Indian Premier League 2013 – Of glory and temptations


Indian Premier League - Glory and TemptationsSo Mumbai Indians it is, the “IPL 2013 Champions”. In front of a capacity crowd at Eden gardens they played with great zeal to win and were probably against a very indifferent Chennai Super Kings (CSK) side. One would wonder if the CSK which turned up for this big final wasn’t really the celebrated familiar one. In fact, this one arguably stands out as the most ordinary of their performances this season.

That said, credit definitely goes to the Mumbai Indian boys for bringing out their A-game and holding the nerves better. They looked far more settled overall and ensured that CSK never got going. A run chase that deserved far more intensity didn’t see much of it for a large part of 20 overs, and Dhoni perhaps left it for too late even for his standards and reputation of hitting the long ball. The tournament began with some thrilling games but one would agree that the final promised more than it delivered.

Largely this IPL (just like its previous editions), was a great exhibition of power-hitting, superb acrobatic catches, remarkable bowling variations and of course glamour. But it sort of got uneasy for all as the reports of spot-fixing and corruption came out. Taste of an evening cricket extravaganza got sour. And amidst all that, IPL lost its charm and with it was lost the joy that this event brings to the cricket lover each year.

There is this feeling of “Money is bigger than Cricket at IPL” that surrounds it all the time, and as the news about corruption surfaced this feeling sank in deeper. Temptations got bigger and with it sportsmanship and work ethics took a back seat. They say that ’if it is too bright you tend to lose sight’, and with IPL’s pomp-n-show, seems it got too bright for some to see.

For a cricket lover, it is heartbreaking and it is devastating. It is catastrophic for the joyous feelings that we all have deep in our hearts, those feelings which we have nurtured since we got our first exposure to the game of cricket as a kid, feelings which take complete control of our emotions each time we see our favourite batsman take guard and each time that fast bowler we love comes steaming in.

But all is not lost, and there are lessons to be learnt for future. The last time when such a major fixing fiasco happened in late 90s, the cricketing fraternity probably didn’t affirm enough and measure taken were perhaps not enough to cleanse the system. This time around, we have another opportunity to get it right. Stepping down of people at position of authority may not be the solution, but if that can induce faith, facilitate transparent inquiry and proceeding, well that may be a way to go about it. But there are other ways for sure and the love for the game would find those ways. This game has had a glorious past and our hearts know that few aberrations just can’t kill its future.

It won’t be easy, but we live in hope.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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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 !!!

Two Big Fishes Clash In Their First IPL Game This Season


Harbhajan Singh at Adelaide Oval

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!!!

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.