Match Review – India vs Pakistan – ICC World Cup 2015 – Feb 15th

So, the Indians have just done what they have been doing to Pakistan in all their world cup matches. Beating them hands down. It all started with MSD winning the toss. Under perfect conditions to bat, it was an easy decision for MSD. He opted to bat first. The man in form, Rohit Sharma & the one who has been facing severe criticism for his inconsistency, Shikhar Dhawan walked in to open the innings. After the early dismissal of Rohit, it was up to Virat & Shikhar to stitch a good partnership and they did just that.


Cometh the hour, Cometh the man : There are good players, great players and then there are these big match players. Virat Kohli was just the big match player India was looking for in this high voltage clash. The best part of Virat’s innings was the calmness he displayed throughout his innings. First with Dhawan and then with Raina he was involved in two 100 plus stands and that’s the phase in which Pakistan lost the match. He also stayed cool when Afridi’s throw hit him. The Virat we all know would have given a stare if not an earful, but today, the young turk was composed and went about doing his business. In the process, he became the first Indian to score a world cup century against Pakistan and also notched up his 22nd hundred. And for the stats lovers, this was the slowest of all his hundreds.

Raina’s whirlwind innings: With Dhawan getting out and 20 overs more to go, it was important for someone to up the ante and take control of the situation. With Virat playing the role of a sheet anchor, it was left to Suresh Raina to lead the charge. He scored a quick-fire 74 of 56 balls and in the overall match analysis, this innings was crucial. His innings reminded me of the one Ajay Jadeja played against Pakistan in the 1996 QF clash.

Poor finish by the Indian batsmen: With Virat getting out with 273 on board and 5 overs remaining with the likes of Raina, MSD, Jadeja still there India was expected to score 325 plus. But all they could manage was just a run a ball after Virat’s dismissal. This was due to some very good, disciplined death bowling by the Pakistan bowlers, especially Sohail Khan who finished with 5-55.

The Chase by Pakistan: Chasing a score of 300 is never a challenging task in modern-day cricket. All you have to do is to rotate the strike, pick up the singles and twos, keep the wickets in hand and go for the kill in the last 15 overs. A lot was expected out of Younis Khan, the opener but he disappointed. Though Misbah played a lovely innings, he was let down by his teammates. In the end, 300 was too much for Pakistan and thanks to a better bowling effort by the Indians, the match was won by India by 76 runs.

Moments where India won & Pakistan lost :

  1. The move to send Raina up the order ahead of Rahane.
  2. Misbah holding Wahab Riaz for the power play & the death and in the process feeding Raina with spin bowling which helped Raina to build his innings.
  3. Virat’s well composed innings.
  4. Umesh Yadav’s twin strikes in three balls.
  5. Jadeja’s catch to dismiss Shehzad. (He proved why even the PM of India calls him SIR).  :P
  6. India’s running between the wickets.
  7. India’s fielding efforts.
  8. MSD’s captaincy skills.

Best Moment of the match: For me, the best moment of the match was Suresh Raina punching the air and celebrating Virat’s century even before Virat did and then patting on his back when he got dismissed. This shows that there is a great camaraderie in the dressing room and that is a great sign for the better things to come.

And as an Indian, it can’t get better than this, as the mother of all cricket matches just turned my Sunday into a Super Sunday. No more 5-0, it is 6-0 now. ;)



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Match Review – CSK vs KKR – Match 38 – IPL, 2013 – April 28th

So, CSK does it again. Whether they chase or not, they always like to get over the line in the final over. Asked to bat first by Gambhir, they had a new opening pair in Saha and Hussey. CSK finished with 200 for 3 in 20 overs and though Bisla’s love affair with the Chennai ground continued, he was not able to see them through, this time. And in the end, KKR fell short off the target by 14 runs.

Surprise package Saha : When Saha stepped out with Hussey to open the innings, one would have thought how he would cope up against the defending champions. He started positively and was involved in a 103 runs stand for the 1st wicket with Mike Hussey. He scored a quick fire 39 runs of 23 balls and the 2 sixes he hit were outstanding. When he got out in the 11th over, he had already laid a strong platform for the big hitters in the team to flourish. It would be interesting to see if Dhoni will pick him for the next match ahead of the out of form Vijay.

Mr.Cricket’s golden run continued: It is not for nothing he is called “Mr.Cricket”. The Aussie paced his innings beautifully and provided the perfect start along with Saha. He almost played every shot in the book and in an act of unselfishness, sacrificed his wicket going for the big shots and fell short of 5 runs of what could have been a very well deserved century. And he being in immaculate touch with the bat, CSK can very well become the first team to qualify for the knock out phase.

The Raina we all know, is back: The most consistent player in the IPL history is back to form and that should be like music to the ears of all the CSK fans. Scoring a 25 ball 44 and getting run out for the team’s cause, he is back. Also, in this innings, he became the first Indian player in the IPL history to hit 100 sixes.

KKR’s Chase: With 201 to win, KKR was expected to cash in on the super overs. They got support from unexpected quarters in the form of Dirk Nannes. Nannes, coming into this match after an injury, started with a wide and then bowled a no-ball. With 10 runs after just 1 ball, KKR had a dream start.

Bisla’s love affair with Chepauk: No one could forget Bisla’s knock against CSK in the last year’s final. He continued from where he left off and scored the runs at will. Though he was not comfortable initially against the Chennai pacers, once he got his eye in, he continued to score runs at ease. I was forced to think about the last year’s final when this man was at the crease and a similar result was very likely. When he got out for a very well made 92 off 61 balls, they required 23 off 9 balls and that was much gettable in this format.

Off-day for Kallis: The man who can walk into any team for his all round skills had a pathetic day with both the bat and the ball. Conceding 50 runs in 4 overs and scoring a painstaking 20 ball 19 runs is something he would like to forget immediately.

CSK’s misses on the field: With Raina dropping a sitter by his standards, Ashwin flooring another one and the skipper himself missing out a tough stumping chance, the game could have gone in favour of their opponents on another day. Nannes had a miserable day with the ball and he almost won it for KKR. I am sure he will sit out for all the remaining games. Bowling at death is still a worry for the Chennai team and they should try and find answers for this, before the knock out phase starts.

Outstanding final over by Morris: With 19 runs to get in 6 balls, Morris was given the responsibility of bowling the final over. With the man in form, Eoin Morgan and the big hitting Pathan at the crease, it was well within the reach. Morris started off with a beautiful yorker and ended it off with another 2 yorkers. 4 runs from the final over and looks like death bowling issue will be sorted out for the CSK if he continues to bowl these yorkers.

Brief Scores

CSK : 200 for 3 in 20 overs. Hussey 95(59), Saha 39(23), Raina 44(25). Narine 1/35 and Bhatia 1/31

KKR : 186 for 4 in 20 overs. Bisla 91 (62), Morgan 32(22). Sharma 1/23, Morris 1/29 and Bravo 1/37

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Preview to CSK vs KKR – Match 38 – IPL, 2013 – April 28th

Both the teams come into this match in contrasting styles. CSK is on a high with 6 wins out of 8 games and KKR on the other side is reeling at the bottom three with just 6 points out of 8 games. With CSK’s plan working well so far (Hussey playing the sheet anchor role and the others playing the shots around him). With aggressive batsmen like Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bravo & Morris to follow, they can chase down any total set. Would be interesting to see how Badrinath would hold the innings together, if Hussey gets out early. With CSK’s fielding improving with every game, they again look like the time to beat in this edition. One major area of concern is their death bowling. Giving away 50+ runs in the last 4-5 overs has become a pain area for them and it is high time their think-tank come up with an idea to stem the run flow in the death overs.


KKR on the other hand seems to be finding it tough winning their away games. All their 3 wins this season have come at the Eden Gardens and they would definitely like to pick their first away points today. The good news for KKR is the return of form of Bisla. The man who broke the hearts of all the Chennai fans in the last year final would like to give his time a quick start. Kallis & Morgan looks solid in the middle order and they have to be at their best to tame the lions at their den. Senanayake not playing in this match would be a set back for the knight riders as he had formed a great bowling partnership with the wily Narine.

Key players to watch out for :

MS Dhoni : He would be the one to provide the finishing touches to the Chennai innings. Lot depends on how he would use his bowlers against Bisla.

Hussey : If he stays at the crease till the 15 overs mark, CSK would fancy it’s chances.

Narine : He would love to get the purple cap back from Faulkner.

Bisla : Would love to continue his good run against CSK in Chennai.

My prediction for today: CSK all the way to the top of the table.

My playing eleven for today’s match :

CSK : Vijay, Hussey, Raina, Badrinath, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bravo, Morris, Ashwin, Nannes/Hilfenhaus,Sharma

KKR : Bisla, Gambhir, Kallis, Morgan,McCullum/Haddin,Pathan, Bhatia,Balaji,Narine,Abdulla,Shami Ahmed.

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Review of DD vs CSK – Match 24 – IPL 2013 – April 18th

What else one can expect from the wounded lions? The performance was clinical and the Super Kings celebrated the occasion of becoming the first IPL team to play 100 matches with a handsome win against the hapless Delhi Daredevils.

Coming into the match with a loss against the Pune Warriors, the CSK got the Mr. Cricket on top of the batting order and he responded with a fluent knock of 65* with a good strike rate of 130. I don’t think MSD will ever think of resting him again. On the other end Vijay was looking confident till he got out to Morkel. Though it looked like the ball would have missed the leg stump, the umpire thought otherwise. Entered Suresh Raina, playing in his 100th match for the CSK. He celebrated the day by playing a solid innings of 30 and more importantly had a good partnership of 60 with Hussey in 50 balls. With 7 overs to go, the captain decided to show the Kotla fans why he is one of the best finishers of modern-day cricket. Result: 44 runs with a strike rate of close to 200. The helicopter shot was a treat to watch and one banner in the crowd summed it all up “I am from Delhi; but I support CSK for Dhoni”. Chennai finished with a very good score of 169 and it was then the time for the CSK bowlers to come to the party.

CSK beats DD

With a target of 170, two of the most brutal openers of this generation walked into the middle. Though both Sehwag and Warner are not in the best of touches, every cricket fan knows that any total is gettable if they get going. It was important for Chennai to strike early and Sharma repaid the confidence Dhoni had kept in him by sending Warner’s timber for a walk. In the same over, he removed Juneja and the Delhi skipper Mahela walked to the crease with a huge responsibility on his shoulders. And CSK’s costliest buy of this season, Morris got into the act by dismissing the DD skipper. The score read 30-3 and in the next ball, Sharma got the wicket of Sehwag who holed out to Hussey on the boundary line. 30-4 and the match was almost over for the Delhi Daredevils. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals and with the vibrant dance moves from the Caribbean Super King, Dwayne Bravo the Chennai supporters got their money’s worth. Bravo picked up 3 catches and also picked up the final wicket to fall. Sharma impressed one and all with a lovely spell of 3-10 in 3 overs. With all the bowlers used, picking up wickets, Chennai overall had a fantastic day on the field by beating DD by a whopping 86 runs.

Michael Hussey picked up the MOM and Chennai had done a world of good to their net run rate after this match. So, the wounded lions have done what they are best at doing; beating their opponents in convincing fashion. Kudos to CSK.

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Review of CSK vs PWI – Match 19 – IPL 2013 – April 15th

First things first. Did Captain Cool become complacent a little too early in this edition? Agreed, it’s always nice to experiment with the weaker oppositions so that when the tournament progresses, you would have figured out the winning combination. But what makes one wonder is why Mr. Cricket has to be rested and Anirudha Srikkanth has to be asked to open the innings? Anirudha playing in his first match this edition was always going to find Bhuvi’s swingers tough to handle in the initial overs and this move would have cost the CSK dearly. And the man who replaced Hussey was Albie Morkel. No doubt Albie has been a great servant for CSK in the past, but what was Dhoni thinking when he was playing with 3 overseas all-rounders? If someone like Mitchell Johnson can pop a lot of questions to the PWI batsmen in the previous match, why not go ahead with another pacer in Hilfenhaus? And if Albie has to come in at No.8 and not bowl a single over, why wasn’t he asked to open the innings? Someone who had come from South Africa just after playing in the Ram Slam T-20 final would have been a safer bet than the not so experienced Anirudha. To put it very simple, if Albie was fit to play, he should have been utilized completely and definitely not just as a No.8 batsman. And if the CSK spinners gave away only 51 runs out of their 8 overs, why was Raina not asked to roll his arm over? And a sincere request to MSD on behalf of all the CSK fans: “Sir, we know that you always love to finish the games in the final over if not the final ball, however it doesn’t work always. We, the CSK fans are always proud to be a part of the yellow brigade. But, please don’t give us heart attacks every time you walk out with our team to the middle. It’s absolutely great that we have learnt the lesson the harder way so early in the tourney as it is only the 4th match and we all know that we will bounce back and bounce back stronger. Till then, #WhistlePodu will continue. We still are the team to beat. So, Chin Up Captain.”

CSK vs PWI Review

And where did the Pune Warriors get it right? Right from winning the toss, everything went right for the stand-in skipper, Ross Taylor. I always felt that it will be great for PWI if Robin and Aaron can provide them with a solid start and they stitched together a 96 run stand for the opening wicket. With hitters like Taylor & Smith to follow, the openers had set the perfect launch pad for the assault. And Smith didn’t disappoint. Scoring 39 runs with a strike rate of more than 240 was the cherry on top of the PWI innings. Bhuvanesh Kumar came up with a brilliant spell of 2-12 in 4 overs. Smith had a brilliant match with his batting & fielding and Finch gave them a superb start, but Bhuvi would be my “Man of the Match”. With an economy rate of 3 RPO against CSK, (don’t forget the venue of the match) he should have got it. Though MSD was in the wrong side after the match, he would have been definitely happy with the way Bhuvi bowled (looks like he has got his seat booked for the South Africa tour). Let’s not forget the captaincy of Taylor. Asking Bhuvi to bowl 3 overs in the start was a great move. Remember Mathews pulling out his strike bowler after just 1 over against MI? Getting his best fielders in the right positions and getting Smith to come up at No.4 were some sparks of his great captaincy skills. Overall, the Pune team fought like true warriors and tamed the lions in their own den. I have predicted that the absence of Mathews would be a blessing in disguise for the warriors and it happened exactly the same way. If PWI can maintain this combination and Yuvi coming in for Pandey in the upcoming matches, they can give the other teams a run for their money.

Before the match, I have predicted an easy victory for the CSK. But the beauty of T-20 cricket is that, on their day the minnows can beat the masters and that’s what unfolded today.

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Preview to CSK vs PWI – Match 19 – IPL, 2013 – April 15th

If anyone writing a preview to this match gives the Pune Warriors a chance, I would be surprised. Such was the performance of the CSK team in their two previous matches; they again go into this match as the overwhelming favourites, not just for this match but also for this edition of IPL. In fact, when were they not the favourites? :). Being the Manchester United of IPL, they are always the team to beat.  Just being on the winning side in arguably the most exciting & thrilling match in the IPL history, they go into this match with super confidence and playing at home again will make their lives much easier. If you go for a ‘Man to Man’ comparison, then even the PWI skipper & coach will not give their team a chance. And talking about skipper, it would be a blessing in disguise for the Pune team that their skipper Angelo Mathews won’t be playing in this match. Ross Taylor is expected to lead the team and one of the best Pune players from the previous edition, Steve Smith will take his place. Finch & Uthappa played some brilliant shots in their only win so far and a lot will depend on how they will fare against the quicks in yellow. Smith will have a major role to play as Yuvi looks a doubtful starter due to injury. May be Manish Pandey will get a look in.


As far as the Chennai side is concerned, Dhoni might give Albie Morkel his first match of this edition and Hilfenhaus may come in for Nannes. And it should be Jakati or Imtiaz in place of Sharma. The home side should be able to win this match hands down and hence I would not be surprised if Dhoni comes up with some unusual choices in the squad. And even if everyone falls cheaply, you have the superman himself, Sir Ravindra Jadeja. Not sure when was the last time someone was spoken in the same breath as Rajnikanth and that too in the hometown of Rajni Sir.

PWI results so far : 1 win out of 4  & CSK results so far : 2 wins out of 3.

My prediction for today : CSK to crush PWI and move to the top of the table with a better run rate :)

My playing eleven for today’s match :

CSK : Vijay, Hussey, Raina, Badrinath, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bravo,Morkel, Ashwin, Hilfenhaus/Nannes,Imtiaz

PWI : Uthappa, Finch, Pandey, Taylor,Suman, Smith,Marsh, Nayar, Bhuvanesh Kumar,Sharma, Dinda

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The gentleman they call Sir Ravindra Jadeja

Disclaimer : This post is purely on a light-hearted note and not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. :)

Such is the might of Sir RJ, this post which was supposed to be a post match analysis between CSK & RCB got turned into “The gentleman they call Sir Ravindra Jadeja”. Forget about twitter, Jadeja is trending even on LinkedIn and YouTube ;). And why did this epithet “Sir Ravindra Jadeja” is in the news for the past few months now? Anyone who had watched the match between CSK & RCB would be short of nails, to say the least :). With 16 required from the last over, Sir RJ made it 6 from 4, after a sixer and a four in the first 2 balls. And with 2 runs to get from the last ball, he holed out to the third man, however as RP Singh had overstepped, CSK won the match with 1 ball to spare. Somehow, everyone watching the match felt that this was scripted by Ashutosh Gowariker. (Remember the climax of Lagaan?) :)

And what happens next? The whole of social media was flooded with Sir Ravindra Jadeja jokes. The ultimate one was the tweet from the captain cool, MS Dhoni. He tweeted, “2 runs to win from 1 ball and  only Sir Ravindra Jadeja can win the match in that situation with 1 ball to spare.”

Now, what are the things expected to happen coz of this heroics by Sir RJ? Let’s imagine a few of those.

Vijay Mallya may rename Kingfisher Airlines to RJ Airlines so that his company will be out of trouble.

Sajid Khan may come up with Housefull-3 after the disastrous Himmatwala. Sir RJ is expected to play a triple role in this movie with Deepika, Katrina & Priyanka playing the female leads.

The All India Football Federation may now appoint Sir RJ as the coach of the Indian football team and he will help them qualify for Brazil 2014 and India will defeat Brazil in the world cup opener. And from the 2018 FIFA world cup, the best player of each edition will be awarded Sir Ravindra Jadeja medal.

India and Pakistan may seek the expert advice of Sir RJ to put an end to the Kashmir Issue.

Scientists & researchers may ask Sir RJ to reveal the mystery behind the Bermuda triangle.

Sir RJ is expected to find what exactly is the secret in Victoria’s secret :P and who the f#$k is Smokie’s Alice.

And the final one, CSK will play RCB in the final of this year’s edition and Gayle to face the final ball needing 4 runs. He skies the ball towards long on and before the fielder from mid-on could run backwards to catch the ball, Sir RJ fielding in the third man positions sprints across the length of the ground and completes a one handed catch and CSK wins the IPL-6.


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