Archive for April 2012

Why You Can’t Take Your Eye Off The IPL 2012 Action

IPL 2012 – IPL 5 – Latest Action Is Eye-Catching Stuff

This is proving to be a very difficult Indian Premier League season to predict. Both myself and my colleague Alastair Symondson have struggled during our Mr Predictor TV shows, and one comment left for us on YouTube advised us, quite fairly, to forget about thinking about giving up the day job.

Yesterday’s games were no exceptions. The Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore snatched victories from positions where they appeared down and out. While I have to admit I never completely ruled the Royals out given the pedigree of Brad Hodge, right up until Saurabh Tiwary hit the winning six for the Challengers, I had that one down as a Pune win.

There was a slight mid-innings wobble and then they imploded in the final over but otherwise they were on top throughout. A key difference between those two games was the standard of fielding.

Deccan Chargers coach Darren Lehmann came out afterwards and described his team’s performance in the field as ‘like an under-14 team’ and he was about right. The run chase started and ended with shocking misfields and there were two bad drops mixed in as well.

Conversely, in the evening game, both sides fielded outstandingly and there was some brilliant batting from the likes of Robin Uthappa, Chris Gayle and then AB de Villiers at the death, who played some extraordinary strokes. He looked to have been left with too much to do but in the end timed his charge perfectly.

One of Chris Gayle’s sixes injured a young fan and it was a lovely touch from the Jamaican to pay them a visit after the game. We often use terms such as ‘bruising’ and describe innings that ‘hurt’ an opposition in a metaphorical sense but when the IPL is in full flow, it isn’t just the fielders that are at risk – it is the umpires and the fans as well.

For one reason or another, you cannot take your eye off the action.

 

A Weekend Of High Octane IPL 2012 Action

IPL 2012 – IPL 5 – Weekend Provides Thrills And Spills

What a fascinating weekend’s action in the Indian Premier League. While we here in the UK slowed down a little for an extended weekend, there was no sign of much slowing down in India.

While few would have been too surprised to see the Mumbai Indians making the early running with two wins out of three, the appearance of Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors alongside them will come as something of a surprise.

Astutely led by Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly respectively, their rise to prominence has given the tournament an added dimension and it could turn out to be the most open yet.

It just needs the Kings XI Punjab to pull out some performances and then all teams might think they are in with a chance of a play-off place. Early days yet though.

Initially I didn’t think the Kings XI should be too concerned after they hit more than 160 in their opening game but lost but they have some issues with their bowling which need to put right, and swiftly, else they’ll find themselves in trouble.

The game of the weekend was probably the Mumbai-Deccan encounter which had a bit of everything. Excellent batting from Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, outstanding bowling from Dale Steyn and plenty of controversy.

Should Kumar Sangakkara have been given out? Yes. Should players crowd and hararss the umpires when a mistake has been made? No. Therefore, a fine for Munaf Patel and a warning for Harbhajan are a step in the right direction.

It is no good simply to sign a Spirit of Cricket charter prior to the tournament. The players are rightly expected to subsequently uphold the values of the game and can have no complaints when they are pulled up for transgressing the code of conduct.

Kevon Cooper is fast proving to be the bargain buy of the tournament although Chennai will have been delighted to have seen their big buy Ravindra Jadeja produce an excellent all-round performance as they thrashed the Chargers.

The Deccan side can consider themselves unlucky to still be looking for their first point but lacked the quality at the death to close out the match against Mumbai, who even without Sachin Tendulkar, will undoubtedly be there or thereabouts come the business end of the tournament.

As will Bangalore, for whom AB de Villiers looks in prime touch and although Chris Gayle hasn’t scored big runs in today’s game, their new signing Muttiah Muralitharan is looking like a shrewd purchase.

What have been your highlights of the opening week’s action in the IPL?

IPL 2012 – Mumbai & Delhi Make Strong Early Impression

IPL 2012 – IPL 5 – Mumbai, Delhi Impress As Chennai, Kolkata Disappoint

The opening two matches of the Indian Premier League 2012 have set the ball rolling for the tournament. Reigning champions Chennai Super Kings were well beaten by the Mumbai Indians before the Kolkata Knight Riders were beaten by the Delhi Daredevils.

Two wins then, for the away sides, and wins for the sides that went into the game as the underdogs – Mumbai because of Chennai’ strength at home and Delhi because they are without their star batsmen in Mahela Jayawardene, David Warner and Kevin Pietersen.

Irfan Pathan wrote his own script and his innings of 42 in 20 balls was my highlight of the first two games. As well as Richard Levi played in spanking 50 in 35 balls for Mumbai, Pathan was under pressure. He had no option but to accelerate when he did but the grace with which he lifted three sixes into the crowd showed just how well he managed the situation.

The 12 overs per side game turned out to be something of a thriller as at the halfway point, Kolkata’s score of 97 never looked enough but after Virender Sehwag and Aaron Finch fell within six balls of one another, we had a game on our hands.

Delhi missed one chance in the field but were otherwise outstanding. Kolkata needed everything to stick and get early wickets and once they failed in the latter, Delhi were always likely to come through.

Chennai were also not at their best in the field while Mumbai were excellent. Any team that loses three wickets to run outs will struggle, particularly if key players such as Francois du Plessis and Mahendra Singh Dhoni depart in this fashion.

Both sides are likely to bounce back but should Mumbai win today’s game against the Pune Warriors, they will quickly emerge as everyone’s favourites for the title with two wins out of two under their belt.

It would be sensible to remember that they have started well in the past and faded as the tournament went on. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

IPL 2012 – Who Are The Main Contenders To Topple Chennai?

IPL 2012 – IPL 5 – The Cricket World Descends On India

The fifth edition of the Indian Premier League gets underway tomorrow and will doubtless dominate the headlines for the next seven weeks as the world’s best cricketers descend on India for the IPL 2012.

Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings are looking for three titles in a row - © REUTERS / Action Images

Reigning champions the Chennai Super Kings are chasing their third staight title as Mahendra Singh Dhoni aims to put recent troubles with the Test team behind him and claim another trophy.

The Super Kings are expected to face stiff challenges from the Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils although such is the frenetic and unpredictable nature of Twenty20 any franchise, if they get off to a good start, or find a purple patch at some point in the tournament, could make an outside bid for glory.

Remember, there weren’t many of us who predicted victories in the first two tournaments for the Rajasthan Royals or the Deccan Chargers.

Since then, the powerhouses of Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai have been the dominant forces. Can this be the year that Delhi, the Kings XI Punjab or the Kolkata Knight Riders put together a consistent challenge?

The Pune Warriors have been rocked by the loss of Yuvraj Singh but in Sourav Ganguly, Tamim Iqbal and Michael Clarke they appear to have recruited well and may spring a surprise or two.

With players coming and going throughout the tournament as international cricket continues, the team that manages its resources best will be the champions.

Let us know who you think will win and who you are looking forward to seeing in this year’s tournament. We’ll update this post with the first of our IPL 2012 podcasts later today and a Mr Predictor IPL 2012 special.