Tuesday, May 8, 2012


We have almost reached the business end of the IPL. At this time Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils have more or less sealed a spot in the playoffs eliminating Warriors and Chargers. It is not official yet, but it will be in a matter of time. That leaves Mumbai, Rajasthan, Chennai, Bangalore and Punjab to fight for the remaining two slots. Though all the 5 teams have realistic chance, let’s see who has better prospects.

From what we have witnessed so far, Mumbai (14, -0.143), Chennai (11, +0.013) and Bangalore (11, -0.333) failed to live up to their potential while Punjab (10, -0.453) and Rajasthan (12, +0.265) has exceeded expectations. Though Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore appear to be on troubled waters Mumbai seems to cross the line more often than the other two. Going by the reputation of these teams (despite questionable stake), it is only fair to expect them coming out firing in all cylinders in the games ahead. By virtue of Mumbai securing wins in the earlier matches (despite pitiable display), they are better candidate than Chennai or Bangalore to finish in the top 4.

Per itinerary, Mumbai has their next games lined up against Bangalore, Knight Riders, Bangalore, Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals. Considering the back to back games with Knight Riders & Bangalore, with the added factor of Knight Riders taking the pressure off the gas (complacency phobia), Mumbai should be able to steal one game apiece from both these oppositions. That should seal the deal for a spot in playoffs and an additional win can only be an affirmation.

Bangalore is due to play Mumbai, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Deccan. At such a precarious situation Pune and Deccan games are blessing in disguise. With two games against Mumbai, one against Delhi, if and only Bangalore wins 2 out of 3 they stand a chance of sharing points to make a case. However run rate not in favor could be taken care by Gayle storm.

Chennai is scheduled to play Rajasthan, Delhi, Knight Riders and Punjab. On paper, Punjab and Rajasthan seem to be easy pickings (reality could be different) alone don’t suffice. Taking the current face off situation with Sehwag and Gambir for Dhoni into consideration, it is more or less an end of road for Chennai Super Flop Kings from here.

On the exceeded expectations front, Rajasthan Royals are due to take the challenge of Chennai, Pune, Deccan and Mumbai. Though Rajasthan should fancy their chances against Pune and Deccan, one win against Mumbai or Chennai will do the trick. Further Dravid’s captaincy has been a huge revelation. If it is Hogg one day, then it is Botha the other day. If it is Hodge one day then it is Shah the other day. Tait got his due too. Then the Chavans, Pankaj Singhs, Amit Singhs got sufficient games under their belt too. Even the keepers as Goswami and Yagnik got fair share between them. Finally Dravid, Rahane, Maneria, Trivedi (Watson from here on) has been the feature of the side in all games thus far. When majority of the teams preferred Bench Warmers to boast their strength, Dravid is probably the only skipper rotated his entire squad with subtle change in the playing XI to get every one of his player a decent outing in the middle. In the race to the top 4, they are sure to be one.

One of the most underrated team at the start of the campaign, Punjab is left to play Deccan, Deccan, Delhi, Chennai and Delhi. It has been mountain climb thus far; it will remain a mountain climb ahead after the two Deccan games.

In my earlier post titled, race to the top 4 published few weeks ago, I had predicted Mumbai and Rajasthan a sure shot in playoffs and curious to find the remaining two. Now that portion of riddle is answered. (Don’t know if I will be forced to eat my words).
Is that a bird? Is that Plane? It is Steven Smith
Probably the last time we are seeing Sourav Ganguly playing competitive cricket. Not participating auction can now not be called an excuse as Rajasthan and Punjab put better show with weaker side. Even the Captains of these teams don’t have the track record in comparison with Sourav Ganguly.  All the top edge, bottom edge, inside edge, outside edge, leading edges seems to be exhausted. One innings from memory should help his farewell on good note.

Bottom line: Dada is way past his expiry date. Probably should see him in the commentary panel alongside Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar in the coming years of IPL

Cricket Lover

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