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


Miller stuns Royal Challengers, single-handedly

David Miller

Knock-Knock, who is there?


Miller who?

The one who stunned Royal Challengers.

He showed in some of his previous IPL appearances that when it is in the V he can hit them really long. Yesterday though, he showed us that it doesn’t really matter where they are, and that he is one heck of a batsman and if you bowl length, he’ll keep hitting you out of the ground all day long.

Kings XI Punjab were looking down the barrel at 64/4 and in the backdrop of it were dying all there hopes to make it to the play-offs this season. In comes Miller, too calm and composed for his age and turns the game on it’s head in a matter of few overs. What looked like a massive target once David Hussey got out was chased down with two overs to spare. That’s how easy Miller made it for his side.

101 off 38 is what Miller got and except for that skier that Kohli dropped and got hit in the face, he didn’t play a single false shot. His six hitting was exceptional and the ease with which he was hitting them even beautiful. The monstrous 103m particularly was just amazing.

He did play some good innings in previous games and was noticed, he won a few for Kings XI, got unlucky in few, but with his innings yesterday he has stamped his authority with such intensity that he would be feared in the IPL games that follow, and of course outside of these when he puts on South African greens and takes guard against all those international sides.

Well played David Miller, it was a treat to watch!

Image Credit: SkySports

Last ball thrillers are back!

Last Ball Thrillers: Cricket Exclusive

All it took was just one match and here we are folks, the last ball thrillers are back! Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Mumbai Indians last night, with many a twist in the tail, eventually ended with a breath taking last over from the T20 specialist Vinay Kumar. When Vinay Kumar ran into bowl the final ball of the match, the result still hung in that very famous uncertainty which IPL brings to millions of fans this time of the year, each summer. I don’t know precisely what percentage of spectators were thinking that either side could win, but 99.99 % wouldn’t be a bad guess at all, when you know it was the big boy Pollard facing on the other end.

This is what makes this league so exciting to watch and this is what moves cricket lovers around the world. Moreover the booming ticket sales is a good indicator of the fact that fans are also keen to come to stadiums to watch the action and although IPL still remains a big television phenomenon, people are storming in to the witness it all, LIVE.

IPL6 has arrived and the excitement has just begun. The rare spectacle with Sachin and Ponting opening an innings together is sufficient enough to set the expectations sky high and one has to cut deep to find reasons as to why this edition won’t live up to it. Stay Tuned, we are just about fastening our seat belts!

Photo Credit: Stadiums Queensland

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!!!

Pune to play Bangalore without “Dada”

Ganguly Short

(Photo credit: alister667)

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


(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.

Ganguly’s Men Must Start Winning

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

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!!!