Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The IPL Diaries - May 15, 2012

Deccan Chargers vs Punjab XI - An Honest Look Within Required for DC
Deccan Chargers loss against Punjab XI the other night was probably the low point of their campaign. In the last few games they have been getting awesome scores on the board what with the in form Dhawan and White getting runs consistently. And consistently they have been unable to defend to totals of 180 plus which is a shame. To say the bowling has not delivered is not right -   I suspect that there is something else at play here. It is about trust and everyone in the team being on the same frequency but I suspect that despite putting up a brave face, the Hyderabad franchise has some serious backroom issues that need to be sorted out. Just a feeling but that is what I think it is. Sangakarra is a nice man, Lehmann seems to be sorted out, the youngsters are really good (Dhawan, Veer Pratap, Ashish Reddy) and so are the Indian  players (Amit Mishra, Parthiv). The internationals are exceptional with Sanga, Steyn, White, Christian, Duminy, Harris. No reason for this team to lose so badly. Cricket as with any other sport or life, demands complete honesty and that is what the DC management needs to look at when it appraises its performance now. It's not about fielding, or bowling yorkers - it's what's wrong with the entire approach. For Punjab to pull it off the way they did - it speaks volumes of intentions and an honest approach.

RCB vs Mumbai Indians - The Mayank Agarwal and Ambati Rayudu show
Two brilliant games yesterday with RCB against Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings against  Kolkata Knight Riders. RCB in a must win game turned up in green. If I was the team manager I'd disallow that change in colour because your colour is your identity. You cannot switch from a fiery red to a friendly green and expect to carry on with the war in the same spirit. Luckily Kohli was in command which was good. But RCB was nervous right from the start and Mumbai even more nervous. To me the most nervous team and bench is the Mumbai Indians side. Anyway I loved Mayank Agarwal's brilliant batting and thanks to him the RCB's got to an improbable 171. Highly defendable. Mayank was sensational in the way he handled the much acclaimed Mumbai attack. RCB then had Mumbai by the scruff of their neck with their top gone and then gave it away to Rayudu and Pollard. What went wrong - the fifth bowler of course. Appanna's one over cost 19 runs with three sixes and Kohli turned to Gayle whose three overs cost 39 runs. Other options being Dilshan (not a bad choice, he is a street smart cricketer), Kohli (low on confidence). Anyway RCB lost the game in their minds in the last few overs and you could see there was no fight once Mumbai picked up momentum. Rayudu's tremendous talent was on display once again - here's a cricketer whose career has been decimated from his Under 19 days by some egoistic players, selectors and administrators in the Hyderabad Cricket Association and I am glad he has got a new lease of life to display his talent. For Mumbai to go into the RCB den and win this game (biting nails and all) it must be another case of living to fight another day. Still don't look convincing the Mumbai Indians but they are winning even if its by a hair's breadth.

CSK vs KKR - Battle of Beliefs
Another team that is winning by lesser margins is CSK. The match against KKR was odd - 100 runs coming up easily for both sides and then the loss of wickets in a heap. First KKR suffered a collapse after a 100 run partnership and ended with 158 which was chased with all urgency by CSK's Hussey and Vijay. One Sunil Narine over with two wickets and things changed on its head. Dhoni came, saw and then when they needed a big over in a drought like situation against the slower bowlers, targeted the quick Marchant for a brutal 6, 4 and 4 and brought CSK back from the brink. Rajat Bhatia bowled a brilliant last over, getting Dhoni out with a lovely slow  leg cutter and doing everything right until he bowled a thoughtless full toss to Bravo on the last ball. What happened Rajat! Bravo's desperate heave just about got the ball over the long on boundary and CSK handed KKR a defeat when KKR looked all in control. KKR fielded brilliantly though and got most things right except their team composition. Dhoni rad it right with three spinners and Gambhir read his own pitch wrong and played three seamers on a spinning track. But more than all that I think the difference was Dhoni's immense confidence and belief that his team will pull through which took CSK home. For belief and confidence lessons, please contact Prof. Dhoni. Even the way Dhoni strode off after getting out in the last over with 8 to spare was as if he had it all in the bag. That confidence is enough to make everyone think twice. Well done CSK and Dhoni. Despite all the criticism about leaving it for too late - Harsha Bhogle, Ajay Jadeja and even Gambhir - this man has the last laugh as he is winning you see. Come on fellows if you cannot stomach it its your problem. Captain fantastic is doing everything right!

As the tournament comes to the business end, its the guys who have the heart to fight who will win.

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