues sorted out. One, as Dhoni said, we need the bowling to be potent throughout. In every game it is one of the bowlers who is shining while the others are only restricting. We need all our bowlers to fire away. Two, we need Fleming to fire and fire big time – like say score a hundred.

If this can be done, I think we will be able to finish off the tournament like we started it – as the best team! Good Luck Chennai !

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Deccan Chargers v Chennai Super Kings - Preview

It has all boiled down to this. Match 54 of DLF IPL 2008 which could decide the fate of Chennai Super Kings, our Chennai Super Kings once and for all - a win here would straightaway put us in the semifinals that too at the No. 3 spot. Defeat would still not mean the end of the road but we would have to rely on a resurgent Bangalore team beating a messy Mumbai the day after.

If we are to hold our destiny in our own hands the task definition is simple - beat Deccan Chargers the team guaranteed to end up at the bottom of the table. When we met them at home earlier, we came up with one of our most disappointing batting shows to concede the advantage and that has kind of put us in the situation we are in today. That win was one of the few high points for the Deccan Chargers. They haven't managed another win in 6 games after that, but Chennai has also been very inconsistent, winning 3 and losing the other 3.

As the table stands Chennai are still in the 4th position with 14 points but face the only challenge from Mumbai who are sixth with 12 and have a game in hand as also a much superior run-rate. The presence of Gilchrist and the law of averages, as also memories of last time's defeat makes tomorrow's game tricky for the Super Kings. Dhoni really needs to be on top of his game to pull it off here.

Teams
Super Kings - The batting looks fairly well-settled - possibly Viduyt could come back in place of Abhinav Mukund, the bowling as per Dhoni is also well settled, but problematically completely fell apart in the last game. So the question is whether to stick to this attack or bring in someone out of the blue - Palani Amarnath might not be a bad choice in the situation.

For the Chargers, expect to see Chamara Silva make way for the return of either Afridi or Styris. Ojha, who had tied up Dhoni so well last time is also likely to make a return.

In all seriousness I feel the only man who can stand between Chennai and a semifinals slot is Adam Gilchrist. Get him quick and romp into the semifinals ! Good Luck Chennai !

Revenge Battles
Patel v Vijay (Vijay)
Fleming v Styris (Styris)
Raina v Afridi (Raina)
Raina v Bangar (Bangar)
Badri v Afridi (Afridi)
Dhoni v Ojha (Ojha)
Morkel v Ojha (Morkel)
Gilchrist v Ntini (Gilchrist)
Gilchrist v Morkel (Morkel)
Gibbs v Gony (Gony)

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A Spirited Fight - But Just Not Enough !

Hmm .. I suppose if you can contrive to throw away a match like this, then sometimes luck can hit you hard in all the wrong places despite coming up with a most spirited and laudable effort like today. The other night against Bangalore, the bowlers came up with a superlative performance that the batsmen wasted and today, when the batsmen finally stood up to the challenge, the bowlers had done just so badly that it proved a mile too far in the end.

So with the sixth loss, and with Mumbai refusing to do us a favor by eliminating Delhi we are locked in a tight battle with the other two for two semifinal slots - a battle that is likely to go down to the wire.

As a game of cricket, today was fantastic. Rajasthan Royals batsmen played really well - Smith, Asnodkar and Akmal in particular, although you have to admit that our bowling was lacklustre. With the reply we gave them it does seem like it was a very true batting wicket. In the end, that man Sohail Tanvir proved the difference yet again with two very miserly spells, most crucially the last one in which he got the wicket of Dhoni.


But before that Raina, Parthiv and Morkel really took the fight to the Royals. Raina's early assault on Mumaf was particularly breath-taking. Mind you, today was a full stadium and it reverberated with every stroke Raina lashed. In the end, one has to say, that yet again, he threw his wicket when there was no need to. Warnie's spell when he got Parthiv also proved to be critical.

Positives
1) Fight - I feared that the team might collapse under the sheer pressure of the volume of the runs. To their credit this didn't happen and the challenge brought out the best in the batsmen
2) Raina, Parthiv Morkel striking form - superb batting !

Negatives
1) Bowling - Though it was a batting track the bowling never looked to have any incision, or worse, even purpose. I would say the likes of Ntini should take major blame for this
2) Fleming - What a meaningless waste of a wicket !
3) Dhoni - I worry that increasingly bowlers are figuring out how to keep him quiet and he is also getting out in the process

Fortunately, we still have our destiny in our own hands, unlike Delhi. We have to beat bottom-placed Deccan Chargers in our last game and we are through. Maybe after we brought shame upon ourselves against Bangalore, and Lady Luck punished us against Rajasthan for that, hoepfully all things should fall into place for this crucial game. In the last two games we have shown that our bowlers and batsmen can do it - they just need to put it together.


Revenge Battle Results
Tanvir v Parthiv - Draw
Tanvir v Fleming - Draw
Munaf v Raina - REVENGE for Raina
Tanvir v Morkel - Tanvir wins !
Warne v Morkel - Morkel wins again !
Asnodkar v Gony - Asnodkar wins AGAIN
Yusuf v Murali - Draw

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Chennai Superkings vs Rajasthan Royals - Preview

Cross-posted on The DLF IPL

On May 4, in the sands of the Rajasthan desert, a different kind of storm struck. It was in the form of a tiny left-arm fast bowler with a weird action running through the top order of the Chennai Super Kings with a force and guile unmatched. Tomorrow, the battle will resume - the storm will be eager to rebound with a bang - in its path it has destroyed other cities too - and now when it blows down South to Chennai can Dhoni's warriors show the strength to hold their own against it ?

It was around this time that Rajasthan made the leap to the top of the table - and they have managed to hold on to that spot ever since. That was also when Chennai themselves relinquished control over top spot and have been more or less at No. 3 ever since. Rajasthan will be itching to stay on top of course, and continue their momentum. Expect a battle in which fire is fought by fire when these two proud teams take to the field.

Teams
Chennai: Does Parthiv get another chance ? Will Dhoni be fit enough to keep wickets ? Will we get our batting order right ? And more importantly will the batsmen be able to show some sense and cool unlike last time ?

Rajasthan: It seems like everything that Warne touches will turn to gold. If he asks any random player, young or old, Indian or foreign, to do a job for him, the player will do it. What will be interesting is to see how he actually sustains the momentun - and how long can he do it ? After all winning 9 out of your 11 matches should take its toll. It is worth noting that the one match in they failed against Mumbai they did not get a start and lost wickets at regular intervals. We would do well to pick up some hint here. Yusuf Pathan is a major threat. Then of course there is the magician Warne himself - who had completely baffled MSD last time around, and the tiny left-armer Sohail Tanvir.

Revenge Battles
Tanvir v Parthiv
Tanvir v Fleming
Tanvir v Vidyut
Munaf v Raina
Trivedi v Raina
Watson v Badri
Warne v Dhoni
Tanvir v Morkel
Warne v Morkel
Asnodkar v Gony
Asnodkar v VIdyut
Yusuf v Murali
Yusuf v Vidyut
Watson v Vidyut

Note: Tomorrow will be my last day in Chennai. I have had a most memorable stay in Chennai. I shall of course continue to support the Chennai Super Kings after I leave. Today I will be at the stadium for one last time to support my team ! Thanks Chennai ! Go Super Kings !

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Path For Chennai

Cross-posted on The DLF IPL

If we win any one of the next two games, we are THROUGH.

If Mumbai beat Delhi we are THROUGH even if we lose both our games.

Otherwise, (i.e. if we lose both our games, and Delhi beat Mumbai) we can still go THROUGH if Mumbai loses their other two games as well, i.e. to Rajasthan and Bangalore. In short, if Mumbai loses all its games, we are THROUGH even if we don't win any more games. If Mumbai loses to Delhi but wins one of their other two games (either Rajasthan or Bangalore) then we will have to rely on run-rate.

If we lose both our games, and Mumbai loses to Delhi BUT wins the other two games - we are OUT.

The easiest thing for us would be - to just win a game and be happy ! :D:D:D

An Embarassment

Cross Posted on The DLF IPL

There is no other way I can think of to describe today's defeat. It was shocking, stunning, horrible, pathetic, abysmal and inexcusable. Full credit to Bangalore for the way they fought. But that should not take away from the sheer imbecility in our performance. Any team that contrives to lose after restricting the opposition to 127 and then being 85 for 2 in 14 overs surely deserves all the brickbats that it gets.

No batsman can be spared. So here's a lowdown on each.
1) What the hell is Parthiv doing up the order ? Yet again he has thrown away his wicket. Yet again he has proved that even when he comes up with a decent partnership he does not quite look a batsman that any opposition will be afraid of.

2) What the hell was Fleming trying to do ? Complacency oozed out from every shot of his in the later stages of his innings. WHY ?

3) What the hell was Dhoni doing ? All it needed at that stage was for Dhoni to stay till the end and victory would have been assured.

4) What was that shot from Badrinath ? Why would a batsman with his arsenal attempt a ridiculous shot like that on the last ball of Kumble's spell ? Did he get pressurised by the close-in field ? Does he have a mental weakness in that case ? Is that the reason why he has not yet broken into Team India ?

5) Where is Morkel when we need him ? The hook shot is the one shot that is not quite in his toolkit. Why did he have to go for it that too off a quality bowler like Dale Steyn ?

6) At the expense of sounding harsh, why does Vidyut frequently bat like an idiot ?

7) What about Goni ? Forget the way he got out, weren't the hoicks that he played and missed before that ridiculous enough ? And why did he have to get out when 10 runs were scored off that over already ?

8) And finally what about Raina ? He played a couple of glorious cricketing shots and otherwise came up with ugly heaves which he predictably failed to connect. Just earlier in the day Sachin Tendulkar had given a master-class in elegant 2020 striking. Pity this youngster touted as the future of Indian batting didn't quite pick it up.

It was indeed pathetic and pitiable to see him at the end trying to hold on to strike by all means and being unable to connect even a single ball. Praveen Kumar bowled the last over for 1 run !!!

Meanwhile credit to Bangalore. Really heartening to see Dravid smile and get pumped up again. And what a spell by the old warrior Kumble ! The only tragedy is that it came at our expense. Why couldn't they do this to Delhi or Punjab or any other team instead ?

Revenge Battle Results
Patel v Praveen - Draw
Raina v Praveen - Clearly Praveen gets the revenge !
Raina v Akhil - Draw
Dravid v Gony - Draw

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Chennai Super Kings Vs Bangalore Royal Challengers - Match Preview

When both these teams met last time, Chennai Super Kings plucked a victory from the jaws of defeat. Bangalore Royal Challengers would be still ruing over that close match. Both the team's fortunes has not changed much after that. While Chennai Super Kings has been able to hold on to its top four position, Bangalore Royal Challengers are ailing at the bottom of the table. With regard to today's match, Bangalore Royal Challengers has nothing to lose, which makes them a very dangerous side. So we can surely see a spirited opposition from Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Our Team:

Most probably, the same eleven would be playing today. But Dhoni recovering from his finger injury may not keep wickets. So don't be surprised to see Parthiv Patel behind the stumps and Dhoni in the outfield. Most importantly, if Chennai Super Kings lose this match, it would have a monumental task of winning all the rest of the matches to qualify for the semifinals. [To know why, click here]

The good thing is that most of the players(both international and local) are in good form.  But still, the team may experiment with some new players.

Chennai_Super_Kings_IPL_Logo  Vs Bangalore Royal Challengers IPL Logo

Most Dangerous Players:

  1. Steyn: Last time when both the teams met, Steyn was clobbered by Dhoni in his final two overs. He would be looking for revenge, making him a very dangerous bowler.
  2. Misbah-ul-Haq: He finally found form in his last game. If Bangalore Royal Challenges bat second, he could be their key player.

Royal Contests:

  1. Dhoni Vs Steyn: Steyn would be looking for revenge against Dhoni & Co. So this battle could be interesting.
  2. Dhoni Vs Kumble: In IPL, Dhoni has found it tough to handle leg spinners. So it would be key to watch how Kumble bowls to Dhoni.

Favourites: Home crowd advantage makes Chennai Super Kings the  favourite. But expect another tightly fought game.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Gony - A Loving Husband and A Heart-Broken Parent

Manpreet Gony has impressed one and all by his performance at Indian Premier League. For a novice bowler, who hardly had any first class experience, he has lead the CSK bowling attack with aplomb. Not only that, he has also won a match for Chennai Super Kings with his bat. A man, with a big heart and a great attitude, he surely has a great future before him. Times of India in its article - aptly titled - "The ecstasy and Agony of being MS Gony", reveals his personal side that you will never hear from him again.

A Few Excerpts from the Interview:

"As he stood alone in a Delhi hospital, clutching the lifeless body of his baby, the light seemed to have gone out of his life."

"When a father holds the dead body of his son, the other things in life become insignificant. I was selected to represent PCA in the Buchi Babu meet within seven days of this tragedy. I went as it was my maiden call-up, leaving my wife behind"

"I was frustrated as I was taking wickets in club cricket consistently but was not being considered for selection. I was thinking about leaving but my wife insisted that I should just carry on. Those were hard days"

"I still don't have a job. I used to earn peanuts playing club cricket. My wife sustained the family"

"I snapped all ties with my parents as they were never nice to my wife"

"I want my wife to take the Civil Services entrance test"

News Source: CSK Fan Club

P.S: On reading the personal experiences of players like this, I thanked Modi & Co. for coming up with this concept.

And Thank you, Manpreet Gaur for standing-by Gony during those dark days... Was reminded of the old quote "Behind every successful man, there is a woman". How true!

Official Chennai Super Kings Music Album

Some of you would have already bought the official Chennai Super Kings album marketed by Big Music. If not, you could download them here.

Songs:

The Chennai Super Kings Theme Song is a peppy RAP number with a modern outlook, & captivating lyrics in English and Tamil. [Can download it here]

The rhythmic Adi Adi Nethi Adi written by Vairamuthu urges the Chennai Super Kings warriors to set the field ablaze and to go for Glory. [Can download it here]

The third track Vetri Kodi Katta Vada is a call to Chennai Super Kings Warriors to Go and bang the Opponents! [Can download it here]

Puyalaaga Vaa is a portrayal of Victory of the Chennai Super Kings and is surely a Melodious Passion [Can download it here]

There also is a Hindi version of the Chennai Super Kings theme song.  [Can download it here]

News Source: Indiaglitz

Monday, 19 May 2008

Future International Players

The long term success of a professional club is hugely dependent on the way the club acquires and nurtures young talent. But in our team, most of the international stars are in their thirties and could not be expected to play for more than 5 years. So it is time, our team starts acquiring young players especially bowlers to strengthen the bench and lay a foundation for a strong future team.

One of the players that I wanted to see on the yellow clothes was Ajantha Mendis, the young Sri Lankan mystery leg spinner. He could have easily become the future replacement for Muralitharan in Chennai Super Kings team.  But Cricinfo reports that he has been poached by Kolkata Knight Riders. Similarly, one of the franchises is close to sign a record deal with Pietersen for the next three years. Hope there is some one in Chennai Super Kings who scouts for young talent (both Indian and foreign) and bring them into the team in a earlier stage so they develop a sense of association with the franchise.

Who are the players (not yet signed by any franchise) you would like to see on our squad?

Sunday, 18 May 2008

A Crucial Win

Cross-posted on The DLF IPL

Rain and Duckworth and Lewis combined together to make our task much easier today, but it would be fair to say we fully deserved this win the way we played. We must note that we have never lost a game bowling first and that should say something. Of course Kolkata was a weak batting team as I mentioned in my preview but we had to bowl well nevetherless. What was even more impressive was the way our openers batted before the rain. It is conceivable that they knew about the impending weather - and played the perfect game i.e. to keep wickets in hand and not go for too much, because the Duckworth Lewis system can create havoc with the target with every wicket you lose. In the end the 3 run defeat margin did not really reflect the true nature of the contest.

It was an inspired choice to play Ntini - one which I myself wasn't convinced about, but a lot of our readers were and well done to them ! It was even more astonishing to see that no one noticed his hat-trick including himself for a long time ! And this hat-trick constituted three top order players, each breakthrough turning out to be crucial in the context of the game. Well as Ntini bowled, I do think there is more improvement that can be shown on the bowling front by other bowlers - I thought we should have restricted Kolkata to abut 130 today.

With this win, we shall be breathing much easier and would be "quite safe" with regards to making it to the semifinals.

Problem Areas

1) Bowling - With the exception of Ntini, the rest of the bowling still looked toothless, even surprisingly, Gony. Murali is a major worry now, earlier though he was not picking wickets he was economical. Today he was really taken to task.

2) Fielding - The fielding was less than impressive with Vidyut in particular not looking too flash.

Kudos

1) Ntini - For his splendid performance, but even more so, for the decision to play him
2) Fleming - Finally he is looking like the Fleming we know, the one who can strike the ball crisply and score big at a brisk rate.

Now hopefully an easy win at home against minnows Bangalore, shoud virtually seal the deal for us.

Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders - Preview

Cross-posted on The DLF IPL.

This is going to be a big game for both teams. While the winner won't necessarily be a certainty (esp. if it is Kolkata) for the semifinals, and the loser won't necessarily be out of contention (esp, if it is Chennai), the fact is that the balance will shift by a big margin depending on the outcome.

The biggest thing that Kolkata have going for them is the Eden Gardens factor. I think along with Shoaib it was the single most important reason for their win the other night against Delhi. The weakest link for them is their pathetic batting lineup and Chennai need to exploit this like Mumbai did yesterday.

Teams
For Kolkata Ganguly is the only hope as far as batting is concerned, maybe the odd innings by Hussey. I think it will be prudent to include a technically sound player like Taibu and bench the completely unimpressive Hafeez. The bowling however looks very good - maybe Agarkar will miss out again, and the spinner will get a chance given the nature of the Kolkata wicket.

So what can Chennai do ? Fleming's form continues to remain a worry. Should he be persisted with now that there are only 4 more games in the league to go ? Should he be allowed to come in at 3 or 4 ? Should Kapugedara be pushed up to open ? Will Raina finally play a defining knock ? Will Badri and Dhoni be able to continue their good run. The so-called strong batting is the main worry, though the bowling, as widely known, is thin. Is it worth it to bring back Ntini and sacrifise a batsman like Kapugedara ? All very interesting questions.

Revenge Battles
Ganguly v Joginder - Joginder dismissed Ganguly last time for a low score
Saha v Gony - Gony was hit but got Saha in the end
Saha v Amarnath - (if Amarnath plays), Saha got stuck into him last time
Hussey v Amarnath - Amarnath got him first ball last time
Hafeez v Amarnath - Another player that Amarnath got the better of
Shukla v Joginder
Agarkar v Patel
Shukla, Kartik v Dhoni

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Suggestions for Dhoni & Wessels

Since Chennai Super Kings has to win 3 of its next four matches, some suggestions for the team

  1. Bring on Ntini: Our team is one of the poorest bowling sides in the tournament in the tournament[If you want statistics, check here]. In this situation, it does not make sense for preferring Kapugedera(essentially a batsman) to Ntini (a strike bowler). Ntini may not have taken a single wicket in his first three IPL matches. But he is the senior most fast bowler in the team and deserves a place in the playing eleven. Also he and Gony could form a potent pace pair.
  2. 5th & 6th Over: It is a common strategy among our opposition teams to keep the wickets intact in the first 3 or 4 overs and then take on the bowlers in the fifth and sixth over. But Dhoni seems to use the same fast bowlers(Gony & Morkel) in these overs, who are plundered by the batsmen. Rather I would prefer a bowling change for those overs to keep the opposite team guessing. [Especially bringing on Murali could create doubt and confusion in the mind of the batsman]

What are your suggestions for the team?

Friday, 16 May 2008

Why we need 3 wins...

Both Murali and Fleming echoed in their TV interviews that 2 wins will carry Chennai Super Kings team to the semifinals. This belief is held by both the team and its fans. But is it true?

Take a look at the IPL points table and the probable results for the rest of the IPL matches. And Decide for yourself

IPL Points Table 

Teams

Matches

Points

Rajasthan Royals 9 14
Kings XI Punjab 9 12
Chennai Super Kings 10 12
Mumbai Indians 9 10
Delhi Daredevils 10 10
Kolkata Knight Riders 10 10
Deccan Chargers 10 4
Bangalore Royal Chargers 9 4

 

Probable Results in Upcoming Fixtures

Home Team  Away Probable Result
Rajasthan Royals  Bangalore Royal Challengers Rajasthan Royals 
Delhi Daredevils  Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab
Kolkata Knight Riders Chennai Super Kings  
Deccan Chargers Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians
Bangalore Royal Challengers Delhi Daredevils Delhi Daredevils
Kolkata Knight Riders Rajasthan Royals Kolkata Knight Riders
Mumbai Indians Kings XI Punjab Mumbai Indians
Chennai Super Kings Bangalore Royal Challengers  
Delhi Daredevils  Kolkata Knight Riders Delhi Daredevils 
Kings XI Punjab Deccan Chargers Kings XI Punjab
Chennai Super Kings Rajasthan Royals  
Delhi Daredevils  Mumbai Indians Delhi Daredevils 
Deccan Chargers Bangalore Royal Challengers Deccan Chargers
Kolkata Knight Riders Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders
Rajasthan Royals  Mumbai Indians Rajasthan Royals 
Deccan Chargers Chennai Super Kings Deccan Chargers
Bangalore Royal Challengers Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians
Kings XI Punjab Rajasthan Royals Kings XI Punjab

 

It clearly shows that three or four teams would reach the required 16 points and would fight for the final two semifinal spots. This means the net run rate would be the one that decide those spots. And Chennai Super Kings with one of the poorest run rates (as of now) may miss out that spot. So to be sure, it is essential that the team musters 3 wins in the rest of their IPL campaign. If not, they have to depend on Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers to produce a few upsets against the other teams.

Our Team on the Ramp - Video

I have already reported about our team team walking the ramp  in News Snippets. Dhoni & Co. walked the ramp when the team sponsor - Peter England hosted a dinner for them. Peter England has now released the official video of the event.

Watch and Enjoy.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Fourth Loss...

As Gaurav has already pointed out, we lost to the better player. But all our losses have this characteristic 'individual brilliance' phenomenon.  (Tanvir - Rajasthan Royals, Sehwag - Delhi Dare Devils, Gilchrist - Deccan Chargers and Jayasuria - Mumbai Indians).  Hope our bowlers find a way to contain these flashes of individual brilliance. With this loss, Dhoni & Co. are under a lot of pressure since they now need to win at least 3 matches (if they do not want to depend on the performance of other teams to secure their semifinal berth).

 

Positives:

  1. Badrinath & Dhoni: Badrinath and Dhoni continued their good form from the last match and stitched up a good partnership in the lower middle order that laid the base for the competitive score.  This should give confidence to the top order batsmen and let them play much more freely.

Negatives:

  1. Ntini Out: Ntini may not have taken a single wicket in his earlier IPL outings. He may have leaked runs. But he is the senior most fast bowler in the team and deserves a place in the squad. Also Ntini gives a few more bowling options for Chennai Super Kings. For example in today's match, Dhoni did not have any other options other than Morkel and Gony during power play, since other slow bowlers could have been easily taken for a ride by the batsmen.
  2. Murali & Dhoni: Murali may have been assigned the role of containing runs. But he is our major strike bowler and could change a game on his day. But Dhoni tends to bring Murali pretty late in low scoring games. Dhoni could have at least taken a gamble today by bringing on Murali inside the power play.
  3. Fleming & Kapugedera: While Fleming never found his touch in today's match, Kapugedera did not make use of the opportunity given to him. I hope Chennai Super Kings brings in Ntini for Kapugedera since Kapugedera's presence has not made any difference to the team's performance so far.

Now we have to wait and see how Chennai Super Kings perform before the packed Eden Gardens stadium.

Most Valuable CSK Player in the Match: Badrinath

We Lost To The Better Player


I choose to quote Steve Waugh today for there is nothing else that can describe today's performance. Yes, we struggled with the bat and the ball early but once in a while Jayasuriya can produce an innings of such bloody magnificence that even a total of 300 would appear tiny.

I'll leave it to Robin to do the detailed analysis and come up with the important areas that we need to work on as we move into the final stage. Hope that's okay, Robin ?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Impact of Today's Match

With the drubbing we received today at Mumbai, Chennai Super Kings' Net Run rate has taken a plunge. This means even a two wins out of the four matches may not be enough for the team to secure its semifinal spot. So a little bit pressure on Dhoni and let us see how the team responds to this pressure.

 

How do you rate Chennai Super Kings' chances of reaching the semifinals?

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Mumbai Indians Vs Chennai Super Kings - Match Preview

A resurgent Mumbai Indians team, strengthened further by the return of its batting Maestro Sachin Tendulkar, would be taking on Chennai Super Kings. While Chennai Super Kings are sitting pretty in the points table with 6 wins, Mumbai Indians have to win at least 5 of the 7 matches to reach the semifinals. So we can expect a highly contested match between the determined Mumbai Indians Vs Cool Chennai Super Kings.

Our Team:
While the win against Delhi Daredevils was set up by our batsmen, the last match was won by our bowlers. In addition to Balaji's bowling, it was heartening to see the way both Morkel & Murali bowled. While Murali did the task he was asked to do (control runs), 19th over bowled by Morkel (especially his yorkers) set up the win. [As the tournament progresses, expect Morkel's bowling to become crucial to the team rather than his batting] It was also heartening to see Badrinath making use of the opportunity provided to him.

Opponents:
Mumbai Indians team possess a host of explosive hitters who could change the match on their day. But all their wins so far has been set up by their bowlers. So Chennai batsmen better watch out for them.

Most Dangerous Players:
  1. Sachin Tendulkar: Any Doubts???. The master blaster returning from the injury would be determined to make sure that his team starts the second round of IPL with a win.
  2. Home Crowd: Even during the continuous losses of Mumbai Indians, the home crowd was firmly behind their team. So we can expect them to create that 'extra' support for Mumbai Indians and that 'extra' pressure on Chennai Super Kings.
Royal Contests:
  1. Tendulkar Vs Gony: One Player has loads of experience and is admired all over the world and the other player is one of the finds of the tournament. I am sure this contest would decide the match.
  2. Captain Tendulkar Vs Captain Dhoni: It was on Tendulkar's suggestion that Dhoni was made the captain of T20 side. It would be a keen contest to watch which captain has the final laugh.
Favorites: Chennai Super Kings

Monday, 12 May 2008

Welcome First Time Visitors

Welcome to Chennai Super Kings fans and supporters who may have found this blog through Web Search or other links.

Firstly, My name is Robin Samuel and my love relationship with Chennai Super Kings started from day one. I blog both here at Fan Site of Chennai Super Kings and also at India Centricity.

Fan Site of Chennai Super Kings is a blog that is devoted to its support for Chennai Super Kings in the blogging world and also promises to be the one-stop for all news, match previews, analysis regarding Chennai Super Kings. Incidentally Fan Site of Chennai Super Kings is the first fan blog that sprang up to support Chennai Super Kings, the Chennai franchise of Indian Premier League.

You may want to check out the Chennai Super Kings' Fixtures and Squad for this year's Indian Premier League.

If you like what you read here, you can follow the future entries (I mostly write one post per day) in two ways - either use our RSS News feed to subscribe in your RSS reader or you can get daily updates by adding your email address below:

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Thanks for stopping by - I hope you enjoy your stay at Fan Site of Chennai Super Kings. If you do have any questions feel free to drop me a note in a comment below.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

A Game Full Of Breathtaking Highs !

Cross-posted on The DLF Indian Premier League.

Woohooo !! What a game that was last night ! One of the best in the IPL so far, if not as close as some of the others ! I was there once again right in the thick of the action ! The last couple of games had been a bit low-key what with them being scheduled on weekdays and Chennai losing out. But on Saturday night, the Chidambaram Stadium was once again packed to the rafters - for the first time since .. ummm .. the Kolkata game yeah ! And Dhoni and his boys did not disappoint.

It is hard for me to pinpoint what was the highlight of the the night ! Was it the sight of the world's best bowler, Muralitharan and the best batsman Sangakkara, donning opposite colors, meeting at the center of the ground before the game ? Was it Preity Zinta arriving at the stadium from the gate right next to the stand where I was sitting and then moving along the boundary ? Was it Badrinath smashing the ball and in particular being the first batsman in the IPL (need to check this) to maximize the free hit ? Or was it Dhoni's two big hits each of which landed a few feet either side of me ? Or those by Marsh that cleared the ground with so much ease ? Finally, was it that fantastic spell by the folk-hero Laxmipathy Balaji ?


The King's X1 were easily one of the more sporting teams to have arrived in Chennai - particularly the Sri Lankans in the squad. That meeting between Sangakarra and Murali was quite clearly a photo moment (as was Preity's entry later, Preity actually looks prettier in person than on camera, a rare phenomenon) - of course I could capture neither due to my lack of possession of a decent camera-phone. Later, during the game I could see Jayawardene helping out Chawla, patting him on the back and giving him tips when he was being hammered.

Badrinath's batting was superb. For long I wanted to see this guy in action having heard raving reviews about him from Tamil Nadu cricket followers. Dhoni really took to Chawla but preferred to play out his other team-mates, Irfan and Sreesanth, both of whom bowled really well I thought. At one point when Sreesanth bowled Dhoni a bouncer, Yuvraj came up and had some words - I don't know what he said, but clearly Yuvi was in quite a foul mood today and that was not elevated when he flopped royally when batting.

180 was a fair score, though by no means a massive one. But we got behind the home team from ball one when they were in the field and made such a noise that the pressure was huge on the visitors. The fielding at the start was quite brilliant, especially with Murali hitting the stumps with great regularity. And on a couple of occasions when some of the fielders were sloppy, Dhoni really let go at them and asked them to focus. Well, Shaun Marsh did hit some towering sixes right out off the ground, but once Balaji got himself into the act there was only really going to be one winner.

Balaji may have only briefly shone on the cricket field, but already he is a mini-legend. Not entirely for his cricketing skills, which incidentally, are substantial, but also for his massive, easy almost casual smile and his long locks of hair. Just ask the Pakistani girls who saw him in 2004. The Balaji of today is much slower in pace, than in his heyday and with a remodeled action, yet the skill is still there. Last night he got surprising bounce that none of the other bowlers on show could manage and first destroyed the threatening partnership of Sarwan and Marsh. And finally when his good friend Irfan was looking like spoiling the party for Chennai he came up with that unbelievable sensational hat-trick which will not merely go down in history books, but also in the folklore of Chennai cricket for generations to come.

Once again, a close game with a local hero coming up trumps in the final act with the whole stadium cheering form. The best formula for an IPL game, in my opinion. With Badrinath and Balaji being the main protagonists in this act, the Super Kings look serious title contenders once more and this time based on local talent than imported.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Chennai Super Kings Vs Punjab XI Kings - Match Preview

Two Kings in Indian Premier League are going to meet for the second time tomorrow. While Punjab Kings are on a great winning roll, Chennai Super Kings rediscovered their winning streak in the last match.

I am sure Punjab Kings' bowlers will remember the thrashing they got from Hussey & Co. So they will be aching to settle the scores this time around. Even Chennai Super Kings' bowlers would be looking forward to provide a good performance for their side, after their poor outing against Delhi Daredevils.

Our Team:
Tomorrow is going to be the final of the five back-to-back matches of Chennai Super Kings. So you can expect our team to be little tired and jaded on the field after having crisscrossed the country for the matches. Batsmen would be on a high after their good performance. You can expect them to continue their good form. Dhoni would also be under pressure to prove that the victory against Delhi Daredevils was not a one-time fluke.

Opposition:
With their five continuous wins, we can expect the current table toppers Punjab XI Kings coming here with a lot of confidence. Sreesanth has been bowling with a lot of vigour after the slap gate controversy. So he would be looking forward to this match. If the pitch provides any assistance to the bowlers, Punjab XI Kings bowlers would be able to explore it better than Chennai Super Kings' bowlers.

Most Dangerous Players:
1. Shaun Marsh: Son of the great Australian cricketer has been in great form, right from the day he has set foot on India. So his and Sangakkara's wicket would be the most prized ones.
2. Irfan Pathan: One of the leading wicket takers of the tournament. He has the abilities to pick wickets and to contain batsmen. How Fleming and Vidyut handles him & Sreesanth would decide the match.

Royal Contests:
1. Chawla Vs Dhoni: Dhoni's secret weapon would be bowling against him. I am pretty much sure this would be a enthralling contest especially since Warne won the contest between batsman Dhoni and bowler Warne.
2. Sri Lanka Vs Sri Lanka: You can also expect the contest between Murali and his Srilankan Counterparts in Punjab XI Kings to be interesting.

Favourites: It is tough to pick the favourite. But the home ground advantage surely favors the Chennai Super Kings.

What a Win!

Another thrilling win for Chennai Super Kings. That too at the home of the strongest team in the competition (according to SONY commentators). Great going Chennai Super Kings. But rather than the win, seeing Chennai Super Kings getting their act together brought the most cheer to my heart. My only hope is that they continue this winning momentum.

Positives:
  1. Strong Message: Removing Parthiv Patel, Joginder Sharma & Ntini was a master stroke since a strong message was sent to the team that continuous failures won't be tolerated. I am pretty much sure that when Parthiv Patel or Joginder or Ntini gets a chance to return back to the squad, their performances would be lot better.
  2. Bowling: Though DD's final score may not reflect that, our bowlers were bowling to a plan (Cramping the batsman by bowling at their legs - Negative Line). Though they sprayed and gave away wides, this tactic did not allow their batsmen to score sixes.
  3. Confidence: Last Ball win may provide that extra confidence and the very much needed momentum, which is crucial for this round of IPL
  4. Dhoni: Though a huge number of people may be surprised on seeing Dhoni receiving the Man of the Match award, I thought his innings was crucial since it held the whole innings together.
  5. Balaji: It was great to see Balaji back on the field. Though he has changed his action and has lost a few notches in his pace, he showed a few tricks on his sleeve. I am sure he could become a effective death overs bowler for Chennai Super Kings.
  6. Opening Partnership: Finally a opening partnership that fired. It was nice to see Fleming back in form. Hope to see much more vital scores from him.
  7. Morkel & Gony: Sixes
Negatives:
  1. Umpires: I don't understand the umpires' partiality against our team. Against us, they are always in a hurry to give fours as sixes, leg byes as wides, etc... At the same time, our batsman are given LBWs when they are clearly 'Not Outs'. It is time IPL creates a mechanism where complaints against umpires could be registered after the end of the game.
  2. Fielding: As Dhoni has already pointed it out, our fielding let us down today. I still feel we are missing that crucial 'intensity' in the field.
  3. Fifth Bowler: Not only in Delhi Daredevils, our fifth bowler is our weakest link. The fifth bowler(Amarnath/Kapugedera) leaked 50 runs in their quota of four overs. Hope they get their act together.
Great Going Guys!

"Adversity doesn't build character...it reveals it."

P.S: Except for the readers of this blog - Fansite of Chennai Super Kings, everybody else was caught by the surprise inclusion of Chamara Kapugedera in the Chennai Super Kings Team.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Delhi Daredevils Vs Chennai Super Kings - Match Preview

“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.”

- Horace

Tomorrow is a crunch game for Chennai Super Kings. After starting the tournament strong, now they are billed by many as the weakest IPL team. And any more defeats would be shown as further proof to those statements. Even the team's fans have started doubting their team's abilities. And Dhoni faces his toughest challenge as a captain. He has never faced such a long losing streak. While Dhoni may be facing his toughest challenge as a captain of Chennai Super Kings, other players are criticized for their poor performance. Right from the coach - Kepler Wessels to the foreign players - Fleming, Ntini have not been great so far.

Times may be tough for Chennai Super Kings, but that's when you show the world what you're made of. There is a great saying, "Adversity doesn't build character...it reveals it." It it time for Chennai Super Kings team to show what they are made up of. For the first time in the series, they enter tomorrow's match as underdogs and expected by one and all to lose the match.

Delhidaredevils IPL Logo Picture  Vs Chennai_Super_Kings_IPL_Logo

Our Team

Expect at least one or two changes in the squad.. Changes I would like to see - Parthiv Patel out of playing eleven or batting lower down the order, Anirudha & Fleming opening + Palani Amarnath brought in the squad for Joginder Sharma.

Opponents

The strongest team on the Indian Premier League would be looking to claw back to its winning ways and clinch the top spot after its surprise defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians. Expect their players to come back firing. Especially since they had a 3 day rest before this crucial match.

Most Dangerous Players:

  1. YoMahesh & Sangwan: The outcome of the match will depend on how Chennai Super Kings batsmen handle these two bowlers.
  2. AB de Villiers: He has not been able to reproduce his Pro20 form so far. So we can expect him to come good for Delhi Daredevils sooner rather than later.

Royal Contests:

  1. AB de Villiers Vs Albie Morkel: Both these players have played for the same team(Titans) for so many times. So it would be great to see how they fare against each other.
  2. YoMahesh Vs Badrinath, Anirudha & Vidyut: All these players have fought many a battle for their domestic team(Tamil Nadu). So it would be enthralling to watch YoMahesh bowl against them.

Favourites: Delhi Daredevils

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Gentleman Show

Cross-posted on The DLF Indian Premier League

I expected it to be a much easier ride into the stadium today. Being a weekday, an opponent ranked at the bottom of the table and given the home team’s disappointing recent run, the rush was bound to be much lesser. I found enough time and space to buy a Chennai Super Kings flag from an old lady outside the station. When I asked for the price she blurted out some number in Tamil leaving me quite clueless. When I managed to convey this emotion to her, she had the good sense to find another customer, a young Tamil guy, to do the necessary translation. The flag cost sixty rupees, arguably a bit exorbitant, but I was not going to haggle with a poor, old lady who did not speak my language. I handed her a hundred and waited for what seemed to be an eternity as the poor soul managed a great balancing act, literally, holding several flags in one hand, and trying to carry out monetary transactions with her customers with the other the money of course stashed away in a compartment of her saree. I had a good mind to leave her with the hundred but, God bless her soul, she managed to return my change just before my patience was run out. As soon as I entered the stadium an earnest looking policeman promptly snatched the flag from my hands, and before I could comprehend what was going on, freed it off the stick that was holding it. For good measure, he disposed off the stick. Great! Once inside, I got a rude surprise in the form of a major price hike in the coffee prices – inflation is well and truly here, right in our midst In a period of four days the prices had skyrocketed by 50-67%!!

Arun Lal was in the center doing the pitch report. The pitch, (and the report) I guess must have been as flat as a dodo, so to say, because clearly someone found the need to spice it up. The cheerleaders from both teams were right behind Lal practicing their moves (this really means that their leader is performing the moves and they are merely aping her). The new idea was that Lal should make a Bollywood-style entry from amidst the two teams of cheerleaders. This he duly did and appeared as comfortable as a test player in a T20 game, to avoid some old clich├ęs about fish and water.

My heart wrenched a bit when I saw Adam Gilchrist walk out for the toss because it meant that I would not be able to witness my favorite player, sorry artist, the great VVS Laxman play his masterstrokes. But Gilchrist, I must note, played the model captain. He walked out with MS for the toss (unlike our pampered and almost uncouth Indian players like Ganguly and Sehwag) and was all grace and dignity personified. It was to be Gilly’s game by all accounts. From the moment the Deccan Chargers took the field, Gilly was in control like a conductor at a well-perfected orchestra.

The game was not close by a big margin but that did not mean that I did not get my rupees worth. When Badrinath tentatively poked at a delivery from Afridi that jumped up on him, Herschelle Gibbs, stationed exactly 180 degrees opposite to my vantage point, initially a bit confused by the course of the ball, just like the batsman, took a couple of steps to his left and then launched himself into orbit to pocket one of the most magnificently stunning catches ever, the best I personally have ever seen on the field. And then, later, only a trifle less spectacularly, Albie Morkel hit one from Pragyan Ojha right on the roof of the stadium again putting me in one of the best positions to witness. Incidentally, and somewhat ironically, these action moments in this speed-of-light version of cricket are the ones that allowed me plenty of time to soak it in. The Gibbs’ catch, for instance, was not, blink and you miss it stuff. The ball looped in the air, Gibbs had enough time to judge it, walk a couple of steps to his left and then put in the dive, the whole sequence lasting for almost a couple of seconds, an eternity in cricketing terms. Well, they say the World is full of contradictions. Also goes to show that even a T20 game need not rely on the close finish to be exciting.

Incidentally, do some of you guys follow the Cricinfo Wagon-wheel thing when you are annoyingly stuck in the office during a big game or when Neo Sports is the only option to watch a test series and your cable operator decides to indulge in non-cooperation? Well, I saw these guys who make your life just that touch more bearable, up close today. These guys who operate the Cricinfo software, and I must say do an amazing job, considering the speed at which the game progresses and the impatience among their consumers, which I am only too well-aware of, sit alongside the official scorers, who incidentally I noticed frantically wave yellow flags upon acknowledgement of any proclamation by umpires. So now I realize why the other day Billy suddenly turned, looked at me, and nearly made me jump off my seat as he thrust his hips as though in a fit out of the blue, and jerked his arms in the air. He was actually seeking the attention of these good folks to let them know that the ball was a wide. Sigh.

It can be justifiably argued that television coverage gives a better sight of the game of cricket than the one from the stands but the aspect that TV cannot give you is the sound. The sound that the bat makes when it strikes the ball can be truly appreciated only from up close. And it is this sound that distinguishes the skills of a great player from a merely good one. This distinction is particularly pronounced when the great and the good co-exist at the crease. The other night, the two roles were played by Sehwag and Gambhir, and today it was Gilchrist and Styris. It was of course, Gilchrist’s game, he was the supreme dictator. The key is that for Gilchrist even the slight mishits seem to be attractive while from a player like Styris even the shots of the meat off the bat are only okay. Usually, if you were forced to associate one word with the batting of a certain supremely skilled player, with Brian Lara, you would associate “flow” with Gilchrist it is “crisp”. Crisp was his strokeplay last night as he reduced to dust any hopes of an upset Chennai win.

Finally, another word for Rohit Sharma. I guess I have put in so many words for him over the past few weeks that he should grant me rights for his biography twenty years hence. But the lad’s strokeplay sounds definitely closer to the Gilchrists of this World, than the Styrises. And with the kind of cool head he has shown, which, incidentally is now adorned by the orange cap (which is worn by the highest run scorer) he is certain to be destined for a great future.

Isn’t it possible to get jaded visiting the stadium to watch a T20 game four times in two weeks? Well, the best part of this tournament is that on every occasion you have the added attraction of watching a different set of players perform. While I am supporting the home team, now, in the span of a fortnight I have had a chance to witness in addition to Dhoni, Hayden, Hussey, Murali, Fleming, Oram and Ntini, Jayasuriya, Pollock, Bravo, Harbhajan, Ganguly, Ponting, McCullum, Ishant, Sehwag, McGrath, Asif, Gambhir, Gibbs, Afridi, Rohit Sharma and now above all the great gentleman cricketer Adam Gilchrit. That can’t possibly be such a bad show.

3 Defeats in a Row...

Today's game was our third defeat in a row. Bottom four teams would be looking to seize this opportunity provided by Chennai Super Kings. And Cricket Commentators have started writing our team off.

What do you think the team should do to reverse this losing streak???

Hmm... Another Defeat!

Chennai Super Kings Vs Deccan Chargers - Match Review

Another defeat... Third in a row... It is now time to hit the "PANIC" button. The team surely needs some drastic changes if it has to start winning again. It can't carry any extra baggage(like Parthiv Patel) for any more time. Our opponents have started exposing these weakness in the team. Also they have been able to execute their well laid plans while our team has found itself, lacking in preparation for the matches.

 

 Positives:

  1. Albie Morkel: Though his bowling is not as impressive as his batting, he has laid his claim for promoting himself up the batting order.
  2. Murali: He is showing that he can bamboozle batsmen in any format. He should be begging his team mates to provide a competitive total to defend or to bowl first.
  3. Gony: Gony's last over sixes should really bode well for the team. Even his bowling was pretty impressive today.

 

Negatives:

  1. Weak Top 3: For any team to succeed in the T20 format, at least one of its top three batsman should last for 10 overs. But sadly in our team, the top 3 are the weakest batsmen of the team. Hope common sense prevails and the better batsman like Raina(3), Morkel(4), Dhoni(5) & Badrinath(6) are promoted up the order.
  2. Initial 3 overs: In all these 3 matches, we have lost the match in the initial 3 overs of the game. Lack of Blazing start in the first 3 overs creates that extra pressure on future batsmen to score. So please send a pinch hitter as an opener. [How about Dhoni opening with Fleming???]
  3. Parthiv Patel: 7 seven matches are more than enough to judge a person's ability in a batting order. It is time Parthiv Patel is thrown out of the playing eleven. If he is the best batsman available of the lot, at least ask him to bat lower down the order. Let the opening position be given to some other explosive player.
  4. Dhoni: Except for Dhoni's assault on Steyn in the match against Bangalore Royal Challengers, Dhoni has been pretty ordinary with respect to his strike rate. [His strike rate has been generally less than the team's strike bate] Even the twenty three runs he scored today were less than run-a-ball. The pressure created by his slow strike rate is one of the major reasons for the middle order wickets falling in heaps.
  5. Fleming & Ntini: Both these players have not provided a ideal IPL start to the team. While Fleming has not been able to stamp his class, Ntini has not been able to take even a single wicket. [Hope they make a turn around or at least bring in Chamara Kapugedera quickly]
  6. Joginder Sharma: He calls him an all rounder. But both his bowling and batting has been pretty ordinary. Time to bring Palani Amarnath or Balaji in the place of Joginder?
  7. Badrinath: In the last two matches, Badrinath got opportunities to show his class and put up his name for the Indian team selection . But sadly, he failed both the times.
  8. Raina: He has been the best batsman of the lot. Hopefully he changes his habit of throwing his wicket away.
  9. Kepler Wessels: I don't know what he is doing. He has not been able to come out with strategies to win matches or any surprises to put the opposite team out of balance. It is time he gets innovative.
  10. 'Bat First': Three matches have shown that Dhoni's 'Bat First' philosophy has not been working for the team. [Only 10 out of 26 IPL matches has been won by teams batting first]. It is time we give 'Bowl First' option a try.

"When the going gets tough, the tough gets going"

Chennai Super Kings next face Delhi Daredevils at Delhi. If they did not make some drastic changes, expect another thrashing and a humiliating defeat at the hands of Delhi Daredevils.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Chennai Super Kings Vs Deccan Chargers - Match Preview

Two teams that are equally determined to win a game will meet today at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium. While one team lurks at the bottom of the table, the other side has slipped from its top position. Since both the teams rely more on their batting firepower rather than their bowling, we can expect a cracker of a contest today.

 

Chennai SuperKings IPL Logo  Vs Hyderabad_-_Deccan_Chargers IPL Logo

Most Dangerous Players:

  1. Gilchrist: As Gilchrist showed in the match against Mumbai Indians, he can annihilate any attack on his day.
  2. Afridi: Though he could be as dangerous as Gilchrist on his day(which are rare), it is his bowling that worries me the most.

Royal Contests:

  • Gilchrist Vs Ntini: In the last two matches, Ntini was bowling with a lot of heart. So expect the face-off between these quality players, who would like to change their respective team's losing streak.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Chamara Kapugedera may join Chennai Super Kings

Though there is no official confirmation, rumours have started that Chamara Kapugedera, the talented opening batsman from Sri Lanka may join Chennai Super Kings. Swarnavahini, a leading news and entertainment channel in Sri Lanka reported this news. 

About Chamara Kapugedera

Chamara Kapugedera, a naturally aggressive right-hander, got his first taste of international cricket when he made his One Day International debut against Australia in Perth in 2006, A stylish and classical player, he is also known for his big hits. Though Chamara Kapugedera may not find a place in the playing eleven, it will be a great experience and a good income for the young batsman.

Team

Bringing him into the squad is a good thing since it makes the current four to justify their presence ahead of him. A good move especially if the future is taken into account. Hope they follow this by bringing in the talented Ajantha Mendis also into the squad.

News Source: Dilmah Cricket Forum

P.S: Thanks Nadun, for informing me about this.