Krishna Chopra, Author at Sportzwiki | Page 298 of 300

Krishna Chopra

A cricket enthusiast who has the passion to write for the sport. An ardent fan of the Indian Cricket Team. Strongly believe in following your passion and living in the present.

IPL 8: Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals – Match Preview

THE GAME:

The Delhi Daredevils and the Rajasthan Royals have got off to extremely contrasting starts in the 2015 IPL. The Daredevils lost a really close encounter against the mighty Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk. With 6 needed off the last ball, Albie Morkel hit a four, only to miss the boundary by mere six feet. On the other hand, the Rajasthan Royals comfortably thrashed the Kings XI Punjab at Pune. James Faulkner once again made a statement that he too was among the heavyweights of the game. His show with the bat, as well as with the ball was outstanding and the Royals easily defended the total of 162.

On 12th of April at Delhi, the hosts Delhi will have a perfect opportunity for redemption and getting off the mark. There is nothing easier than playing at home and winning the game. The Daredevils though, do not seem to be aware of this fact. Their record at the Feroz Shah Kotla has been simply miserable. In 2014, they did not win a single game at the Kotla. In 2013 as well, they struggled at their home turf. This time though, they can get off the mark, by winning at home, and atleast give the home crowd something to cheer.

PREVIOUS YEAR CLASHES:

The two sides in the 2014 IPL first clashed on the 3rd of May at the Kotla. The hosts could manage a moderate total of 152 in their allocated overs. Their batsmen got into the 20’s and the 30’s, but failed to make the starts count. The Royals never looked uncomfortable and chased down the target with ease. For the Royals, it was new recruit Karun Nair, who stole the show. His effortless show with the bat got him the Man of the Match for his innings of 73*.

The teams then clashed on 15th May at Ahmedabad. Batting first, the Royals got to a gigantic total of 201. Once again, it was a team effort with the bat, and every batsman played a crucial hand.  The Daredevils’ batting card was a tale of sorrow and misery. The Daredevils were 91-8, when Manoj Tiwary scored a few runs and stretched the team total till 139. Ajinkya Rahane was the Man of the Match for his knock of 64.

KEY PLAYERS:

JP DUMINY:

In their opening encounter, the Daredevils skipper cleanly wasted his own talent by walking in at no.7 against the Chennai side. In T20’s it is time and again said that the best batsmen should face the maximum number of deliveries. Duminy must understand this and bat at no.3. Against the Royals, Dumniy will have to lead from the front, if the Daredevils are to stay in the hunt.

NATHAN COULTER- NILE:

The Aussie import was sensational for the Daredevils against the Super Kings.  His opening spell right up blew the Chennai batsmen away. He got the crucial wickets of McCullum and Raina with his quick pace and accuracy. He can hit the block hole frequently as well. With Zaheer Khan and Shami, Coulter-Nile is a very healthy prospect for the Daredevils to have.

AJINKYA RAHANE:

Rahane has a special connection with the Feroz Shah Kotla. He made his test debut here and his record in IPL at this ground has been good. Rahane would want to redeem himself after his duck against the Kings XI. One can expect the Royals opener to play a big one and get among the runs. His knock at the top will be crucial in influencing the final total of the Royals.

JAMES FAULKNER:

The Man of the Match of the RR vs KXIP game would surely want to make it two in a row. He was brilliant with the bat against the Punjabis. He severely dealt with Mitchell Johnson and clobbered him. His smart bowling was significant in denting the Kings XI. Expect this firm Kangaroo to be the same against the Delhi Daredevils.

PROBABLE XI:

DELHI DAREDEVILS:

Considering that Shami and Zaheer are back from their minor niggles, one expects them to make it to the playing XI.

1. CM Gautam 2. S.Iyer 3. JP Duminy 4. Y. Singh 5. A. Mathews 6. A. Morkel 7. K. Jadhav 8. N. Coulter-Nile 9. Z. Khan 10. A. Mishra 11. M. Shami

RAJASTHAN ROYALS:

Clouds still loom over the fitness of Shane Watson. His place in the XI is still not certain as his injury status in not fully known.

1. A. Rahane 2. S. Samson 3. S. Smith 4. K. Nair 5. D. Hooda 6. J. Faulkner 7. S. Binny 8. C. Morris 9. T. Southee 10. D. Kulkarni 11. P. Tambe

PREDICTION:

The well settled Royals are the favourites for this game.

 

 

 

 

IPL 8: Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab – Match Preview

THE GAME:

The beautiful Wankhede stadium will be the host for the Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab clash on the 12th of April. The two sides have got their respective campaigns off to seriously unwanted starts. The Mumbai and the Punjab side lost to Kolkata and Rajasthan respectively. While the Mumbai Indians failed in defending a reasonable total, the Kings XI were unsuccessful in chasing down a healthy total. Now at the Wankhede, both these teams would want to get off the mark in style. A loss at the Wankhede will add severe burden to the side which loses.

The Mumbai Indians initially hobbled against the Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. It was the duo of Corey Anderson and Rohit Sharma, which got them to safe waters and posted a healthy total. Rohit played an impeccable knock of 98* in the meantime. But, their bowlers never looked like threatening the KKR batsmen, and were eventually defeated. The only positive for the Mumbai side was that Rohit Sharma opened and this meant that he could play the maximum amount of deliveries. The Kings XI on the other hand got a clear lesson that their hard hitting batsmen must also know the ways of rotating the strike. Slogging against accurate bowlers means a constant danger.

PREVIOUS YEAR CLASHES:

The two sides battled it out at the Wankhede on 3rd May 2014. It was a reasonably high scoring game as the Kings batted first and made 169. The Mumbai batsmen lost a couple of early wickets but then captain marvelous Rohit Sharma guided them. Along with Corey Anderson, Rohit struck a fine partnership. Towards the end, the meaty blows of Kieron Pollard did the job for the Mumbai Indians as they won with 5 balls to spare. This was also their first win of the tournament, after their 5 losses in the UAE leg.

18 days later, the two sides again clashed, but this time in Mohali. The match story was quite similar as the first meeting. Batting first, the Kings XI made 156, with skipper Bailey scoring 39. The Mumbai Indians looked comfortable and cruised through a win. Opener Lendl Simmons scored a fine 100* and further cemented his place as an opener. This time, the Mumbai Indians won with an over to spare.

KEY PLAYERS:

ROHIT SHARMA:

Rohit Sharma played like a man on a serious mission against the Knight Riders. He blocked; he defended; he drove; and he attacked ferociously. His innings had every aspect covered. Against the likes of Mitchell Johnson and co, Rohit will have to once again lead by example. The question of consistency has often hurt Rohit. Very rarely, has Rohit amassed huge runs in successive games. The law of averages has quickly caught up with Rohit time and again. Tomorrow though, he has a perfect opportunity to change that.

LASITH MALINGA:

In the last 12 months gone by, Malinga has looked like a poor and pale shadow of himself. His pace has gone down by 5 km/hr and he fails to find the block hole. Against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Malinga failed to strike, and the Mumbai Indians lost a great plot. Their bowling is massively orbited around Malinga. If Malinga fails, then Mumbai more often than not finish second in a game.

MURALI VIJAY:

The entire spotlight has been on Virender Sehwag. Very few have noticed the presence of Murali Vijay in the Kings XI Punjab. Vijay looked one hundred percent graceful against the Royals. His cover drives were just awe-inspiring. He looked in extremely good shape, before he was run out. Vijay has a great opportunity ahead of him at the Wankhede. With Virender Sehwag at the other end, he doesn’t have to care about scoring quickly. He can settle in, and play his gorgeous shots.

MITCHELL JOHNSON:

Johnson started off brilliantly against the Royals. Towards the end though, he was taken to the cleaners by James Faulkner. On the 12th of April, Johnson will have to strike in his first spell. He had some history with Rohit Sharma during India’s recent Down Under tour. It will be imperative of Johnson to dismiss him early.

PROBABLE XI:

MUMBAI INDIANS:

Jasprit Bumrah was hammered by the KKR batsmen. He will mostly be replaced by either A. Mithun or Pawan Suyal.

1. A. Finch 2. R. Sharma 3. A. Rayudu 4. A. Tare 5. C. Anderson 6. K. Pollard 7. H. Singh 8. S. Gopal/ P. Ojha 9. L. Malinga 10. R. Vinaykumar 11. J. Bumrah/ A. Mithun/ P. Suyal

KINGS XI PUNJAB:

It is essential that the Kings XI get their batting order correct. Bailey must bat higher up the order. Another addition for them might be Rishi Dhawan, who would replace Karanveer Singh.

1.  V. Sehwag 2. M. Vijay 3. W. Saha 4. G. Maxwell 5. G. Bailey 6. D. Miller 7. A. Patel 8. R. Dhawan 9. M. Johnson 10. S. Sharma 11. A. Singh

 

 

IPL 8: Match 5- KKR v RCB Preview

PROBABLE XI o KKR v RCB:

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS:

1. G. Gambhir 2. R. Uthappa 3. M. Pandey  4. S. Yadav 5. Y. Pathan 6. S. Hasan 7. A. Russel 8. P. Chawla 9. S. Narine 10. U. Yadav 11. M. Morkel

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE:

1. C. Gayle 2. Mandeep Singh 3. V. Kohli 4. AB De Villiers 5. D. Karthik  6. D. Sammy 7. Sean Abbott 8. V. Aaron 9. A. Nechim 10. Y. Chahal 11. I. Abdullah

THE GAME:

On the 11th of April, two extremely contrasting sides will clash at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The hosts, Kolkata Knight Riders, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore are two sides who are poles apart. The strengths and weaknesses of these teams differ greatly. The only common aspect between these teams lies in their leadership. Firstly, both the teams are led by two Delhiites. Secondly, both the men in command of their respective sides are known for their mercurial temper and mindset. But both also know the ways to win matches at any given cost. Watching the hosts led by Gautam Gambhir, take on the Virat Kohli led Bangalore side will be really interesting.

The Knight Riders rely mainly on their bowling. Their spinners, on supporting decks are a priceless commodity. The Royal Challengers on the other hand, are known for their batting muscle. With the likes of Gayle, Kohli, De Villiers and Sammy in the ranks, no boundary is sizeable enough for these batsmen. The Royal Challengers will play their first game on Saturday, and would want to get off to a winning start. The Knight Riders on the other hand would want to carry the momentum from their emphatic win against the Mumbai Indians.

PREVIOUS YEAR CLASHES:

The teams first clashed in the 2014 IPL in UAE on the 24th of April 2014. That game is etched into the memories of cricket viewers only because of one reason – the acrobatic catch taken by Chris Lynn to dismiss AB De Villiers in the last over. The Knight Riders batted first and got to a moderate total of 150, thanks to the contributions of Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav. The Royal Challengers Bangalore were on their way to victory, before they endured a monumental choke! The Bangalore side needed just 29 from 26 balls, with 8 wickets in hand. But then, with Kohli being dismissed, the Bangalore batsmen made a complete mess. With 6 needed off 3 balls, AB played a wild slog over deep midwicket. What followed ahead was simply miraculous. Chris Lynn, who was just inches away from the boundary slipped, only to regain his balance and take the catch out of thin air. The Royal Challengers eventually lost by 2 runs.

The teams then clashed at the Eden Gardens on the 22nd of May. KKR, batting first made a whopping 195, courtesy of some brilliance by Uthappa and Shakib Al Hasan. The Royal Challengers never looked in the game, and lost it by 30 runs. Robin Uthappa was the Man of the Match, for his superb knock of 83*.

KEY PLAYERS 

GAUTAM GAMBHIR:

The KKR skipper got off to a flying start against the Mumbai Indians. Gambhir played like the Gambhir of the good old times, when he got on top of every bowler. His inside out shots against Harbhajan, and his huge six off Ojha, were delightful sights for the viewers. Against the Royal Challengers, Gambhir will have another opportunity to do well. His best IPL score, 93, came against this very side at this very ground.

MORNE MORKEL:

The tall South African pacer was at his lethal best against the Mumbai Indians. Morkel generated steep bounce and at a rapid pace. He was simply too hot to handle. Against the likes of Chris Gayle and Kohli, Morkel’s contribution will be crucial. His first burst to Gayle will have a great impact on the match.

CHRIS GAYLE:

The Jamaican giant was in great touch in the World Cup. The IPL, is his favourite stage. It was at this very ground in 2011, that Gayle got to his first IPL ton, which began the procession of IPL tons for Gayle. The West Indian macho would want to be among the runs from the first game itself. If he does that, then viewers are in for some serious entertainment!

VIRAT KOHLI:

The Royal Challengers skipper was mocked by a lot of fans after the World Cup semi final loss to Australia. Kohli would want to make that a thing of the past. To do so, Kohli would have to fire from the very first game itself.  Expect the hard hitting Bangalore captain to make a bold statement with the bat against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

 PREDICTION:

Expect the Knight Riders to start as the favourites for this encounter. Their spinners might be too much for the Royal Challengers batsmen to handle.

 

IPL8: Condom ad on jersey leaves Kings XI Punjab players red faced

IPL8: Condom ad on jersey leaves Kings XI Punjab players red faced

A rather awkward and discomforting situation has risen for the high profile players of the star studded IPL side of Kings XI Punjab. The Punjab franchise, which has prominent names like Virender Sehwag, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey in its ranks, has collaborated with a major condom brand.

The deal was finalized and brought into the limelight at the very last moment. The brand, Manforce Condoms is manufactured by New Delhi based pharmaceutical heavyweights Mankind Pharma. The deal was precisely made on Tueday morning.

As per the reports of a leading Indian newspaper, Kings XI Punjab team co owner Mohit Burman was quoted saying, “Manforce will figure on the back of the jerseys along with our other main sponsor Tata Prime.” As soon as the new designed jerseys were handed over to the players, there was some gauche feeling present in the air. The players looked extremely uncomfortable, and their shy smiles said it all.

A King XI Punjab player, who looked completely flummoxed and shy, went on to say, “I don’t know what to say; my family will be watching and it’s an embarrassing situation. Also, friends are bound to tease us.” The player was quoted saying so by the Hindustan Times, on the basis of anonymity.

Going by the IPL rule books, as laid down by the IPL management, there is no such rule, which prohibits the sponsoring of an IPL side through a contraceptive brand. Safe to say, this though is the first instance that has come to light. This statement was reiterated by IPL Governing Council chairman Rajiv Shukla, who said, “We have seen such products (male contraceptives) being advertised on TV during matches, but we don’t have guidelines that limit a franchise from getting one as a team sponsor.”

The IPL side from Punjab now has as many as 20 sponsors for this edition of the IPL. It is completely safe to state that the Kings XI should not face any financial woe in this edition.

“The sheer volume of male viewers, who are our target group, made a lot of business sense for creating strong brand awareness around Manforce,” Eshita, assistant product manager, Mankind, was quoted saying.

The Kings XI Punjab begin their campaign against the Rajasthan Royals in Pune on the 10th of April.

The Deadliest bowling attack in the IPL – Sunrisers Hyderabad

In this era of T20 cricket and the opulent Indian Premier League, it’s the batsmen who hog the limelight more often than not with willow-wielders being darling of the crowd. Very rarely, do we come across a headline, which glorifies the performance of a bowler in an IPL game. The rules in cricket these days have been entirely biased in favour of the batsmen. The batsmen seem to be the favoured breed of cricketers. From chunky bat sizes to small boundaries to field restrictions – literally everything favours the batsmen. But under such vulnerable circumstances, the bowlers have found a way to make a mark and create an impression. With almost every rule against them, the bowlers still manage to trouble the batsmen in the IPL.

One such team in the IPL, which regularly troubles the batsmen, is none other than the team, emerging from the Land of the Nawabs – Sunrisers Hyderabad!

The Sunrisers Hyderabad by far, have the deadliest bowling attack in the IPL. They have names in their ranks, who can strike fear within the heart of any batsman. It was solely the due efforts of their bowling, which led them till the playoffs of the 2013 IPL edition, which was also their debut. In the 2015 IPL player auctions, the Sunrisers’ management played their cards extremely wisely, and ensured that they bought personnel, who could amplify the effect of their bowling. The side from Hyderabad has the following names in their deadly bowling attack – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dale Steyn, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Karn Sharma.

These bowlers spearhead their respective national sides. Just imagine the consequence when these spearheads will team up together for the Sunrisers Hyderabad! Complete misery for the batsmen, that’s for the taking. These bowlers are so skillful at their work that they never let the batsmen get away with their game. These bowlers have the knack of picking wickets frequently. Having names like Boult, Bhuvneshwar and Steyn gives the Sunrisers Hyderabad a massive psychological advantage, even before the game commences. That is almost half the battle won even without getting on to the field. The mindset of the batsmen changes completely against these star bowlers. Rather than thinking of going for the offensive and attacking, the batsmen will go into their shell, and think of survival and nothing else.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the revolving figure around the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar, will have the onus of making the new ball count, and count big time. In the previous edition of the IPL, Kumar was simply phenomenal for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was his first season for the side then. His new ball spells were way too thorny for the batsmen to negate. His show with the new ball was simply terrific. He even went on to outshine his new ball partner, and South African sensation Dale Steyn. The swing generated by Kumar, and the control over the new ball was like a coaching lesson for all the aspiring bowlers.

Bhuvenshwar’s accuracy was the highlight of his sensational campaign. His ability to swing the ball into the right hander, and away from the left hander simply seems to be God gifted! The Sunrisers got off to a poor start in the previous IPL, as they lost their opening two games. But then, Bhuvi, with his stellar display turned the fortunes around for the Sunrisers, with his brilliance. The numbers also reiterate the brilliance of Kumar in the previous edition. In 14 games, the swing sensation got 20 wickets, at an average of 17.70 and an economy rate of 6.65, with a wicket every 15.95 balls. These are the numbers of a champion, and nothing else! Kumar was so emphatic that even Dale Steyn said that he was learning the art of controlling the new ball from Kumar. Now that is some compliment from the world’s best pacer!

Dale Steyn is a profusely lethal weapon which the Hyderabad based franchise have. His credentials as a wicket taking bowler are well known. Steyn was a major contributor for the Sunrisers, when they qualified for the playoffs in 2013. Steyn is so accurate with the ball that the pitch condition rarely has an influence on his performance. Provide Steyn with a green top or a flat lifeless pitch, he will make the batsmen dance to his tunes everywhere. The most fascinating aspect about Steyn has been his ability to pick wickets at crucial intervals. Steyn’s premier strength lies in his ability to swing the ball in excess of 145 km/hr. His sheer pace is hostile enough for the batsmen. When sharp swing is added to that pace, then it becomes a complete nightmare for the batsmen. The previous edition was a disappointing one for Steyn, as he was expensive and not among the wickets. Eventually, the Sunrisers too struggled in their campaign. With a new edition around, expect Steyn to be back at his best and deliver the goods for his side.

Trent Boult, has been a revelation for New Zealand. He was simply fabulous in the recently concluded ICC World Cup 2015. Boult was the tournament’s leading wicket taker with Mitchell Starc. Boult’s strength lies in getting the ball to move into the right handed batsman. He is an extremely cunning and sharp left arm pacer. His pace, like Steyn is usually above the 140km/hr mark. In the death overs as well, Boult has the capability of bowling the toe crushing yorkers. Boult can form an annihilating partnership with Steyn and Bhuvneshwar. These three world class bowlers have a unique set of skills. They have different individual strengths. The three can integrate, and make life incredibly tough for the batsmen.

The Indian trio of Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Karn Sharma complete the deadly bowling lineup of the Sunrisers. Praveen can viciously swing the ball both ways. His control is fantastic as well. His secret weapon is his deceiving slower one. Praveen Kumar is more often than not economical. Ishant Sharma’s main asset is his lanky body structure. He delivers the ball from a height of almost 8 feet! Now that’s some trouble for the batsmen! If Ishant gets his consistency right, then he can be among the wickets for sure. Karn Sharma, the wrist spinner has been great for the Sunrisers ever since he made his IPL debut for them. His trajectory and accuracy are the key reasons behind his success.

All in all, the Sunrisers bowling looks extremely intimidating. Facing these bowlers will be a mammoth task for the batsmen. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, if the Sunrisers dismiss a side for less than 100 in this IPL. Their bowling has all the ingredients, which are needed to lift the trophy. Only the question of performing on the big day remains.

Match Preview – Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals

Match Preview: Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals          

Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals are the two sides which genuinely believe in the term “young and unexplored talent”. These two sides have time and again provided us with some fresh faces, who have entertained viewers with their sparkling performances.

On the 10th of April, the two teams will lock horns at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune. It may seem entirely weird, but Pune is indeed the “home” venue for the Kings XI Punjab. A team based in the heart of North India playing its home game in the West, that’s some variety, folks! The teams look settled at this moment. The one common aspect about both the teams is that their overseas players are mostly Australians, who are fresh from a great World Cup triumph. If the Kings XI have Maxwell, then the Royals have the Australian run machine Steve Smith. David Miller of Punjab is countered by James Faulkner of the Royals. All in all, the battle between the Royals and the Kings XI is a highly awaited one.

PREVIOUS CLASHES:

In the 2014 edition, the two sides clashed with each other twice. On both the occasions, it were the Kings XI, who got the better of the Royals. Both the encounters were high scoring ones. In the first match played at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the Kings XI chased down 191 in just 18.4 overs. The Maxwell-Miller show simply ripped apart the Royals bowlers. The duo shared 12 sixes between them and Maxwell was the Man of the Match for his knock of 89 off 45.

In the second clash, the Kings XI tested their bench strength, and everyone in the batting contributed equally. The target of 180 was always way too much for the Royals, who scratched their way to 163. The Man of the Match in that game was Shaun Marsh.

KEY PLAYERS:

VIRENDER SEHWAG:

The India discard might be wearing glasses now-a-days, but his ability to tear apart the bowlers still remains intact. Sehwag’s blazing starts will be crucial for Punjab’s success in this IPL. The Pune wicket is a batting paradise for set batsmen, and Sehwag already has a 50+ score here. So, if Sehwag stays in till the 6th over, then expect some fireworks!

GLENN MAXWELL:

The Man of the Tournament of the previous IPL has been in riveting form. He was a key pillar for the Australians in the recently concluded World Cup. His quick bat speed and clean hitting brought a lot of success for Punjab in the previous IPL. He was an enigma for the men from Punjab. His contribution in the middle overs will be the difference for Punjab. Fireworks from Maxwell will mean a major advantage to the Kings.

STEVE SMITH:

The young Aussie batting sensation has found unbelievable success batting at no.3. Against the Kings XI, Smith is expected to bat at no.3 once again. Smith’s presence will guide the batting prowess of the Rajasthan Royals. His ability to counter Mitchell Johnson will be significant. With skipper Watson not in the best of form, the onus will be on Smith to deliver.

JAMES FAULKNER:

This free spirited Kangaroo has been in the headlines ever since he burst onto the scene. Faulkner has done literally everything for the Royals. From taking 5 fors to finishing the games with big hits, Faulkner is capable of handling any pressure. His canny bowling against the likes of Maxwell and Miller will be crucial. So will his batting against the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Axar Patel. When this Aussie connects, the ball often goes out of the park!

PROBABLE XI:

KINGS XI PUNJAB:

1. Virender Sehwag 2. M. Vohra/M. Vijay 3. W. Saha (wk)  4. G. Bailey 5. G. Maxwell  6. D. Miller 7. R. Dhawan 8. A. Patel 9. M. Johnson 10. S. Sharma 11. P. Awana

RAJASTHAN ROYALS:

1. A. Rahane 2. K. Nair 3. S. Smith (c) 4. S. Samson (wk) 5. Tim Southee 6. J. Faulkner 7. S. Binny 8. R. Bhatia 9. C. Morris 10. P. Tambe 11. D. Kulkarni

Match Prediction: Kings XI Punjab should trounce Rajasthan Royals on basis of powerful middle-order.

 

 

 

 

 

IPL Preview – Royal Challengers Bangalore

When the term “entertaining side” is affiliated with the Indian Premier League, only one name juggles around in the minds of cricket fanatics – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE. It will just be an understatement to say that the Royal Challengers Bangalore play the most entertaining brand of cricket. The Bangalore side has time and again provided the viewers with some mouth watering clashes. Their never say die attitude is what makes them a massively adored team.

But somewhere down the line, the glorious Royal Challengers Bangalore has failed to live up to the expectations of its fans. They begin every campaign on a really promising note. Rather than carrying the momentum further and building on it, the personnel make a mess of the things. In almost every edition, the men from Bangalore have been humbled in the mid stage of the tournament. More often than not, it is their bowling which has let them down. It seems as though their bowling does not even show half the resilience as their mighty batting.

The best example of this was against the Rajasthan Royals in the 2014 edition of the IPL. Batting first, the Royal Challengers made a whopping 190, thanks to some brilliance from AB De Villiers and Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj played one gem of a knock and made 83 off just 37 balls. While chasing, the Royals were struggling at 108-5 at the end of the 14th over. With 83 needed from 36, it should have been Bangalore’s game. But what followed ahead stunned everyone! The Royals chased down the target with 7 balls to spare! The men from Bangalore couldn’t recover from this shock in the tournament. If the Royal Challengers are to win an IPL title, then their bowling will have to shoulder the responsibility along with their batting!

PAST PERFORMANCES:

2008: 7th Place

2009: Runners Up

2010: 3rd Place

2011: Runners Up

2012: 5th Place

2013: 5th Place

2014: 7th Place

CURRENT SQUAD:

V Kohli (c), V Aaron, S Abbott, A Ahmed, S Badrinath, S Bhavane, M Bisla, Y Chahal, AB de Villiers, A Dinda, C Gayle, I Abdulla, K Karthik†, S Khan, N Maddinson, M. Singh, A Milne, H Patel, R Rossouw, D Sammy, S  Warrier, J Saxena, M Starc, Y Takawale, D Wiese, V Zol

STRENGTH:

Analyzing the strengths of the Royal Challengers Bangalore is no big deal. Without an iota of doubt, it is their zealous batting capacity which is their core strength. As far as the tournament comparison is concerned, only the Chennai Super Kings come close to the batting prowess of the Royal Challengers. With the likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers and Darren Sammy in the side, the Royal Challengers need not worry about chasing huge totals. This batting lineup can annihilate any possible bowling attack on the globe. These batsmen are simple T20 maniacs! They have the ability to make renowned international bowlers look like mere club bowlers.

Just consider this situation of a side, which is bowling against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The bowlers have to dismiss Gayle quickly anyhow, otherwise its apocalypse for them! On dismissing Gayle, they have to get rid of the Indian sensation Virat Kohli, whose run making appetite is outstanding. After Virat, comes the burden of dismissing AB De Villiers, who can play shots throughout the ground. And finally, the bowlers also have to dismiss the Saint Lucian giant Darren Sammy! Such is the batting prowess of the Royal Challengers!

WEAKNESS:

If the batting of the Royal Challengers is the best among all the teams, then its their bowling which is the worst among all the teams. The Bangalore bowling has been a mere joke! They have failed to defend massive totals, and their bowlers have been an utter liability to the side. The bowling of the Bangalore side is so weak that it adds unnecessary pressure on their star batsmen. In the current squad as well, Aaron and Dinda will be a part of the playing eleven. Both these pacers offer a lot to the batsmen. They have very little control over their bowling and their full tosses are a welcome sight for any batsman. To make matters entirely worse for them, Mitchell Starc, the no.1 ODI bowler has been ruled out for the first three weeks of the IPL! That surely will not help their cause one bit!

OPPORTUNITY:

The start of every IPL season is like a fresh morning. It’s full of positivity and vibes of optimism surround a side. The Royal Challengers Bangalore can take a cue from the above statement and begin their campaign on a positive note. One opportunity is that in Virat Kohli, they have a leader who is completely lion hearted. Kohli’s aggression is his X factor. With the bat, he is absolutely ruthless. Kohli is an individual, who relishes winning like nothing else. And with seven seasons already gone, Kohli would want to win the IPL crown at any cost. Doing so, will stimulate him big time, in taking measures which will lead to the betterment of his side. He will bat with far more aggression and control, and will look to win the title at any given cost! Another opportunity is that the Royal Challengers also have some stability with the bat. In the middle order, they have S. Badrinath, who can steady an innings with ease. Their wicket keeper is Dinesh Karthik, who has been highly successful in the IPL. Thus, the odds might be highly in favour of the Virat Kohli led side.

THREAT:

The threat faced by the Royal Challengers Bangalore is an eminent one. Their spin bowling is a massive source of worry. The Bangalore side does not have a reputed spinner at its disposal. They surely have the talented Chahal, but he is excruciatingly short of experience. They also have Iqbal Abdulla, but his inconsistency hurts his team big time. The spin bowling woes are worrying signs for Virat Kohli. In India, the slow surfaces assist spinners the most. The absence of successful spinners will hurt the Royal Challengers big time. On Indian surfaces, the inaccurate bowling of their pacers will be the difference between a win and loss for them!

FIXTURES:

1. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 11th April (8:00 pm) at Kolkata

2. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 13th April (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

3. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians – 19th April (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

4. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings – 22nd April (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

5. Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 24th April (8:00 pm) at Ahmedabad

6. Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 26th April (8:00 pm) at Delhi

7. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals – 29th April (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

8. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders – 2nd May (4:00 pm) at Bangalore

9. Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 4th May (4:00 pm) at Chennai

10. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab – 6th May (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

11. Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 10th May (4:00 pm) at Mumbai

12. Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 13th May (8:00 pm) at Mohali

13. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 15th April (8:00 pm) at Hyderabad

14. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils – 17th May (4:00 pm) at Bangalore

LIKELY POSITION:

Considering the batting talent, the Royal Challengers should make it to the playoffs. From there, it will be the question of how their bowling shapes up on a particular day.

Top 5 IPL Controversies

It is habitually said that any successful thing on this planet can not escape intact without its dose of hardships and controversies. It is one hundred per cent just to state that the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is no exception to the eyebrow raising controversies. Like any successful event on this globe, the opulent Indian Premier League has time and again been embroiled in several hard hitting controversies. At times, the degree of the controversies have been so overwhelming that a few individuals have also faced a life ban from cricket! This speaks a huge volume about the turmoil which has spread through the IPL at times. Since the inception of the league, not even a single season has gone without its fair share of controversies. In this article though, we slip back into time and have a look at the top 5 controversies, which have been a part of the Indian Premier League.

5. Slap-Gate:

This was the first destitution which plagued the IPL. The tournament was just one week old, when this unfortunate incident occurred. The incident took light on the 25th of April 2008. The Kings XI Punjab, led by the dynamic Yuvraj Singh took on the Harbhajan Singh led Mumbai Indians at Mohali. The game was a complete one sided affair, with the hosts winning by a huge margin of 66 runs. But what transpired in the post match setup shook everybody. As the two teams were shaking hands, Harbhajan Singh reportedly slapped Kings XI pacer S.Sreesanth. Within minutes, the TV cameras got a glimpse of Sreesanth in tears. It was then known that Sreesanth, while shaking hands with Harbhajan mouthed a “hard luck”, which provoked the mercurial Indian spinner.

Harbhajan, though, had a different tale to narrate. Singh allegedly said that he had warned Sreesanth before the match, to make sure that he doesn’t “sledge” any of his Mumbai team mates. But poor Sreesanth took this as a mere joke, and went on to say a few hard words to Robin Uthappa, the Mumbai Indians batsman and Sreesanth’s close friend as well. This irked Bhajji big time, who then took the ill fated step. In return, Harbhajan was banned for the rest of the IPL, and for a few international games. 

4. Ganguly–Warne spat:

This unwanted controversy involved two undoubted legends of the game fighting it out. Like the previous one, this jaw dropping controversy irrupted again in the very first season of the IPL. The Warne led Royals took on the Knight Riders led by the Prince of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly. The Royals posted a healthy 196 on board, and gave the Knight Riders a stiff challenge. The men from Kolkata desperately needed to get a move on, and were 100-3, by the end of 12 overs. Ganguly came as an opener, and was still at the crease. It was the last ball of the 13th over when Yusuf Pathan bowled a slow-short ball to Ganguly. Ganguly went deep back in his crease and pulled against the turn. Graeme Smith ran full length from deep midwicket and took the catch just before it could hit the turf. The Royals were celebrating, but Ganguly stood his ground and asked the umpire to refer the catch upstairs. This irked Shane Warne, as Ganguly was given the benefit of the doubt. Abuses were exchanged between the two, and eventually both were fined. Nonetheless, now the two legends are good friends again, but are often seen in the commentary box together.

3. Pollard–Starc:

This has to be the ugliest confrontation to have occurred in the IPL between two individuals. The Royal Challengers took on the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on the 6th of May 2014. The incident occurred in the 17th over of the Mumbai innings. Mitchell Starc, bowled a quick bouncer to Pollard and went to mouth something provocative. However, Pollard didn’t respond and just made a hand gesture to Starc, indicating him to go back to his position. The next ball however changed the reputation of the IPL once and for all. Starc was in his run up when Pollard backed away and moved to the leg side. This enraged Starc who threw the ball in Pollard’s direction but a few inches away. Anger got the better of Pollard, who hurled his bat towards the Aussie quick. However, Pollard controlled his throw, and the bat fell near Pollard himself. The two continued to give each other the looks filled with frustration. At the end, Pollard had the last laugh as Mumbai won the game. However, till date, Pollard and Starc do not see each other eye to the eye.

2. SRK Push:

This was without second thoughts, the ugliest controversy to involve a team owner. This occurred on the 16th of May 2012, once again at the Wankhede stadium. The Knight Riders had thrashed the hosts Mumbai Indians by 32 runs in a low scoring game. After the victory though, Shah Rukh Khan, the KKR owner entered the stadium with his companions, among who were mostly kids. However, the security guards at the stadium prohibited SRK from entering the premises, and in the process, man handled a few kids. This enraged the Bollywood superstar, who began abusing the guards. Not just abuses, SRK and the guards even pushed each other, and were willing to knock each other down. However, things were diffused in the nick of time. Some security guards allege that SRK was completely drunk. Yet, even after 3 years of the incident, no one exactly knows the details about the controversy. Only SRK’s 5 year ban from the Wankhede stadium is known!

1. Spot Fixing:

When the term “fixing” is by anyway associated with cricket, then the result is bound to be profusely filthy!  Several episodes of match and spot fixing have been linked with cricket. But the one engulfing the IPL had adverse consequences on the league. The episode of match fixing was brought to light in the 2013 edition. The episode was highlighted in the Wankhede Stadium yet again! Three players of the Rajasthan Royals (Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan) were arrested and they were a part of a massive nexus. Their modus operandi was to give a certain amount of runs in a particular over, as promised to the bookies. Their signal would be the sweat towels which they placed in their pants. On the 15th of May 2013 at the Wankhede stadium, Ankit Chavan gave 15 runs in an over to Glenn Maxwell. This was a pre decided and a fixed over. Post the game, the Mumbai police arrested the three individuals, and they were later jailed. A murky web of fixing was also discovered which outlined the IPL. In return, the three faced a life ban.

 

Controversies though, can be taken care off, if they are handled well. But if they are not managed properly, then the IPL’s image will continue to be maligned.

 

IPL Preview – Delhi Daredevils

Underwhelming. Irresolute.  Laid-back. The journey of the Delhi Daredevils since the inception of the IPL can be framed in these three words. The Daredevils by far, have been the most disappointing outfit of the cash-rich Indian Premier League. The team in Red has struggled endlessly since the past few seasons. They have reasonable fire power in their defenses, but always end up second in a contest. To make matters excruciatingly worse, they fail to even utilize the full talent capacity. To frame it in a bold but justifying way, it is absolutely fair to say that had there been a system to relegate trailing sides; the Delhi side would be the first one to be relegated!

The Daredevils have had some really fascinating names in their side since the first edition itself. But somewhere down the line, these names have not been able to live up to their reputations and deliver the goods for the team based in the Indian capital. More than anything else, the Delhi side has been plagued by severe mismanagement of talent. The Daredevils have not made complete use of their resources. They have often adopted the “start-stop” approach with players, where a player is given a couple of games, but due to failing in just a couple of games, that individual has been dumped. A lot of successful sides have preferred to give failing individuals a rope, so that they gain their confidence and form back.

This time around, the management and the owners have once again opted for a fresh, new looked side. The side has a few players, who can single handedly win games for their sides. But will the Daredevils finally achieve success is what matters!

PAST PERFORMANCES:

2008: 4th Place

2009: 3rd Place

2010: 5th Place

2011: 10th Place

2012: 3rd Place

2013: 9th Place

2014: 8th Place

CURRENT SQUAD:

JP Duminy, M Agarwal, K Bharat, N Coulter-Nile, Q de Kock, D Joseph, C Gautam, T Head, Imran Tahir, SS Iyer, K Jadhav, K Jiyas, Z Khan, A Mathews, A Mishra, Mohammed Shami, A Morkel, S Nadeem, G Sandhu, M Stoinis, M Tiwary, S Tiwary, J Unadkat, J Yadav, Yuvraj Singh

STRENGTH:

With glittering names like Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami and Manoj Tiwary in the squad, the Daredevils need not worry about experience. The Delhi side has a lot of depth and experience. All these reputed names are seasoned campaigners. They know what is exactly needed to win and win big! Experience does hold a lot of value in a tournament like the IPL. The veterans can bring all their experience into play and can take their side to the victorious end. More than anything else, these experienced names can pass on some valuable tips to the youngsters, who have just taken baby steps into high-profile cricket. To sum it up, it is the sheer experience which can get Delhi to the positive side.

WEAKNESS:

One clear weakness which the Delhi Daredevils have is of facing some intense competition from the other sides. The other sides have been way too dominant against the Daredevils. To simplify the theory, one can figure out the following piece of stat: The Daredevils have a win percentage of over 50, against just two sides. Ironically, both the teams are now defunct (Deccan Chargers, Pune Warriors India)! The Delhi side has failed to click together as a unit. However, the team for this edition is a new one, and only time will dictate their success!

OPPORTUNITY:

This revamped Delhi side has one crystal clear opportunity, which lies ahead. That opportunity is the motivation and the desire to win and succeed. The Daredevils have never even made it to the IPL final, leave alone winning the crown. The management and the coaching staff, who have been with the Daredevils for a really long time now, would want to finally end up on the winning side. From the point of view of the squad members, the motivation factor would be winning the IPL crown as well. From this current pool of players, only Albie Morkel and Manoj Tiwary have been the players to be involved in a winning final. Winning the crown will be a massive motivation for the entire squad, and they would not want to leave any stone unturned for that!

THREAT:

Forecasting the possible threats for the Delhi Daredevils requires no rocket science! In all the previous editions, whenever the Daredevils have lost a game, they have found it very hard to make a comeback. Somewhere down the line, the Daredevils lack the spirit of resilience and fighting back in the critical situations. Another possible threat for them would be captaincy. JP Duminy, the talented South African has been appointed as the captain. But, promoting Duminy as the captain, ahead of Mathews and Yuvraj clearly defies cricketing logic! Mathews has been a successful leader for Sri Lanka, and always leads from the front and by example. Thus, delegating Duminy as the skipper is really baffling.

FIXTURES:

1. Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils – 9th April (8:00 pm) at Chennai

2. Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals – 12th April (4:00 pm) at Delhi

3. Kings XI Punjab vs Delhi Daredevils –15th April (8:00 pm) at Pune

4. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Daredevils – 18th April (4:00 pm) at Vizag

5. Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders – 20th April (8:00 pm) at Delhi

6. Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians – 23rd April (8:00 pm) at Delhi

7. Delhi Daredevils vsRoyal Challengers Bangalore – 26th April (8:00 pm) at Delhi

8. Delhi Daredevils vs Kings XI Punjab – 1st May (4:00 pm) at Delhi

9. Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Daredevils – 3rd May (8:00 pm) at Mumbai (Brabourne)

10. Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils – 5th May (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

11. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Daredevils –7th May (8:00 pm) at Kolkata

12. Delhi Daredevils vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 9th May (8:00 pm) at Raipur

13. Delhi Daredevils vs Chennai Super Kings – 12th May (8:00 pm) at Raipur

14. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils – 17th May (4:00 pm) at Bangalore

LIKELY POSITION:

Considering the sheer strength of the other sides, another disappointing season for the Daredevils might be on the cards. An eight finish is a possibility.  

 

IPL Preview – Mumbai Indians

The Mumbai Indians has been as similar as the city of Mumbai. Very rough and scratchy in patches, but a class apart in some crucial matters. The Mumbai Indians has ocean full of talent. But unfortunately, the team has criminally wasted talent in the past. In the past auctions, the buying and retaining strategies levied by their owners have been completely baffling and defying cricketing logic. But in the 2015 Auction, the Mumbai Indians owners were among the smartest buyers. They did not shell out in opulence, neither did they let go a talented individual. 

The previous campaign for the Mumbai Indians began on the most catastrophic note. They lost all their games in the UAE leg, and played like a massively fatigued side. But as soon as they reached Indian shores, their form was back. Suddenly, they found a sensational opening pair in Mike Hussey and Lendl Simmons. Their pacers came to the party, and they were back to their best. In what can be termed as the most tense IPL game till date, the Mumbai Indians chased down a colossal total of 190 in just 14.4 overs, to move ahead of the Rajasthan Royals and sneak their way into the quarters. That was one hell of a game indeed!

However, every IPL season is like a fresh morning. The players have to begin from scratch, and should build from ground zero. Analyzing the Mumbai based franchise is an interesting task, and we go about doing it.

PAST PERFORMANCES:

2008: 5th Place

2009: 7th Place

2010: Runners Up

2011: Third Place

2012: Fourth Place

2013: Winners

2014: Fourth Place

CURRENT SQUAD:

R Sharma ( c ), C Anderson, A Blizzard, J Bumrah, U Chand, M de Lange, A Finch, S Gopal, Harbhajan Singh, J Hazlewood, S Lad, M McClenaghan, L Malinga, A Mithun, P Ojha, H Pandya, P Patel†, K Pollard, N Rana,  Rayudu, L Simmons, J Suchith, P Suyal, A Tare, R Vinay Kumar, A Wakhare

STRENGTH:

Forecasting the strengths of the Mumbai Indians is a no brainer for the taking. It is their batting clout, which makes them a highly successful T20 side. To be precise, it is their middle order, which has the ability to send jitters in the opposing bowling camps. The middle order of the Mumbai Indians for the 2015 edition of the IPL will comprise of the following heavyweights: Rohit Sharma, Corey Anderson, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard. These blokes are clinical strikers of the ball, and no boundary is long enough to strangle them. Rayudu has been a revelation for the Mumbai Indians. He has literally done everything for them. From keeping wickets to stabilizing the innings to finishing the innings; indeed everything! With these four batsmen in their camp, the Mumbai based side need not worry about posting or chasing a large total.

WEAKNESS:

Analyzing the strengths of the Mumbai Indians was a no brainer; but analyzing the weaknesses for them is a no brainer as well. It is the opposite activity- Bowling! The Mumbai Indians bowlers have been in terrible form off late. Their bowling revolves around the enigmatic Lasith Malinga. But Malinga is going through a phase of serious failure. His pace has drastically dropped down and his iconic toe-crushers are nowhere to be seen. Pragyan Ojha, is just back after remodeling his bowling action, and is rusty as well. Harbhajan Singh has spent more time in the studios of news channels than on the cricket field. In Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell McClenaghan they have two talented overseas pacers. But they are most likely to be left out of the playing XI. If the batting of the Mumbai Indians gives them a competitive edge, then fatefully its their bowling which neutralizes that edge!

OPPORTUNITY:

There are a couple of shining opportunities which lie ahead for the men in Blue. The biggest possible asset which the Rohit Sharma led side has is that their home ground, the resplendent Wankhede Stadium is their fortress. Their fortress is so potent for them, that it was not breached even once in the 2013 edition. In 2014, they lost only to the Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. The crowd cheers deafeningly for them, and it is the best way of motivation for a side. The players know the conditions of the Wankhede like the back of their hands. Another plus for them is that their coaching staff comprises of the following worshipped names: Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, John Wright, Anil Kumble, Jonty Rhodes. On one fine day, these individuals will sit together for a cup of coffee and pen down the most respected cricket autobiography till date. With such esteemed names around in the dressing room, the players will get to know some valuable tips about handling pressure and rising with the occasion. This should boost them big time.

THREAT:

A constant threat to the Mumbai Indians has been their diminishing aura. The last event that they played together was the Champions League T20 Qualifiers. Astonishingly, they were knocked out in the first round itself! Never did they play like a champion side, and looked completely out of sorts. A major threat to the Mumbai side is their overdependence on their batting, and especially the middle order. If their prized middle order collapses, then they will go down like a pack of cards.

FIXTURES:

1. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians – 8th April (8:00 pm) at Kolkata

2. Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab – 12th April (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

3. Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians – 14th April (8:00 pm) at Ahmedabad

4. Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings – 17th April (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

5. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians – 19th April (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

6. Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians – 23rd April (8:00 pm) at Delhi

7. Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad– 25th April (4:00 pm) at Mumbai

8. Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals – 1st May (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

9. Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians – 3rd May (4:00 pm) at Mohali

10. Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils – 5th May (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

11. Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians – 8th May (8:00 pm) at Chennai

12. Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 10th May (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

13. Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders– 14th May (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

14. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians – 17th April (8:00 pm) at Hyderabad

LIKELY POSITION: Bowlers of Mumbai Indians are in horrible form or are seen in studios more often than on cricket field. If their batting does not click then expect Amabni owned team to face heat. All in all a  FIFTH place finish will be realistic.