October 1, 2008

Ganguly – The Man Of Comebacks

Posted in Cricket tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:39 pm by techtwist

The history repeats. To my liking ( or even to Ganguly’s for that matter ) it has happened very quickly. Saurav Ganguly was again on the verge of being pushed aside and out of International Cricket for once. But his strong record has saved his head again. One of the selectors said his experience, character and resilience has put him ahead of the youngsters like Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif. They feel these three qualities are very important for a tough series against Australia.

As a build up to the series, Saurav Ganguly is expected to play a India A test against New Zealand A as he has not been a part of the current team who are at a conditioning camp at Bangalore. Ganguly has an impressive average of 50.67 aggregating 1571 runs since his comeback in December 2006 during which he has also scored a maiden double century. The surprise packages were Amit Mishra and Subramaniam Badrinath. Both made it to the 15 member squad.

Badrinath said he expected a call up. What the selectors have done is that they have sent a strong message. Badrinath will be under the shadow and will me the most likely one to replace Ganguly. Meanwhile Mishra will be the third spinner and likely to be the successor of Kumble. Too ealry to make a call. But this seems to be the pattern. Pragyan Ojha and Piyush Chawla were left out. I felt Ojha deserved a place in this squad.

Meanwhile the news from the camp is that the team has been really working hard on its fitness and the bowlers on getting their rhythms right. They were made to bowl with teh fifth stump just to get thier ” just outside off stump ” line right. The first Test starts in Bangalore on October 9. The second is in Mohali from October 17-21. The squad for the remaining fixtures, in Delhi and Nagpur, will be named after the second Test. Here’s the squad :

  • Anil Kumble
  • Virender Sehwag
  • Gautam Gambhir
  • Rahul Dravid
  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Saurav Ganguly
  • V.V.S. Laxman
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  • Harbhajan Singh
  • Zaheer Khan
  • Ishanth Sharma
  • Munaf Patel
  • R.P. Singh
  • Subramaniam Badrinath
  • Amit Mishra

August 3, 2008

India Level The Series At Galle

Posted in Cricket tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:46 pm by techtwist

Indians have done it again when their backs were completely against the wall. What a way to comeback after suffering the third biggest loss? No one expected India to win the game. But then, the Indians have proved their mettle once again. Anil Kumble said he was not surprised by this victory as he had full faith in his team and knew what every member was capable of in their dressing room.

First, it was Sehwag in the first innings with that magnificient 201*. It was his 11 century on a trot which has been converted into a 150+ score. What a feat? It was a terrific display of his mental strength to comeback in such a way after the first test loss. He single handedly took India to a position of comfort. Then it was Harbhajan Singh who picked up six wickets to back Sehwag’s effort. Sehwag and Gambhir again propelled India to a good start and as usual, the Indians fumbled out of nowhere. The worst part is that they looked pretty comfortable against the spinners.

Then Ishanth Sharma and Zaheer Khan bowled beautifully. Both looked good for more wickets. Ishanth Sharma in particular was at his devastating best. It reminded me of his duel with Ricky Ponting at Perth ( Listen To What Sanjay Manjrekar Had To Say About Ishanth Sharma ). He was consistently around the 135-140 kmph mark. His spell was inspirational. By the time the spinners came, the damage was already done. Credit should go to the 19 year old lad for his efforts. Then Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble completed the other formalities and we won by 170 runs.

There were few more areas where we could improve and if we can get that right it would be a another cracker of a contest in a weeks time. Mahela Jayawardene was so very impressed with Ishanth Sharma that he has already hinted at a pace bowler in his line-up. The highlight of this match was how the openers nullified Ajantha Mendis and Muralidaran. It was a treat to watch them dominate the Sri Lankan spinners. If they can repeat the show, we can probably bag this series.

May 16, 2008

Mumbai Indians Rattle Kolkatta Knight Riders

Posted in IPL tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:56 pm by techtwist

What a marvellous display of bowling we had here today? Who would have expected such a bowler dominated game in IPL specially with the trend it was following? It was simple outstanding to see the Mumbai Indians bowlers go about their work in such a manner. They kept it simple and bowled to their strengths. Shaun Pollock, as usual, provided the early jolts for the team which they managed to keep it up till the end. The Kolkatta Knight Riders didn’t have even a single chance to get back after the initial setback.

They were caught in a state of dilemma of whether to preserve wickets or go for the runs. At last, they managed neither and crumbled to the lowest score in the IPL tournament of 67 all out. Only three batsmen, namely Salman Butt, Saurav Ganguly and Ajith Agarkar managed a double digit score. The rest failed and fell like nine-pins.

As for the chase, Mumbai Indians lost Sachin Tendulkar in the first over for a duck off the bowling of Shoaib Akthar. Then Robin Uthappa also fell cheaply. But they now boast of in-form Sanath Jayasuriya in their ranks who smashed 47 of just 17 balls to ensure no further damage was done. He clobbered both Shoaib Akthar and Ishanth Sharma with such ease that the crowd were brought to their feat. Pollock ended up with figures of 11/3 of his four overs which also earned him the Man-Of-The-Match. Mumbai Indians are now on 10 points along with Delhi Daredevils and Kolkatta Knight Riders in the table and they have the best net run-rate in the tournament now. Clearly their chances of making it to the final four is certainly pretty high.

April 19, 2008

McCullum’s Royal Challenge

Posted in IPL tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:36 am by techtwist

The IPL kicked off in style with a stunning opening ceremony that left the spectators awe-struck. ” I haven’t seen an opening ceremony as stunning as this one ” echoed many of them. It was totally magnificient. If the opening ceremony was like that, the match was all the more stunning.

Brendon McCullum and Saurav Ganguly walked in for the Kolkatta Knight Riders and were right there from the first over. The team reached 50 in just 4 overs. Ganguly was struggling at the other end though McCullum kept belting the bowlers. Even he struggled a bit initially but he admitted that the felt the pressure and was a bit nervous at the start. But once he kept rolling, there was no stopping him.

He went from strength to strength and wasn’t merciful at all. He kept smacking the ball all around the stadium as though playing a school game. Trust me, the Bangalore Royal Challengers had a better attack than it appeared to be. But McCullum was exceptional. It was one of those days where in you can just enjoy the display. The fact that the next highest score was 20 by Ricky Ponting says the entire story. The paddle shot that he played Zaheer Khan over fine leg for a six was just tremendous. There came a point when you could just tell what would happen the next ball. He was unbeaten at the end with a score of 158* in just 73 balls.

Bangalore Royal Challengers were never even close to matching the performance. The were bundled out for a meagre 82 in reply to 222 for 3 by Kolkatta Knight Riders. The wickets kept falling in heaps. What was good to see was the way the Kolkatta Team played together. It looked as though it wasn’t the first time they were playing together. Ricky Ponting, David Hussey, McCullum, Ganguly, Hafeez, Ishanth etc. every one kept enjoying each other’s success. What a site?

McCullum was given with a orange helmet that is kept in every stadium for all the matches which is to be given to the player of the day, just in reply to Tour de Frances’ yellow jersey. He fittingly deserved it. There are more fire works today with Chennai Super Kings taking on King’s XI Punjab and Delhi taking on Rajasthan Royals. Lets wait and watch even this.

April 13, 2008

Thumping Reply To Level Series

Posted in Cricket tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:26 pm by techtwist

India beat South Africa by 8 wickets in the Third and Final Test to level the series. Rahul Dravid hit a boundary to seal the match for India at Green Park, Kanpur. India went into the match without Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar. But they played really well after being thrashed in the previous match.

They seem to perform well when their backs are against the walls. M.S.Dhoni had a successful stint in his debut match as Captain. He made some challenging moves including making Harbhajan Singh bowl the first over in the second innings and that too with an aggressive field set in place.

During the South African Innings, Harbhajan picked up four, Sehwag three and Ishanth Sharma two and Sreesanth one. But the decisive moment was the tenth wicket stand between Ishanth Sharma and Sreesanth of a crucial 46 that changed the course of the game. It proved quite crucial as the South Africans manged just 121 in the second innings leaving Indians a target of 62. Sehwag was in a hurry to complete the game quickly and hit a couple of lusty blows before falling.

All in all, the Indians have given back what they got in the previous Test and have managed to level the series. Again, the Indian spinners have done it for us. Dhoni must be extremely happy with the way his debut match as Captain has gone.

Harbhajan Singh has picked up 19 wickets in the series and has been the succesful bowler of the series followed by Dale Steyn with 15 wickets. Saurav Ganguly has been named as the Man-Of-The-Match after his 87 in the first innings. Saurav Ganguly has performed extremely well on two entirely different tracks, a green top followed by a dust bowl. He seems to be getting better and might be in the ODI ranks soon. Harbhajan Singh has been declared the Man-Of-The-Series for his stunning display with the ball. All the eyes will focus towards IPL in the coming days.

Next page