IPL Semi-final: Hyderabad Vs Chennai

 The second of the IPL semi finals sees Deccan Chargers take on Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on Thursday. Both of these teams endured a nightmare run of form during IPL 2010 but now they stand on the brink of reaching the final. "This game is all about the clash between Chennai’s batting and Deccan’s bowling." Venue and Conditions: It is a pity for the people of Bangalore that the semi-finals were moved from that city, but as alternative venues go, there could be few better than the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. It is the most modern cricket arena in India and the crowds there make one hell of a din. There have been six IPL games at the ground and the stats are quite revealing. An average first innings score of 153 does not suggest a typical Indian pitch, nor does the fact that quicker bowlers have fared better than spinners, both in terms of averages and economy rates. The relatively new playing surface was laid using 200 tonnes of South African soil and was intended to offer pace and bounce for the quick bowlers. Trivia: It was on this ground in 2008 that Adam Gilchrist smashed 109 off 47 balls, the fastest century of the IPL, a record that stood until Yusuf Pathan surpassed it this year. Road to semi- Final: Deccan Chargers: When the Deccan Chargers threw away a match winning position against the Rajasthan Royals in match #36, they had just three wins from nine games and looked to be heading out of the tournament. Gilchrist’s team subsequently reeled off five consecutive wins including a 6 wicket victory over semi final opponents the Super Kings in match 42 when they restricted the big hitting Chennai to a total of just 138. They also came out on top in their earlier meeting … [Read more...]

First IPL Semi-final preview: Mumbai Vs Bangalore

 The first semi final in IPL 3 sees the Mumbai Indians take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday. The fact these two meet in the semis comes as a surprise to many, who thought they'd only lock horns in the final. Mumbai are favourites after topping the table but any side with Bangalore's batting line-up can't be written off. Venue and Conditions: After 56 games in IPL 3 the eight teams have finally been whittled down to four and now it's time to get serious. The first semi final will see the Royal Challengers Bangalore take on the Mumbai Indians and for the winners the spoils couldn't be higher: a place in the final and also a guaranteed spot in the lucrative Champions League this autumn. Originally this match was scheduled to be played in Bangalore, but given there were two explosions before the last Bangalore home game, it has now been switched. Fortunately for Mumbai the game is now to be played in Mumbai, at the huge Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, where 60,000 Sachin Tendulkar fans will be out in force to cheer on their hero. Only two IPL matches have been played there so far so there are no obvious trends but the wicket does appear to provide assistance to the spinners. Team News:  Mumbai Indians: Mumbai rested a number of players for their dead rubber match against Kolkata, so expect to see many changes from that game. Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga and Zaheer Khan will all come back in, while Dwayne Bravo will likely be the most high-profile overseas player to miss out. As recently as last weekend, the Mumbai Indians hammered the Royal Challengers by 57 runs in Bangalore. Mumbai were ruthless on the day as they were already assured of their semi final place. … [Read more...]

IPL Game: Delhi Vs Hyderabad

 Sunday's second IPL game is a straightforward affair in which the winners are guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. Pre tournament favourites Delhi will take on reigning champions Deccan. This is a fascinating contest between two teams who have got their acts together in time to be in with a chance of the semi-finals. Venue and Conditions: Pitches have deteriorated as the tournament has gone on and the Feroz Shah Kotla seems to have suffered the most. Delhi was skittled out for 111 here last time on a slow track that offered variable bounce and prodigious turn. Team News: Delhi Daredevils: Delhi's worry is indifferent form of their top order batsmen particularly explosive opener Virender Sehwag. He has not done much damage so far and the attacking batsman would love to break the shackles. If he gets going, nothing could be better than that for Delhi. Skipper Gautam Gambhir has played a vital role in keeping the team in contention and the youngster would surely be aiming to see his side through tomorrow. Going by present form, Delhi's chances rest on a good show by their bowlers, especially their opening fast bowlers Dirk Nannes and Ashish Nehra and spinner Amit Mishra. Delhi will surely recall Daniel Vettori on this pitch but they will have a tough call over which of their overseas players to drop and it could be that Tillakaratne Dilshan returns to the bench after the briefest of recalls. Deccan Chargers: Deccan have been a settled unit in recent games and their only real decision is whether to bring back Herschelle Gibbs in favour of Mitchell Marsh. Delhi have their task cut out as Deccan's young players like Rohit Sharma and T Suman, guarding the middle-order, have the … [Read more...]

Preview: Mumbai Indians Vs Royal Challengers

 "Two giants of the game - Tendulkar and Kallis - come together when Royal Challengers and the Mumbai Indians meet in Bangalore on Saturday. Venue and Conditions: The first game of the day takes place at the M Chinnaswamy stadium as the Bangalore Royal Chargers host the Mumbai Indians. The average first innings score at the stadium is 166, suggesting that it is not an easy track to score on. However, that average is dragged down by Rajasthan's abysmal tally of just 92 all out earlier in the tournament and Bangalore's reply of 93 without loss in 10.4 overs provided evidence that there are no gremlins in the pitch. Trivia: • Mumbai have suffered the least run-outs in the competition - only four to date in 12 matches. • Kallis has scored ten fifty-plus scores in the IPL (all seasons), Tendulkar is joint-second with eight. • Across all three IPLs, Harbhajan Singh has been the stingiest bowler, conceding an average of 6.41 an over. Anil Kumble is a close third, with 6.52. • Bangalore has been the most boundary-happy venue this year, with 57.66% of the runs scored there coming in boundaries. Only Cuttack has a higher ratio - 59.76%. • Mumbai have been the best batting side in the last six overs, scoring at 11.04 an over. Team News: Bangalore: This is Bangalore's final round robin match and victory will certainly guarantee them a place in the semi-finals. They have made hard work of it so far and they could still miss out though their net run rate makes that unlikely. Seven wins and six defeats puts them level on points with the Daredevils and the Chargers but they are well ahead on run rate and a win here would be a giant stride towards securing second place and a home semi final. They … [Read more...]

IPL match preview: Hyderabad Vs Chennai

 The reigning champions secured a vital win on Thursday to halt a nightmare run of form. But they are still some way from breaking into the top four. They will take on the Chennai Super Kings in a vital IPL game in Napur on Saturday. Both sides have semi final aspirations but the Super Kings are firm favourites. Venue and Conditions: The wandering Deccan Chargers play their second game at the Vidharba Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur. This ground boasts the largest boundaries in the tournament and so offers some respite for hard-pressed spin bowlers. Trivia: Chennai have hit more sixes than any other team in the tournament, 69 in total. Deccan Chargers: The Chargers gave themselves a lifeline with an excellent win over the Royal Challengers in Bangalore on Thursday. They had struggled to close games out, particularly with the bat and their big guns had not turned in the huge scores they are capable of. But Andrew Symonds steered them home against the Royal Challengers and that will have done their confidence a lot of good. A seven wicket win after successfully chasing 185 for victory halted a run of five successive defeats and just about keeps Gilchrist’s men in the tournament. They may well need to win all four of their remaining games which include another game against Royal Challengers, then the Kings XI and finally the Daredevils. The win over Bangalore was the first time the Chargers had successfully chased a total in IPL3 with Symonds and Suman seeing them home with some great hitting. Pragyan Ojha has been the most consistent bowler for Deccan, picking up 15 wickets to lie at the top of the bowlers list in IPL III and although RP Singh has been in and out of the team, he has … [Read more...]

IPL Game preview: Chennai Vs Mumbai

 Tuesday’s game in the IPL looks like a real cracker as the Super Kings take on the Mumbai Indians in Chennai. The Mumbai Indians have lost just one game. While the Super Kings, after an up-and-down are on eight points from nine games. The Mumbai Indians will play to confirm semi-final berth with this win. Chennai Super Kings: The Super Kings are involved in a real scrap for a semi final place but back to back wins have revived their campaign. They have four wins and five defeats so far and key games coming up against Deccan Chargers and the Knight Riders who are also in the hunt. They cannot afford to lose any other games now onward though they do have a healthy net run rate which could well count in their favour. Vijay is fast becoming a star of the tournament and currently tops the Super Kings run scoring charts. With the ball it’s a different story although Doug Bollinger performed really well in his first game of the tournament against the Royals with two wickets for fifteen runs, and all this despite the visitors making an excellent fist of what would have been a record run chase. Mumbai Indians: With seven wins and one defeat, the Mumbai Indians are pretty much assured of a semi final place. They have been ruthless throughout the tournament, their only blemish being a defeat to the Royal Challengers. All departments are functioning as the coaching staff would like and they deserve to be favourites to win the tournament. Tendulkar has scored four half-centuries in eight games with a highest of 72 and a strike-rate of 140.72, besides displaying native shrewdness in team selections and strategies. Tendulkar’s performance not just as a batsman, but also as an inspirational leader who has … [Read more...]

IPL T20 Preview: Delhi Vs Bangalore

 The story of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils makes identical with a decent first half of the season means that a semi-final spot is there for the taking for both Bangalore and Delhi and a win for either side on Sunday night only edges that team a little bit closer. On a roll with three successive victories, Delhi Daredevils will look to continue the winning momentum. Delhi had bounced back in the tournament with a 17-run win over Bangalore on March 25 and then won two more matches to bring their campaign back on track. They currently lie third on the points table. The Devil Hosts: It was a convincing win over the Rajasthan Royals the other night, a victory that saw two of the batsmen and two of the bowlers contribute towards. One must doff one’s hat to the manner in which Dinesh Karthik batted after the first couple of wickets had fallen, and virtually took the game away from Rajasthan. The Delhi team has gone through a complete metamorphosis since those three consecutive defeats with the very much in-form unit of David Warner, Paul Collingwood, Farveez Maharoof, Andrew McDonald and Kedhar Jadhav now playing starring roles. A batting order led by Sehwag, but with no mention of the dasher is impossible, but the Delhi stalwart could use some runs and what better time to score them than in a big game. Karthik’s innings was the difference between the two sides, and it consisted of some crisp and clean hitting. He has been doing a good job behind the wickets and this innings in front of the stumps would have only added to his confidence. In Virender Sehwag, Delhi have someone who can rip apart any bowling attack on his given day and Kedar Jadhav has also shown some spark. Among the … [Read more...]

IPL Preview: Kolkata Vs King XI Punjab

 Author: Mona Gupta (New Delhi) Back to winning ways courtesy an inspiring innings from Ganguly in their last match against title-holders Deccan Chargers, Kolkata Knight Riders suddenly find themselves in reckoning for a last-four berth as their 24-run victory improved their position to fifth on the table. Kolkata Knight Riders will be high on confidence when they take on a battered and bruised Kings XI Punjab in their return match of the Indian Premier League match in Kolkata on Sunday. Venue and Conditions: The troubled Kings XI Punjab will visit the cricketing Mecca of Eden Gardens to take on Sourav Ganguly's Kolkata Knight Riders in match 34 of the IPL. Punjab are in disarray after losing a game they should have won to Bangalore last time out and they are now four points adrift at the bottom of the table. Kolkata are in fifth and need to win to maintain their challenge for the semis. The pitches at Eden Gardens tend to get slower as the game progresses so batting first tends to be the preferred choice for the captain that wins the toss. Any score over 160 here is a potentially defendable total. The Kolkata: Kolkata will have been delighted with their last performance against Deccan and may field virtually the same team. There will be pressure on Angelo Mathews and more importantly Chris Gayle to start delivering with the bat, but they have compensated somewhat by producing handy performances with the ball, so should be safe. Kolkata tend to run hot then cold, a good performance followed by a bad one. This lack of consistency needs to be addressed especially in their batting where they need more than one player to contribute a decent score each innings. So Chris Gayle needs to step up to the plate … [Read more...]

IPL Preview: Mumbai Vs Deccan Chargers

  Deccan Chargers need to quickly rediscover their momentum against table toppers Mumbai Indians in the teams' second leg clash of the Indian Premier League on Saturday. With six wins from their first seven games and a current winning streak of four, Mumbai are a couple of games clear at the top of the table. Mumbai have been unstoppable and have emerged as the single strongest side thus far, whereas Deccan has had to face some harsh realities of life, lying almost at the bottom of the pile.  Venue and Conditions:  The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai is the colonial setting for the second meeting of the Mumbai Indians and the Deccan Chargers this week. No team batting first has yet come close to matching the 212-6 Mumbai reached in the first of the five IPL 2010 matches played here so far.  The Indian Host:  Led from the front by the evergreen Little Master, the Indians have won every game save the one blemish against the Royal Challengers of Bangalore, and a very strongly positioned to be the first team to qualify for the semis  There hasn't been any over-aggressive big hitting from the little man; mere deft touches and field piercings have done the job for him, and that too with a very healthy strike rate of 140. Local players like Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu and Shikhar Dhawan have also done a great job playing around him. West Indian allrounder duo Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo complete a most formidable batting lineup and though they have not yet really come to the party, it is only a matter of time before the dangerous duo explodes.  Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan feature very high in the list of top wicket-takers, and with very impressive economy rates as well. Ryan McLaren, Bravo and … [Read more...]

Preview: Chennai Vs Rajasthan Royal

 The Chennai Super Kings were impressive in their recent win over the Royal Challengers and they have an opportunity to build on that victory when they host the Rajasthan Royals in Chennai on Saturday. It promises to be an exciting mid-table clash, with the winner breaking into the top half of the table. Venue and conditions:Known for its distinct pitch characteristics, with that extra zip and bounce off the wicket, the MA Chidambaram Stadium, formerly known as Chepauk, has been hosting internationals since 1934. The Kings Host:Had Chennai lost to Bangalore in their previous game they would have had a real mountain to climb to reach the semi finals. As it turns out, they still have plenty to do after losing five of their first eight matches but there is renewed optimism amongst their followers. The five wicket win ended a run of four successive defeats, one of which came against the Royals.Chennai got a much needed win against their neighbors Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday night but this time around it wasn't the "mongoose" bat wielding Matthew Hayden, but young Indian opening batsman Murali Vijay, who stole the show with a blistering knock of 78 from 39 balls, striking at an awesome rate of 200. With the impressive Suresh Raina and hard hitting Dhoni in their batting ranks, a decent start at the top of the order is what is required for CSK to pile on the runs on the board. Also, with Michael Hussey likely to join the squad for the game against the Royals, Chennai might have to re-jig their combination in order to accommodate the Aussie middle order batsman. MS Dhoni must be a worried man because of the ineffectiveness of his pace bowlers. South African all rounder Albie Morkel has been short on confidence ever since … [Read more...]