Rajasthan Royals (vs Delhi Daredevils - Match 1) were not looking very strong through the chase until Pathan started his blitzkrieg. Another cool win for Rajasthan Royals. They must be happy that Smith could finally dig in his heels and stay there throughout the innings. He seemed a bit frsutrated at the end may be because Pathan was hitting so well. But I still think he needn't be. He did well, welcome back to form (hopefully).
Talk to any Royals player and half of their answers are filled with what Shane Warne told them to do and how it helped them perform. He must be doing something right to command that kind of respect. Other teams should take a cue from him. As brutally honest as he is always, he was pretty harsh on his top order when they lost the last game.
Coming to Pathan's secular hitting. He showed no respect for reputation, taking out Mendis in Super over in the previous match and then today all the bowlers. He is soon turning himself into the man of the tournament, again I guess I am speaking too soon, but then what do I got to lose :)
Off for today, tomorrow we will see the two of the laggards (Royal Challengers and KKR) battling it out to regain some pride and get back into the tournament.
Its heart warming to see Tendulkar and Jayasuriya knock out the (freakishly) talented Mendis giving him a thrashing he isn't used to. Tendulkar must have felt vindicated after the disappointing Test Series against Sri Lanka where Mendis domesticated an already tamed Tendulkar.
Well, enjoyed watching the match since this is the side I am supporting to go all the way. Support stems from the fact there is a certain 36 years and 3 days old player who has spent two decades (spanning across three) in international cricket is captaining the side.
Few nice things that came out of today's match - Tendulkar got his highest score in IPL - Zaheer got his first wicket in the tournament - Bhajji is showing signs of maturity, spending his energy where he should be (hitting those 2 consecutive sixes) - Malinga getting the purple cap
Lessons to be learned for the teams: - MI needs to get someone to fire in the middle order. JP Duminy is looking lukewarm at best and Nayar is still untested. That one knock might as well be a flash in the pan. However, Nayar doing his bit with the ball makes him a 'useful' player. - Shahrukh Khan needs to understand that he is a big part (if not whole) of the problem he is trying to solve. - McCullum needs to sort his act out. Is this the time for Dada to make his way back given he is known for his dramatic comebacks like no other!
Aside: I follow online scores on rediff since I could never get through cricinfo. Today after I followed the scores on cricinfo, I realised why it is so popular. The ball by ball commentary is just excellent.
It was a battle between an extremely centralized team to a team experimenting with decentralization (multiple captain theory). Shane Warne solidly forms the core of an otherwise ordinary Rajasthan team. He has redefined the art of captaincy almost changing the game from physical to cerebral. Who could have imagined a team to lose from 8 needed from 8 balls with enough wickets in hand in a T20 tie where one of the players in the middle is among the top five run scorers in one day internationals.
Ganguly brought KKR very well back in the game where one ball from Munaf costing 13 runs (no ball and a free hit - both sixes) . Second last ball wicket of Ganguly left KKR to score 2 of the last ball. A superb save by Warne which reduced a potential triple to a single left the scores tied.
Super over had its share of many exciting moments. Shane Warne's find Kamran taking the over giving 15 runs, a really defend-able one over target. Pathan from Royals made an easy work of it by scoring 18 of the first four balls giving them, if not a historical, definitely a memorable win.
As the days are progressing, things are getting clearer.
Well I thought I will continue providing my commentaries on the proceedings. See, when Arun Lal can do it, why can't I.
Who is Arun Lal? A friend of mine asked what makes Arun Lal qualified to speak about the games. To which another friend of mine replied, he is the guy who comes out of the local train in "mile sur mera tumhara" song. Now that was some shocking piece of information even though I know who he is. All these days I have been thinking that the local train scene was meant to have just the crowds and commoners and not great Arun Lal. To know that it was him, was as shocking as the revelation of Santa Clause not being real is for the foreign kids (and may be a few Indian kids). Well, for those interested to know, Arun Lal played 16 tests and 13 ODIs averaging 26 and 9 respectively (for India, of course).
Takeaways Kings can win only in a high scoring match and Royal Challengers in a slow scoring one. RCB is riding (~barely floating) on the batting of an unlikely hero, who has been doing exceptionally well something that he is not supposed to be good at. Although today they scored a very healthy 160 and soon I might get proved wrong in which case I will gracefully eat my own words. There is nothing wrong in it, thats what Arun Lal did when he commented before Mumbai/Chennai match that Tendulkar hasn't read the conditions well.
Also, as a side note, I think Laxman should start calling himself Re-laxman and may be Gilchrist should really let him rest for a while.
Weather/Duckworth-Lewis method Statistics is not just what you create while playing, it decides your results now. KXIP being the favorite victim so far.Thanks to SA weather, you can see a poster of the following graph in all the dug-outs. Of course, Sehwag could never understand it.
The definition of a match is redefined as well. If you can have 5 overs per team, it will be considered a match. Appalling!
I have internalized IPL so much that I am even using a strategy break between writing my blog. If you don't believe the Arun Lal memorabilia was the result of one such break.
Today's match between Deccan chargers and RCB brought out a few things:
Dravid moves to the top of the table of leading run getters after scoring a smashing 48 off 27 balls
He also scored 2 sixes in his knock which is two more than the total number of sixes in his career (ok, this is not correct, just a hyperbole)
Today's match saw Praveen Kumar laughing for the first time in his life. It took a throw from Uthappa directly hitting him on his head, temporarily making him forget that he is Praveen Kumar and not supposed to laugh (or even smile)
Robin Uthappa who I thought used to be in Indian squad primarily because of his communication skills is showing a lot of sincerity. Playing the wicket keeper and really trying to give his best with bat. I really hope he does well now.
The first two games of IPL 2.0 saw the two finalists losing their respective matches. Chennai lost in a close match, but Rajasthan got devastated. And look at the major contributors to the victory. For Royal challengers, Dravid scored 66 of 48 balls (highest score and highest strike rate barring Vinaykumar who score 8 of 2 balls), only other score in double digits was 32 by Pietersen. Kumble scalped 5 in 3 overs conceding just 6 runs. Talk about test bowler, he sure made the batsmen play like a test match in his short spell.
To top it all, Rajasthan made the lowest score ever in IPL.
In the first encounter, Tendulkar led from the front scoring an unbeaten 59 of 49 balls. So, surprisingly, in this young men's game the top performers were all on the wrong side of 35. Dravid in the presentation ceremony uncharacteristically mentioned (I think thrice) that to succeed in these pitches you need to play 'good cricketing shots' and that will be an advantage for players like him. A touch of arrogance perhaps, coming from where least expected, but I am not complaining.
If initial signs are anything to go by, this season may not be as high scoring as its last version and will be more testing for inexperienced Indian players who are not used to overseas conditions.
This is, however, very early to draw conclusions and definitely too soon to write obituaries (remember last year Rajasthan had a similar disastrous start), but the action has begun. Keep watching.
This is what you do when you are generally pissed off. No, I am not talking of creating graphs, that you do when you just have some time to kill. I meant posting that crap on blog. Here you go, make some of your own, its fun
PS: As usual, this is a fun post and is not intended to be a reflection on my past, present or future employer and not to forget employers from my past births.