Monday, May 21, 2012

The carnival is coming to an end...

After so much of battle for a spot in the top 4, lots of permutations and combinations popping out every day on how each team could still claim a place, the penultimate week of cricket in IPL was a big letdown!!!

Three teams had the chance to go past the fourth placed Chennai Super Kings or even the third placed Mumbai Indians during the week 7 of IPL. Punjab had to win 2 out of their last 3 games, Rajasthan had to win 2 out of 2 and Bangalore had to win only 1. Surprisingly all these teams fizzled and fizzled badly is only an understatement. Anyways, it proved right per the predictions made at the start of the tournament. It is the big boys game and all these Rajasthans, Punjabs, Punes and Deccans can only imagine giving a fight rather dream a title win. But these teams don’t have to feel any low considering there are only 9 teams that play in IPL and they play twice against each other during league stages, out of which top 4 get to play yet again (once  or twice) before THE END.

So, what is special when Delhi takes on Knight Riders for the first Qualifier?
Nothing special except it is a playoff game with an opportunity for both teams to comeback despite a loss here. Both won one game against the other and importantly lost their home games. This time they will be battling in a neutral venue. On paper Delhi is a stronger batting unit, while Knight Riders have the mystery of Sunil Narine to tackle all the issues in only 4 overs. Knight Riders beat Delhi when they fielded Sunil Narine. I think they will also field Merchant De Lange to add to the element of surprise. But that will also put them in tough spot to choose between McCullum and Shakib Al Hasan. Considering the nature of the wicket they should choose Shakib but that will put their batting even more vulnerable. But fortune favors the brave, not sure what will be Gambir’s call. Surely time has arrived to promote DB Das up the order. If I were to pick my favorite for the game, it will be Dilli hai mere yaar.

So, what is special when Chennai takes on Mumbai during the Eliminator?
Mumbai Indians have beaten Chennai Super Kings both home and away during the league stages. However, that alone does not make them firm favorites considering their batting vows exhibited so far in the tournament. The good news is they are taking on CSK in a batter friendly surface of Bangalore. Though the opening combo of Smith and Tendulkar (I expected Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik to open this game) fired against Royals, it is only a temporary solution to the perennial problem they have been dealing the whole season. If the same combo come again, I won’t be surprised Dhoni operating a left spinner right from the start of the innings. On paper, it could be advantage Mumbai, but I’ve no guts to bet against Dhoni’s luck. By any means, Dhoni’s CSK are a more worthy opponents to take on Delhi or Knight Riders in the Virtual Semi Finals. Again, this year around, Chennai Fortress doesn’t seem to be the same for home team if and when they qualify for this virutal second Semi Finals.

Ajinkya Rahane, Mandeep Singh, Parvinder Awana, Gurukeerat, Chandila, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pawan Negi, Debrata Das, Mayank Agarwal are some of the domestic talents who made a name for themselves this IPL season.

Sunil Naraine is the lone new recruit to create big impact from the foreigners list.

Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay, Badrinath, Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Sourab Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Valthaty, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly were the big let downs from the Indian circuit.

Sangakara, Ross Taylor, Clarke, Jayawardene were a pale shadow of themselves this IPL.

Sad to see talents like Chandimal, Tamim Iqbal, Doug Bracewell, Andre Russell remain bench warmers majority or the whole season.

Bottom line: The carnival is coming to an END

Cricket Lover

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