With Peaks in the Background, Teams Ready to Fall or Peak


English: Dwayne Bravo at KFC Twenty20 BigBash ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dharamshala, the Tibetan exile world in India, a place super serene and beautiful is ready to host what is so unlike it. Fastest version of a cricket game arrives to a place that is greatly associated with calm & tranquil.

With Himalayan peaks in the background, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings clash for a place in play-offs. For sure this match promises to be a spectacle and there are two very strong reasons for that. One, both the teams find themselves in a much win situation and would put everything into it, and two, even if cricket doesn’t live up to one’s expectations, surroundings certainly would do.

Chennai seem to be getting stronger every game and they start favorites. Bravo’s last ball six against KKR must have given them tons of confidence and belief. They are a champion team and looks like they are getting into the groove at the right time. Dhoni is eyeing another title win and they are storming towards it.

Punjab on the other hand is facing challenges with consistency. They have won some good tight games against top sides, they lost some easy ones, and they won some away matches and lost some at home. Overall they have shown promise but intermittently and that is what they must sort out going into this game. Potentially, they hold the chance to get four more points from this stage on (unlike most teams) as they still have two more games to go before the play-off.

David Hussey and Azhar Mahmood would want to bring all their T20 experience into this game and so would Dhoni and his men. Keep watching folks, it’s getting beautiful AND exciting !!!

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Two Big Fishes Clash In Their First IPL Game This Season


Harbhajan Singh at Adelaide Oval

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Two big fishes, with match winners on both sides, tremendous talent and a lot of promise. This spectacle kept us waiting though…well, such is this year’s IPL calendar that Mumbai and Kolkata face each other for the first time in the tournament. Just for the records, 80% of the tournament shall be gone by when two captains spin the coin for toss today.

Its difficult to pick between these two sides, but on current form, Kolkata looks better. Gambhir has lead by example and that lifted the side. This time they have made a statement – No HYPE, ALL PLAY.

Mumbai on the other hand is playing well in patches but they require consistency. Harbhajan has to take aggressive decisions, players need to back themselves and believe that they belong. It can be another exciting thriller, and here on folks, it is all…Sudden Death!!!

Pune to play Bangalore without “Dada”


Ganguly Short

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Pune play today’s and reminder of their games this IPL without Dada. There is also the news that this may well be Ganguly’s last IPL. Pune have nothing to lose but they can definitely spoil someone’s party. Steven Smith would be leading the side in Dada’s absence and that gives some of the new guys an opportunity to get off the bench and on to the field. Ganguly hasn’t scored too badly as a batsman this season; however, together as a group, except first few matches they never got going.

Bangalore look clear favorites here. The way Gayle played in the last innings makes it so difficult for oppositions. Because NOW, he is just not looking to hit, he wants to stay there and wait for his opportunities to score. That make him so much more dangerous because then he tends to play longer innings. Kohli also seem to be getting back in touch with is good news for Royal Challenger.

Overall, on current form, it looks like Vijay Mallya can keep smiling and Dada can keep his shirt on :)!!!

Chennai Super Kings Must Derail Rajasthan Royals


CRICKET-ENGLAND

(Photo credit: Ravinder Singh Gill)

Dhoni’s men rarely find themselves looking down the barrel. But IPL 5 is different. They won few, but not consistently and now they face a situation from where they must keep winning invariably to keep their play offs’ hopes alive.

There have been instances of individual brilliance from Super Kings but collectively they haven’t fired too often this IPL. They however need to, NOW. Dhoni is a brilliant leader, calm and composed and he’ll be ready with his plans. Though the boys must step up and execute those plans on the day.

Rajasthan Royals have come back very well in their last few games after losing some of their earlier games. Especially their one run loss to Delhi may have been heartbreaking, but the way Rahul has kept the side motivated is commendable. Watson has added strength to their batting which was primarily dependent on Rahane and Dravid. Oawis Shah and Hodge also look in good touch which makes their top-order really powerful.

The thing with most T20 games is, however strong a team looks on paper it is a matter of few crucial moments in the game that turns it in favour of one or the other. Each of these two very good teams know that and would be looking forward to winning those moments. Because folks, mind it, from here on, it’ll get tougher.

Battle of Finishers At Mumbai


Sachin smiling

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Both these teams emerged winners in their respective matches on the ‘Super Sunday’. Dwayne Smith did it for Mumbai and hours later AB de Villiers replicated it for Royal Challengers Bangalore. This is going to be a tremendous clash as both the teams would want to secure two very precious points.

Seems Mumbai Indians have an upper hand because of their bowling line-up. Malinga is in top gear as always, Harbhajan is bowling with so much more confidence and flight since last few games and Peterson is more than handy. They also have utility players like Rayudu, Franklin and with Tendulkar back in the line-up they’ll be blazing all guns. We all saw last game the kind of form God is in.

For Royal Challengers it is very much a must win game because a loss here will make it little tough for them to qualify for play-offs. They will be hoping that one of their numerous match winners’ fires tonight. On his day, Gayle can be as destructive as it gets, Dilshan, AB and Kohli make the line-up even stronger. They however need to bowl better. Zaheer and Vinay Kumar look out of form which puts too much pressure on the spin of Muralitharan.
This is a crucial game which promises to be a real humdinger!!!

Near Must Win For Kings XI Punjab


DAVID HUSSEY

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Punjab plays away from home in what is kind of a must win game for them as they seek a place in the play offs. Deccan Chargers have nothing to lose, but they definitely have players of the class of Dale Steyn, Cameron White and Sanga who can spoil Punjab’s party.

Somehow Punjab has done well away from home and they’ll be hoping to continue the same. Shaun Marsh is in superb form with the bat and so is Azhar Mahmood with the ball. They have David Hussey who is an established T20 specialist and the new guys Mandeep and Saini aren’t doing badly either. They seem favourites in this game. Their bowling however hasn’t come off well this season and thus if they win the toss they must back themselves to chase rather than defend some total.

Gilly may not be fully fit to play and they may get Miller back. Deccan are low on confidence but in these shorter formats, you never know!!!

Ganguly’s Men Must Start Winning


Shaun Tait at a training session at the Adelai...

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With eight losses from twelve games, it’s time Pune Warriors start winning. Their playoff chances are bleak but run-rates and rains play funny games. And for that reason many believe IPL 5 is still wide open with only top two teams comfortably hold play-offs spots while six others still battle it out.

Pune started off very well but lost their rhythm somewhere on the way. Today evening they must raise their game and start winning. For them, key men remain Steve Smith and Angelo Matthews. Both are match winners with the bat, handy bowlers and brilliant fielders, (who can forget Smith’s super acrobatic fielding effort at wide long-on). Ganguly has been batting well top of the order but he has to pace his innings better. Dada has some good scores in the tournament, however, his strike rate can be better.

Rajasthan Royals’ playoff chances are comparatively better after their last win against Kings XI Punjab. With inclusion of Shane Watson and Shaun Tait they look a far balanced side. But Dravid still remains the key man who will hold the innings together. Rahane couldn’t fire the last game which means he is due, so, watch out!!!