Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CriektGenie - IPL T20 - Rajasthan Royals beat Kolkata Knight Riders - 20 May08

Rajasthan Royals 150 for 4 (Yusuf 48*, Kaif 34*) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 147 for 8 (Ganguly 32, Das 31, Tanvir 3-26) by six wickets.

A disciplined performance with the ball, followed by a counterattacking blitz from Yusuf Pathan, sealed a six-wicket win at Eden Gardens for the Rajasthan Royals, who with 18 points from 11 matches, become the first team to firm a spot in the semi-finals. At the toss, Shane Warne had said his intention was to knock out the Kolkata Knight Riders, and the loss leaves the home side nearly out of the running for a semi-final place.

Rajasthan were on top for most part of the game, barring a spell in the chase when wickets fell in a flurry. Warne decided to stick with his tried-and-tested policy of fielding first, with the pitch offering assistance to the bowlers. They kept Kolkata on a leash, and a regular stream of wickets ensured the home side could manage only 147.

Kolkata stayed in the hunt by picking up four wickets - which included a double-wicket maiden from Umar Gul. The experiment to send in Sohail Tanvir at No. 3 didn't come off and Saha's acrobatic one-handed take to get rid of Graeme Smith continued the fightback. Watson seemed to be in the mood when he deftly nudged Sourav Ganguly past short third man but he was soon to be bowled after trying to heave an inswinger across the line.

But Kolkata were left clueless against what came next. Enter Yusuf Pathan, whose hand-eye coordination and powerful strokes quickly took the game away. Gul had troubled the batsmen, but Yusuf wasn't to be daunted. He steered a full toss past midwicket, although he was lucky an inside-edge the next ball missed the stumps.

He then took a liking to Ganguly, and the whole of Kolkata was silenced as the local hero was carted for huge in the midwicket region off consecutive deliveries. Runs came at ease as Kolkata's bowlers and fielders failed to break the partnership.

Kaif, who had been dominated by his partner, took a hat-trick of fours off Ashok Dinda, in a phase where he showed his ability to clear the infield. With Yusuf blazing away at the other end, Kaif didn't have to take any risks. He placed the ball around for the singles and twos, and Kolkata were guilty of failing to effect the run-out chances offered to them.

He was mostly overshadowed by Yusuf, though, who sealed the game in the 17th over from Gul: the first ball was lofted over extra cover, the next through midwicket, and he finished the game off in style, sending the ball sailing over square leg for six. He already had the fastest fifty in the tournament, off 21 balls, and with a 48 off 18 today, he was just one hit away from breaking that mark.

It required only one good partnership to overhaul the modest total, one which had been set up by accurate bowling and shrewd captaincy. Warne made innovative bowling changes, and tried to unsettle the batsmen by rotating his fast bowlers for each of the first six overs. For their part, the faster bowlers varied their deliveries, changing their lengths and pace to keep the batsmen on their toes. Tanvir, Munaf Patel and Shane Watson kept the batsmen in check during the Powerplay, conceding just 32. Munaf bowled a maiden first up, snapping Mohammad Hafeez.
Salman Butt, fresh from his 73 against Chennai Super Kings, attempted to give the innings a push by striking a few fours, including a superb cover drive on one knee off Munaf - before falling leg before as he moved across his stumps. Ganguly, though, struggled for fluency: he needed seven balls to get off the mark and scored his first boundary to third man just when Warne played mind games by bringing the fielder in the 30-yard circle. The battle between the two captains continued when Warne brought himself on. Warne had conceded only one off his first over but Ganguly broke the shackles by launching Warne over square leg in his second.

The regular loss of wickets from then on hampered Kolkata. A frustrated David Hussey was bowled as he tried to charge Yusuf, while Ganguly later hit Siddharth Trivedi straight into the hands of long-on. However, Kolkata did well to go from 59 for 2 after ten overs to 147 in 20, largely due to Debabrata Das's sparkling 31 off 20 balls.

He announced his arrival with a dead-straight six off Warne, and later dispatched Pathan over midwicket. Laxmi Ratan Shukla and the batsmen to follow also chipped in quick runs, and despite Kolkata losing wickets regularly, the big hits helped them reach close to 150. It appeared challenging until Yusuf began his mighty blast.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cricket Genie - IPL T20 Cricket News - 18 May 08

Mumbai Indians Beat Deccan Chargers
Mumbai Indians 178 for 7 (Nayar 38, Jayasuriya 36, Bravo 30, RP Singh 3-35) beat Deccan Chargers 153 for 7 (Rao 57, Bravo 3-24) by 25 runs

Mumbai Indians' last meeting with the Deccan Chargers ended in a fourth straight defeat but the return game provided plenty of cheer, producing their sixth successive win, the best run in the tournament so far. Dwayne Bravo signed off from the IPL with a fine all-round effort, giving Mumbai a great chance of making the semi-finals.

Mumbai relied on a combined performance rather than individual brilliance: Sanath Jayasuriya's early blast set the tone before a counterattacking 54-run stand between Bravo and Abhishek Nayar boosted the total.

Deccan didn't have much of a chance at 20 for 3 and even Venugopal Rao's valiant 57 couldn't make much of a difference. With their ninth defeat [including all five at home], Deccan's chances of making the semi-finals are over - even remote mathematical chances won't be spoken of anymore.

Like many of their earlier defeats, Deccan weren't completely outclassed. Unlike the Bangalore Royal Challengers, they haven't appeared listless but they haven't managed to seize the big moments.

Deccan's decision to field appeared to have backfired when Jayasuriya thundered a 15-ball 36, including laying into his fellow countryman Nuwan Zoysa for 19 off his first over, but Shahid Afridi, full of energy and verve, gave them a chance.

He's had a relatively quiet tournament so far but was full of energy here: snapping up Sachin Tendulkar and Dominic Thornely and clinging on to a sensational catch, to dismiss Robin Uthappa, inches within the boundary line. But, with Mumbai wobbling at 96 for 4, the Deccan bowlers couldn't put the foot down on the pedal.

Lot of the credit must go to Nayar and Bravo, who showed the value of good footwork: Nayar regularly sashayed down the track to loft the spinners through the on side while Bravo simply shuffled across smartly before lifting the ball with quicksilver wrists. They finally broke the shackles against Afridi - whose first three overs cost just nine - spanking him for 14 in the 16th over, surging the run-rate to eight an over. Nayar took on Zoysa soon after and Mumbai were on their way to a competitive score.

The fifth-wicket partnership between Abhishek Nayar and Dwayne Bravo helped Mumbai Indians recover to post a match-winning total of 178 (click here for larger image) © Cricinfo Ltd

Mumbai's bowling was characterised by canny medium-pace and outstanding catching. In Shaun Pollock's absence, Bravo led the way with the ball too. Afridi's fine day didn't continue with the bat, though: he attempted to thump the first ball he faced over the covers for six but could only marvel at Thornely running back from point to snaffle a sharp catch.

Adam Gilchrist struggled against a probing Ashish Nehra, who varied both his length and pace wonderfully, while getting the ball to move away off the track. He ended wicketless but played a big part in piling on the pressure. Dilhara Fernando was to reap the rewards soon: he surprised Gilchrist with a short one that was sliced to third man before Rohit Sharma missed a well-disguised slower one that rapped him plumb in front. With two wickets in two balls, he had pretty much sealed the match.

Venugopal, who surprisingly picked up two wickets with his part-time offspin, continued his habit of coming up with a fighting knock in a lost cause. Like he's done in the two previous games, he was like a boy on a burning deck, smashing three sixes and four fours against a mounting asking-rate. Ravi Teja partnered him in a 74-run stand but it would have required something miraculous for the duo to pull it off. Bravo dismissed both within three balls and rounded off a memorable game - four days before facing Australia in the first Test in Kingston.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cricket Genie - IPL Cricket -T20 News 17 May 08

Kings XI Punjab 94 for 3 in eight overs (Jayawardene 36*, Pomersbach 25*) beat Delhi Daredevils 118 for 4 (Sehwag 51*) by six runs on the D/L method

Not even 20 overs were bowled but there was no shortage of excitement and drama as Kings XI Punjab inched closer to a semi-final spot with a win that was sealed - in a somewhat chaotic finish to a rain-shortened game - with a six off the final ball. The result left Delhi Daredevils, who made the early running in the tournament, with ten points from 11 games and a fight to make the last four.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir delighted the home crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla with some fireworks before the first rain interruption but it was the unbroken 63-run stand, off just 27 balls, between Mahela Jayawardene and Luke Pomersbach that clinched the match for Punjab under the Duckworth-Lewis rules as another spell of rain brought about a premature finish.

The two had added 51 in just three overs to turn a precarious position into one of strength, before Sehwag handed allrounder Rajat Bhatia the eighth over. Bhatia, mixing up the pace, drastically brought down the scoring in his first five deliveries. With the rain beginning to come down, Punjab, after 7.5, were at 88 for 3 and, had another dot ball followed, the scores would have been tied under the D/L method. Jayawardene, though, seized the situation, and a shorter ball was put over deep midwicket for six. With the showers intensifying, the umpires called for the covers, and after a bit of confusion, the match was called off, with Punjab picking up their seventh win in eight games.

Sehwag would repent the over he bowled in the chase, in which he conceded 22, but perhaps the result would have been different had rain not interrupted his innings. He had decided to bat after a light drizzle delayed the start, and along with Gambhir powered Delhi to a blistering start, scoring 68 off the Powerplay overs, though they were lucky not to fall early. Yuvraj Singh spilled a sitter as Sehwag got a top edge off Sreesanth in the third over, and two balls later, Gautam Gambhir got a thick outside edge, but VRV Singh was slow off the blocks at third man.
Gambhir provided the early momentum, making room against Irfan Pathan to send the ball racing through the off side. He was fortunate that a few mistimed shots managed to stay clear of the fielders. Sehwag, who had been getting a thin share of the strike, carted consecutive sixes off VRV Singh through the off side, before he steered a fuller delivery wide of the keeper to make it 22 for the over.

Ramesh Powar was brought in after the Powerplays, and he castled Gambhir. That didn't deter Sehwag, who smashed a four and six in Piyush Chawla's first over, then stepped out against Powar and deposited him over midwicket, before rain halted Delhi's innings at 94 for 1 after 8.1 overs.
A long interval followed. Sehwag, on 47 off 19, appeared to have lost his touch on resumption, as Delhi came out with the intention to clear the boundaries with the innings reduced to 11 overs. They lost wickets in a flurry, and strong winds didn't aid batting either. James Hopes bowled an exceptional final over, giving away just three, and Sehwag had crawled after the resumption, managing just four off seven deliveries.

Punjab were chasing a revised target of 123, but a charged-up fielding effort from Delhi had them in trouble. Shikhar Dhawan and Shoaib Malik both got under a skier from the in-form Shaun Marsh, before Dhawan managed to hold on after avoiding a collision. Glenn McGrath had given away just three in the first over, but Yuvraj, who had delightfully steered Pradeep Sangwan to the leg-side boundary before making room and depositing one in the off-side stands, hit him for consecutive sixes. It seemed to be a captains' day out but Yuvraj mistimed a pull off a slower ball, and unlike Punjab's sloppy efforts in the field, Delhi's fielders managed to take some stunning catches.

Amit Mishra, the legspinner, removed Hopes soon after, and Punjab were left needing 90 off 42. Then Sehwag came on and the match turned. Jayawardene, who hadn't made much of an impact in the tournament, deftly guided one past short third man, before reverse-sweeping to beat the same fielder. Another swept four and a Pomersbach six had Punjab's innings up and running again, and two sixes were hit in Mishra's next. Pomersbach's six off Farveez Maharoof brought up the fifty stand off just 19 balls, and the final blow from Jayawardene left Delhi with a sinking feeling.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CricketGenie - IPL Cricket - T20 News 15 May 08

Delhi Daredevils 194 for 4 (Gambhir 79, Dhawan 68*) beat Deccan Chargers 182 for 9 (Rohit 35, Rao 34, Mishra 5-17) by 12 runs - IPL T20 Tournament News
A dramatic final-over hat-trick by Amit Mishra, when Deccan Chargers needed only 15 runs off six balls, clinched a tense 12-run victory for the Delhi Daredevils and ended their four-match losing streak. Half-centuries from Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan set Deccan a formidable target of 195 but Mishra's timely strikes in his two spells broke Deccan's growing momentum during the chase.

Desperate to break their run of losses, Delhi recovered splendidly after losing Virender Sehwag in the first over through a 133-run stand for the second wicket between Gambhir and Dhawan. They kept wickets in hand, which allowed Delhi to score 128 runs off the final 11 overs of the innings. Deccan, on the other hand, kept losing wickets at frequent intervals which, despite their consistently high run-rate, crippled them towards the end of their chase. Their top six batsmen all got into double figures but no one went past 40. Had someone played a long innings, the result would have been different because even though wickets fell at crucial junctures, Deccan got extremely close.

After six failures in the middle order, Deccan finally promoted Shahid Afridi to open the innings. The move paid off and Afridi made use of the fielding restrictions to go after Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Asif. Deccan rocketed to 44 after the first four overs but during that blitz they lost Adam Gilchrist, who drove McGrath fiercely towards mid-off, where Tillakaratne Dilshan held a low catch while diving forward.

The out-of-form Herschelle Gibbs joined Afridi and the pair plundered 34 runs off consecutive overs from Asif and McGrath through scoops over extra cover and pulls over deep square leg with tremendous bat-speed and power. Deccan galloped to 71 for 1 by the end of the Powerplays but the tide was about to turn.

Sehwag gave the seventh over to legspinner Amit Mishra and he had immediate success as Afridi sliced his first ball to AB de Villiers at point. He struck again in his second over, foxing Gibbs with a googly and hitting middle stump.

The big-hitters dismissed, Delhi began to regain control while Rohit Sharma and Scott Styris settled down. The asking-rate had climbed beyond 11 an over but Sharma redressed the balance somewhat by taking 19 off an over from Rajat Bhatia, with two sixes - over long-on and square leg - and a dead-straight four.

However, Sehwag made another timely bowling change, Farveez Maharoof returning in the 13th over and bowling Sharma as he moved across his stumps to attempt a paddle sweep. The period that followed swung the game in Delhi's favour as Styris failed to impose himself on the chase. He didn't score a boundary off his first 23 balls and then holed out on 29, leaving the responsibility of the final surge to Venugopal Rao.

Deccan needed 41 off the final 15 balls and Rao clouted Maharoof for sixes over the straight and midwicket boundary and a four over extra cover to bring the equation down to 25 off the last two overs. He was dismissed in the penultimate over, skying McGrath to Shoaib Malik at long- on but Ravi Teja gave Deccan hope by slicing a full toss over backward point for six.
Sehwag gave the final over to Mishra with Deccan needing 15 and once again he struck with his first ball: Teja's flat hit found Malik on the long-off boundary, effectively ending Deccan's challenge. Pragyan Ojha and RP Singh charged Mishra off the next two deliveries and both were dismissed, giving Mishra his hat-trick, the second of the IPL.

Mishra's calm under pressure ensured the calculated assault from Gambhir and Dhawan earlier in the innings was not in vain. They lost Sehwag in the first over, slashing a short and wide ball to third man, and it wasn't until the fourth over, when Gambhir pulled RP for consecutive sixes over midwicket that the innings finally gained momentum.

Gambhir went past 400 runs in the tournament during his 79 and he and Dhawan accelerated between overs 10 and 14 - a period during which Delhi scored 64. Dhawan came into his own once the support bowlers - Sarvesh Kumar and Styris - operated, punishing anything full on the pads. He even reverse-swept Rao for four, and hit Afridi out of the attack with consecutive boundaries in an over that went for 18.

Delhi missed powerful finishers in previous matches but today the Sri Lankans - Farveez Maharoof and Dilshan - found the boundary several times to take them close to 200. That proved crucial in the end and Delhi could take heart from the fact that the architects of the victory were largely the local players and not the overseas recruits.

CricketGenie - IPL - T20 News 14 May 08

Sizzling Jayasuriya pounds Chennai

Sachin Tendulkar's return dominated most of the pre-match buzz but it was the eruption from Sanath Jayasuriya that Mumbai toasted at the end of a comfortable nine-wicket win, their fourth in a row, at the Wankhede Stadium. Chennai appeared to have cobbled together a fighting total, in conditions that assisted swing bowling, but Jayasuriya's sizzler, the second-fastest IPL hundred that was punctuated with 11 sixes, put an emphatic end to the contest.

Mumbai's bowlers set-up this win with a fine new-ball exhibition that knocked off the top order. Shaun Pollock wasn't leading Mumbai today but his immaculate early spell (4-1-9-1) led an impressive effort that justified their decision to field first. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and S Badrinath stitched together a 95-run stand but 156 was never going to be challenging if even one batsman got going.

It was inevitable. Jayasuriya, who had made a short trip home during Mumbai's extended break, was yet to explode in the IPL and there was nothing Chennai could do once sixes began to drip off his bat. Nonchalant short-arm jabs sailed over the midwicket fence and a few powerful slashes soared over third man. The bowlers were rattled - they leaked wides and drifted on the pads too often - and fed Jayasuriya in his favourite areas. The fact that 102 off his 114 runs came in boundaries, told a story.

It was an innings reminiscent of the mid-90s, a time when Jayasuriya filled bowlers with a sense of fear. In fact it was at the same ground when he hammered an unforgettable 151 not out in the Independence Cup in 1997, an innings that was appreciated in hushed silence. This, though, was a celebration in power-hitting, with the crowd getting fully behind Jayasuriya in his fiery mission. One can only imagine the possibilities if Tendulkar had decided to bat first, allowing Jayasuriya a full 20 overs.

The manner in which he treated his fellow Sri Lankan bowlers was interesting - he attempted a couple of audacious reverse-paddles against Muttiah Muralitharan before blistering Chamara Kapudegera for 26 runs in five balls. He rushed to his hundred with two pulled sixes off Kapugedera - celebrating like a schoolboy who reached his maiden ton - and capped it off with one more that landed on the roof of the Wankhede. It was an unforgettable innings and Mumbai's response to what Adam Gilchrist did to them a few weeks back.

The bowlers deserve an honourable mention. It was a slew of medium-pacers who propelled Mumbai to an upset win over the Rajasthan Royals in the previous game and they utilised bowler-friendly conditions here too. The ball swung around through the innings and six medium-pacers shaped the ball either way to make life difficult for the batsmen.
Pollock turned in a typically miserly spell, including a maiden to finish off against a relatively new Dhoni. Dhoni, who said he would have fielded first had he won the toss, watched his side slump to 46 for 4 with the top order struggling against the accurate medium-pacers.

Pollock should have had Stephen Fleming in the first ball of the second over - when an edge fell just short of first slip - or even in the third - when Jayasuriya muffed a skier at point - but he had to settle for S Vidyut's wicket two balls later when Rohan Raje clung on to another skier at mid-off. Suresh Raina fell poking to an away-swinger from Dwayne Bravo before Kapugedera, the right-hander, did exactly the same to Dhawal Kulkarni's nippy away-cutter.

Dhoni and Badrinath redressed the balance somewhat. The pair improvised when the opportunity presented but it was Dhoni's fierce hitting that gave the bowlers no chance - even if he wasn't in position, the power behind the shots was always going to take it to the boundary ropes. Badrinath, who repertoire ranges from the square drive on the back foot to the paddle over short fine leg, brought up his second successive fifty. It appeared as if it could be a defendable total but Jayasuriya's blitz sunk them in a trice.

source - Cricinfo.com

Friday, May 9, 2008


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