Presumably having learnt from Mumbai’s performance in the field last week, the Chennai Super Kings threw themselves on the field with determination against the Pune Warriors India at the Chepauk to convincingly defend a modest total.
CSK brought in Jakati for Joginder while PWI brought in Jerome Taylor, Nathan McCullum and Manish Pandey. Yuvi put CSK in to bat and Murali Vijay immediately played a Tendulkar like innings. By that I specifically mean the WC semi final innings where he survived a lot of chances thanks to poor fielding. Vijay being no Tendulkar didn’t make as many runs before finally being dismissed (short ball, bleddy Indian batsman) in the 10th over with the score on 64. Michael Hussey did his robotic run accumulation routine at the other end.
I missed the match from here until when PWI started batting but here’s how it went: Raina flopped immediately, Dhoni hit a few and got out, Hussey got to 60, tried to hit and got out, Albie Morkel mega flopped (duck!), Badri and Aniruddha scored whatever they could coming in so late. Takes a lot to defend142 and PWI could have easily done it.
The experiments on Mohnish Mishra continued and he opened the batting with Jesse Ryder. To the joy of DC fans, all he did was redirect an Albie Morkel delivery on to his stumps. Ryder looked as dangerous as a Talli Tubby can when he hit a straight six beyond the sightscreen off Ashwin. Next delivery an arm ball skidded into his stumps as he made room to cut it square. Manish Pandey was at the other end, settling down in his first game after serving a 4 match ban for seeking a higher pay instead of shutting up and signing on for servitude at RCB. He too was early into a shot trying to guide it down to third man; managing only to guide it as far as his stumps. In walked Captain Yuvraj, who had hit a century at the MAC last month against WI in the World Cup in between cramping up, throwing up and fighting delirium. Uthappa immediately deserted him, attempting a rather gymnastic sweep only to be bowled round his legs, leaving PWI at 40/4 and Ashwin with a wicket maiden over.
The choke applied was rather vintage CSK and it was heart warming to see. Ashwin and Randiv were lovely, flighting the ball, making the batsmen check themselves and spend their energy trying to hit the ball past the inner circle. The fielding made sure that Yuvraj and Manhas didn’t get any boundaries in the first three overs they were in, escalating the RRR. What they did fail at was getting direct hits, giving Yuvraj a reprieve early on.
Their partnership of 38 saw just one four and a six; the pressure piled on and Manhas was out trying to steal runs using the pace of Bollinger. Nathan McCullum came in and rotated the strike waiting for Yuvraj to explode but it never came. Yuvraj looked very tired, turning down easy runs and that he could barely middle anything didn’t help. A tired mistimed slash over cover saw Jakati pull off a brilliant catch mid air in the 19thover and PWI were as good as out. Yuvraj Singh, 34 off 43b, 2×4, 0x6, SR: 79.06 was where the game was won.
The RRR was beyond possible and PWI lost more wickets as CSK’s bowling and fielding remained relentless. Nathan McCullum top edged a bouncer while Jerome Taylor and Rahul Sharma were run out as Morkel and Bollinger returned to finish with brilliant, accurate spells. PWI ended the night on 117/9, CSK winning by 25 runs.
Abhinav Mukund put in a contribution with a direct hit from long on to run out Taylor. I don’t know how he’s done in the domestic T20s but it would be worth to give him a go in place of Aniruddha. Although he will have to bat in the middle order, no accommodations there.
PWI have been screwed badly by Ashish Nehra’s injury, they had can’t take Smith/Paine until the bowling gets more consistent contributions from the local bunch. CSK are closer to their best combination but still too dependent on the spinners and that’s been their bane in away games where the pitches haven’t been as helpful as the MAC one.
We just avoided the wooden spoon thanks to Punjab’s spirited response to Delhi’s 221. This win gives us some breathing space before facing Pune again on Wednesday, this time at the DY Patil Stadium, Pune’s ‘home ground’. Hopefully we overcome the away game jitters, win this one and get on a roll!
Paul Valthaty Update:
His middle name is Chandrashekhar, his complete name is Paul Chandrashekhar Valthaty and his friends probably call him PC. He is no longer the Orange Cap wearer (should be wearer not holder IMO) in IPL 2011 because Sachin is now 8 runs clear of him and will probably widen the gap in his MI’s next match vs Rajasthan against that guy whose nightmares he allegedly appears. Paul Valthaty might have a mountain to climb to win back a ridiculous looking trophy.
A week after one Borivali boy slapped them around in Mohali, Chennai got the same treatment from another one, this time in Mumbai.
Nohit Rohit Sharma finally got a turn at batting early enough in this IPL and didn’t waste time replicating his international career, he scored runs. Beautifully, I must grudgingly add.
The highly influential MS Dhoni’s say in the selection matters of CSK saw Joginder Sharma make a comeback to the playing XI while Southee made way for Randiv. Mumbai dropped Ali Murtaza, the only MI player in my fantasy team to bring in Harbhajan Singh. The many levels on which this loss hurt me is not funny.
The bowlers began well reducing MI to 13-2 with makeshift opener R Sathish and that other guy Sachin Tendulkar dismissed. Rohit Sharma though played wonderfully right from the start bringing up the scoring rate with Rayudu. After Rayudu’s dismissal he partnered up with DC mate Symonds to keep going. Symonds looked uncomfortable against spin but got on by reading the ball off the pitch and hacking at them.
There was the odd bit of luck and some decisions from Dhoni which went awry. Joginder and Raina went for runs in their second spells after economical first ones, deliveries repeatedly just missed the leg stump after beating the batsmen, aerial shots landed between men and catches were dropped, comically. Bollinger did well at the end though to restrict Mumbai to 165/4.
Vijay’s promising 12 was cut short by Munaf and Raina was tricked into hitting a lame return catch to Harbhajan reducing Chennai to 38/2. CSK’s tireless worker Badri came in and set about rebuilding with Mike Hussey. The duo built up to a position of strength taking CSK to 98 after the 11th over before Malinga returned and immediately caught Hussey by surprise with a short ball. Kieron Pollard dove and held a brilliant catch at midwicket and MI never let go after that.
MI’s exceptionally tight fielding heaped on the pressure, Sachin sneaked in overs by Pollard and Sathish as the rest of CSK’s batsmen fell to scoreboard pressure. Dhoni mishit a Pollard delivery to third man where Rohit took another stunner. Harbhajan broke the partnership between Badri and Cheeka jr and then virtually sealed the match with 3 wickets in his next over, bagging a 5 wicket haul as Morkel, Ashwin and Joginder tried to go for broke. Badri, having got to 50 by then barely got any strike towards the end but kept Chennai mathematically in the hunt till midway into the last over. With 25 runs needed off the last over Badri managed to take off 16 runs (with the help of a misfield, finally!) as Mumbai wrapped up a nine run win.
It was beautiful batting from Badrinath but Mumbai were just too good with their fielding and bowlers sticking to their plans. Harbhajan Even a rhythm bowler like Munaf came in to bowl the 20th over after last having bowled in the 6th over and did a decent job for the situation.
Chennai had to face the ignominy of going down to the 10th spot in the points table if Delhi had won their match convincingly enough today against Punjab. They escaped that fate by a close margin though and need to pick themselves up in the next few weeks to keep the campaign alive.
The altered format of the qualifiers this year adds an incentive to teams that try to finish on top instead of finishing in the top four so that is what they need to aim for. They had a worse run last year before rallying to make it to the semis so they know how hard it is. Would be better though if they avoid being in that situation altogether.
The idea of not making it to the semis for the first time itself should be enough of a motivation leave aside the expectations of being the defending champion.
Now it’s time for the
Paul Valthaty Update
Paul Valthaty has played two matches for the Kings XI Punjab since the last Paul Valthaty Update, first he slammed 46 off 31 balls with four 4s and three 6s against his former team, the Rajasthan Royals as KXIP surged to a 48 run win at Mohali. Unremarkable you say? Not at all because from being the guy who was tied with Sachin Tendulkar in the run charts he became the guy leaving Sachin behind in his trail in the run charts. Sachin Tendulkar made 35 to go forward from the 201 the both were tied on but Paul Valthaty’s 48 saw him clear the little master by 13 whole runs. Paul Valthaty, Orange Cap IPL 2011 is something we should get used to hearing.
He’d have been on top even if he had got a duck today because Sachin only managed 5 runs in Mumbai’s next match which was definitely because of the stronger opposition they played against. But Paul Valthaty isn’t a man of half measures, when he hits them they stay hit and countless such hard hitting related clichés hold true of this man. He scored 14 today which means he’s an eye popping 22 runs ahead of the old hand.
Next Paul Valthaty update will be up on 1st May, after KXIPs next match which is on 30th April. Must update team.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala, with help from rain and Ravindra defeated the Chennai Super Kings in Kochi today. I expected Raina to go apeshit on KTK but their ungainly large hands helped them field well and effect run outs more accurately. No such luck for Chennai with aerial shots landing in gaps and stumps being missed by mere micro millimeters and batsmen just grounding their bats. And the rain, that was unlucky too.
Just like in the CL T20 match linked to above, the Duckworth Lewis didn’t help at all tonight, adding just two to the total. Any player will tell you this is bullshit; in a T20 match the planning of the innings changes radically for every over cut short and the DL calculated par score just doesn’t take that into account. I thought the IPL was ready to employ the VJD method for rain curtailed games and I was looking forward to it but that didn’t happen evidently.
Chennai were 65/2 after 9 overs with two new batsmen at the crease when it began raining. Upon resumption, the match was reduced to 17 overs per side and CSK finished at 131/4 with Raina scoring 50. Brendon McCullum, on the third anniversary of his amazing knock in the first ever IPL match made short work of the total, taking on Doug Bollinger, Albie Morkel and Shadab Jakati superbly. He picked up his second Man of the Match award in a row, making some faithful fan very happy in fantasy cricket. He was supported well by all the Kochi batsmen, Mahela, Parthiv, Hodge and Jadeja.
Jadeja has improved terribly in his last two matches, batting and bowling brilliantly which is very frustrating because this could mean a return to team India. Where he may perform amazingly which would be awesome or he may perform like he’s done in his chances so far which would suck like hell. Maybe he performs best under an overseas captain like an ET that sucks on it’s own planet but is the shizz on planet Earth.
But we must leave this depressing match for what is turning out to be the highlight of my posts, today’s
Paul Valthaty Update
In a stunning development, I’ve learnt that Paul Valthaty is not a Malayali as originally thought but in fact Paul Valthaty is actually from Andhra Pradesh. I don’t know what to make of this sensational twist. Who is Paul Valthaty really?
When these two play, there is hype. The rest of India may wonder why two Madrasi teams hate each other but they won’t understand this enmity. It’s not a Pakistan vs India kind of rivalry but it’s intense nonetheless. Which is why yesterday’s match turned out to be a dampener.
Michael Hussey, not even cooled down from his ODI ton against Bangladesh returned to the squad opened with Murali Vijay while Bollinger was benched, to be eased into playing. Hussey was welcomed affectionately even by the RCB players and they dropped a large number of catches to keep him in the middle. Mohammad Kaif was one of the offenders, announcing his continues participation in the IPL lest anyone forgot. The rest of the batsmen played little cameos as big partnerships failed to materialize. Daniel Vettori was the most challenging bowler to face and he too got tonked for runs towards the end of his spell. Hussey switched gears well towards the end, was calculative and clinical with his execution and powered CSK to 183/5.
Dilshan fell very early, is it too early to call it a slump? Then Dan the man continued his pinch hitter experiments, sending in Asad Pathan who took care of himself with a ridiculous effort which left all the stumps exposed. Does NZC really need John Buchanan? Daniel Vettori seems to be quite the wacko himself.
Commendably, the fielding was tight and it helped as the pressure got to Mayank Agarwal. RAshwin, Jakati and Randhiv did a great job, starving the batsmen of room and space to free their arms. Kohli and de Villiers strung up a partnership but the latter’s lack of intent helped CSK keep the asking rate high. Kohli, Tiwary and Pujara all perished trying to accelerate the chase and it was too late by the time ABD finally started swinging. Johan van der Wath, puzzlingly playing ahead of Charl Langeveldt, tried to prove otherwise, hitting a few boundaries but it was too late for RCB by then.
They didn’t play to potential despite keeping CSK down to a manageable total and that took away some of the excitement from the game. Especially considering what Paul Valthaty had managed to do earlier in the week. Which brings me to the
Paul Valthaty Update:
Borivali’s other bright shining star, Kings XI Punjab’s Shaun Marsh of 2011, Paul Valthaty continued his series of assaults on the IPL’s best in KXIP’s match against Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad. Valthaty first took 4 wickets, derailing their innings and keeping it down to 165 and then slammed 75 runs off 47 balls to take KXIP home comfortably against the best bowling attack in the IPL. As my trump player, he earned me a whopping 620 points with his 4 wickets for an economy rate of just 7.25, his 47 ball 75 with 8 fours and 5 sixes and his man of the match award. AND he tied with Sachin Tendulkar as the highest run getter in the tournament. This guy. Legend.
Kings XI Punjab, a team we’ve slammed for 240, took a hattrick against, routed in a semi final, slapped around even in a rain curtailed game, defended 116 against and chased 192 against in a high pressure match with a semi final spot on stake. 6-1. The one blip came in a game that was decided by a super over. Suffice to say, it’s a team CSK has very easily had the upper hand against. We’ve subjected them to most kinds of defeat possible, they’re our punching bags.
Which is why I didn’t expect Chennai to take the beating they did. The game started off nightmarishly with Praveen Kumar snaring two in the first two balls of the match, sending back Srikkanth junior and Raina with zilch on the scoreboard. Badri, who has come in at far worse situations pulled off yet another rescue while Vijay found his rhythm, finally, on a pitch he’d like to take home to show his parents. A vintage Dhoni cameo saw the total swell to 188/4. Neat huh, after being 0/2 in 0.2 overs?
Paul Valthaty didn’t even wait for Gilchrist to get going. Partial loss of eyesight in the right eye and all, he came out all guns blazing. He hit hard, even his timing shots in the gaps were placed furiously. The bowlers repeatedly fed him back of a length filth which he rocked back and pulled or cut while the fielders dropped the one or two chances that came their way.
Gilchrist looked like he was settling in to play the innings he never did last year before (thankfully) holing out. The rest of the Punjab batsmen didn’t even have to do much but the bloody opportunists swung hard for their 15-20 odd each anyway. Shaun Marsh, Sunny Singh and Dinesh Karthik all played very adventurous second fiddles while Abhishek Nayar played like it was his India stint and contributed nothing.
Valthaty played an innings which would be a dream knock for any batsman in a T20 match. A big total to chase, a shrewd opposition captain, good bowlers with variety in the opposition ranks and his own non existent record to overcome. He never stopped attacking, never looked like tiring, assessed the field superbly, didn’t get distracted by his ton, rotated the strike regularly enough, stuck right through to the end and generally made Shane Warne look like a fool for having benched him in the Rajasthan Royals camp all the time he was there. All of those take some doing.
Repeating this innings will be a hard task but if delivers even half of this consistently over the next month, he could push KXIP closer to a spot in the qualifiers. Paul Valthaty, take a bow!
CSK have put in their one obligatory exceptionally bad bowling performance early this year, it’s the second time we’ve failed to defend 188. Frighteningly, we’d almost conceded a total of 246 last year against Rajasthan. Leftie seamer Doug Bollinger coming in place of rightie Tim Southee will give Dhoni options, something he needs to throw at rampaging opposition batsmen like Mr. Valthaty. Albie, despite the shit bowling will stay for the same reason, he gives MSD options in the batting line up.
Next up is RCB in Bengaluru. Stopping Dilshan, de Villiers and a solid, young Indian middle order won’t be easy, I hope CSK bounce back for it though.
After a torturous opening ceremony, Chennai Super Kings played the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL season 4 opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. It was a middling match for three quarters of the game, after that the Kolkata Knight Riders contrived to lose it hilariously. The title defense is on.
The players seemed off key till the end and should get better. MSD, Raina and Ashwin being jaded is understandable too, these guys need time to celebrate and recuperate but all of them responded brilliantly soon as a window opened up. Aniruddha Srikkanth earned his ticket for the ride and the new
blogs blokes Southee, Randhiv and Styris were all good; now to see how Francois du Plessis, Kulasekara and Tharanga fare. The best XI should be apparent by the first week of May but hopefully they’ll be an all crushing juggernaut by the time they come to play Mumbai Indians in Mumbai on April 22nd.
Food for thought: Teams that have won the season opener have always gone on to finish either 6th (KKR in 2008, 2010) or 7th (MI in 2009). CSK should end up way better than that.
In the end it seemed so easy, Mahendra doing last week what Mohinder did back in ’83. The final at the Wankhede seemed predestined to go our way, especially after the two knock out matches we’d played en route Mumbai. Things didn’t go so easy though but that just added to the legend though.
This hadn’t been a convincing campaign until the quarterfinal. The joy of paying back Bangladesh lasted only till the innings break. The tie against England was alarming, simply it was England that had nearly chased 338. Ireland and Netherlands were no easy pushovers, Yuvraj was the only guy playing and even the NRR buffing chances were squandered. Then we crash landed from space against South Africa, that collapse, that insipid defense against that inexperienced middle order after Hashim and ABD had bled us once again. Playing the West Indies in Chennai, even SRT couldn’t stop the jugger-not that is Ravi Rampaul. RAshwin was ok, his mental toughness probably wasn’t at it’s optimal potential yet. But the team pulled through as the West Indies self destructed. Yet again.
Quarter Final, Ahmedabad
I was at the ground, and for me it was the team’s most stunning win this World Cup. The bowling and fielding was several notches higher, the batting was steady mostly, then after a wobble, the game was seized very authoritatively. And the crowd was mad, madder than Mohali and madder than the Wankhede crowd was through most of the final.
Zaheer’s bowling (especially that Mike Hussey dismissal), Yuvraj’s domineering, electric storm of an innings which was unlike his scrappy ones earlier in the tournament and Raina’s calculative cameo under pressure were the highlights of that match. And Ponting scored a fine ton too.
In Mirpur, in a very important development, NZ knocked out SA, the team that looked scarily well equipped to win the WC in the subcontinent. John Wright #FTW
Semi Final, Mohali
Sachin capitalized on his 5 lives to build a safe-ish platform before Raina again played his very important knock at the end. Pakistan’s one good batting performance against decent opposition in the WC had come against SL when Sanga had let them drift off in the middle overs and I didn’t expect MSD to repeat that mistake. Still, with Umar Akmal threatening to take the match away, Plaha struck. It was a stupid shot but I suppose it was Plaha’s bowling that first disarmed UAkmal before snaring him. That Plaha. Then Munaf bowled a peach of a legcutter to get Razzaq, Plaha outlasted Afridi’s patience within an over and Nehra redeemed himself as a dream final was advanced into.
I saw the toss before heading out, I thought it was shady that Sanga didn’t know what he had called but if the referee and MSD failed to hear it, fair thing is to do it again. Bloody Sanga.
I saw two matches at the Wankhede, NZ batted first and expectedly decimated Canada’s bowling but Canada batted decently, finishing at 259. Good, except that they were chasing 358. So, good for batting. In the other match though, Sanga and Jaya built a platform after early wickets against NZ, Sanga got to his century and SL posted a decent 270 total. Then their bowlers ran through NZ for a paltry 150 something. Under lights, with dew. India HAS to win the toss and bat first, or probably not, considering the dew and the fact that RAshwin will come in for an injured Nehra, I thought.
My captain is my fantasy captain. Despite his lean run so far in the tournament, as a CSK fan I’ve seen MSD pull off miracles. “Back your players and they will deliver”, how many times has he said it himself. Full faith.
Toss 2: SL won, chose to bat. Fuck. AND,
RAshwin Sreesanth is in for Nehra. Fuck Fuck Fuck.
I’m giggling as I listen to the commentary on the train. Yuvraj, Raina and Kohli are throwing themselves on everything that Dilshan and Tharanga can put a bat to. Zak is bowling like a dream with 3 maiden overs in a row, the openers are ultra cautious and even Sree gets by lightly. Tharanga falls to Zak bringing out Sanga who gets the scoring back on track. A while later, Harbhajan gets a ball to caress Dilshan’s thighs rather intimately before crashing into his leg stump. Harbhajan. Dismisser of explosive openers in World Cup Finals.
Sanga and Jaya do their usual thing before Sanga disrespects Yuvraj strikes. Actually, Sanga throws his wicket away. Wankhede mein aaya bhoot, Sri Lanka ki maa ki *%&^ rings out at the bar. Then one review is wasted for a lbw/caught, we suppose it would’ve fallen on the stumps if MSD hadn’t reached out in front of the stumps to catch it. The next time Thilan Samaraweera tries to Neil McKenzie it though, he’s gone. One review in our favour.
Kapugedara, whom I still hold responsible for not scoring quickly enough in the 2008 IPL final against Rajasthan, fellearly, fooled by Zaheer who is now the joint highest wicket-taker in the tournament. I was delighted.
Kulasekara (new CSK guy) stuck around though. And not getting Jaya proved costly the way he picked up. Perera (ex-CSK) too plundered the bowling at the end. It was painful, doubts crept up. Murali waiting to extend his farewell script and Malinga with his flaring nostrils, Randiv with his do-what-it-takes attitude, everyone seemed a tad more dangerous.
Sehwag is out on the second ball and takes a review with him. It’s infuriating but you don’t get the oh-so-fuckin-good without the bad.
SRT’s punches are all fielded at the ropes by a relentless Dilshan before he plays the sweetest straight drive off Kulasekara. So straight, so divine. Then he chases a wide delivery, edges it to the keeper and walks off to the awkward silence of hundreds of millions of people. WankhedeLPD. At least Gambhir didn’t run him out, I think.
Kohli, young, big balls Kohli walks into a situation the pressure of which I cannot comprehend. He negates Slinga, whose teeth I felt like breaking then, and goes about building a least fussy partnership with Gambhir. Gambhir plays an unnecessary lofted shot when in the 30s which Kula thankfully bumbles. ‘You just dropped the World Cup son’.
Gambhir grinds his way to his 50 from there.
Then Dilshan plucks Kohli out of nowhere for a brilliant caught and bowled, aided in no small measure by Gambhir who moved out of his way unlike any other batsman would do in a WORLD CUP FINAL. Dilshan mouths Kohli off, probably because he outscored him in the final off the same number of balls. Give it a rest Dil, just because he’s performing at potential within the first half of his career doesn’t mean it’s a slight to you.
MSD promoted himself. Chalo batting toh aayi. Then ball by ball, poke by poke, blow by blow, glance by glance, the duo bled Sri Lanka. They dealt with Murali & Dilshan, Perera’s predictability turned out be his liability, Kulasekara enforced nothing and Randiv was milked.
Just clinical accumulation, as gameplan abiding a team could be. Gambhir fell to his exhaustion, missing out on a much deserved century. Dhoni battled cramps and pain while Yuvraj eased the required rate. Malinga’s final spell was seen off by Yuvraj before MSD launched Kulasekara into the Divecha Pavilion for the winning six. He then didn’t launch into a tirade, and twirled his bat to honour Rajinikanth who was among the audience.
The sight of Tendulkar and Kirsten being carried around the crowd, the emotional crying and hugging, Kohli’s straight from the heart quote about it being the team’s turn to carry Sachin on their shoulder, Sanga’s rather gracious talk, MSD’s talk [the bit about the anxiety the team faced during the tournament was intensely frank] and the final celebrations with the trophy, with Sudhir Gautam were joyous and heartwarming.
The talk had been of the team wanting to win it for Sachin, at a point it seemed he’d be the one winning it for them but the final sorted the obligations out. It belonged to the old hands as well as the new.
The celebrations all over Mumbai that night were unbridled. Even the jingoistic sloganeering could be forgiven. It was fun watching kids who probably didn’t grasp the enormity of the win celebrating flat out, kids who had watched India win more than lose in their decade and a little on earth. It was just as good as watching elder people who saw the ’83 win only to endure the late eighties and the entire nineties, praying for history to repeat itself through all those years. Reviews of the final said the team that wanted the win more won it, but for every person in the team who yearned for it, there were millions across the country who wanted it even more. Their fervour was the ultimate motivation.
PS: I had been preparing myself for Sachin’s possible retirement from ODIs post the WC. He didn’t but I really don’t see any other reason for him to continue besides the 50 100s landmark in ODIs. The team that won the WC didn’t even have the first choice bowling attack for god’s sake and there many good batsmen waiting for their chance to be a regular at least in the LOI team. So whenever he makes the decision, or is forced to make it, he has my Thank You Sachin!