Mumbai win in game of nerves

Elimination Final – Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

on May 25th 2011 at 14:30 GMT

Venue - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

In a match filled nerves, Mumbai Indians came out as the superior side. Chasing 147 Mumbai Indians for most part of it kept their nerves which not only resulted in the victory but also the fact that now they will be facing Royal Challengers Bangalore for the one final plays in the IPL finale.

Mumbai got off to probably what can be said one of their best opening partnerships when Aiden Blizzard and Sachin Tendulkar posted 81. At that time they looked like they would cruise to victory but Kolkata Knight Riders pulled things back with regular wickets. They not only removed the opening pair of Sachin and Blizzard for 36 and 51 respectively but also removed Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayadu for 0 and 12 respectively. Kieron Pollard and Suman soon followed just managing 3 and 2.

It looked like Mumbai were back to one of their disaster chases. But James Franklin held his nerve and Harbhajan Singh played the only way he knows to play. He hit a boundary that took pressure of Franklin and kept run rate in check. Harbhajan also finished the innings with a 6 which resulted in Mumbai successfully chasing down the target with 4 balls to spare. They now have a chance to reach the finals and they also have a shot at the Champions trophy.

Kolkata Knight Riders would be terribly disappointed with their batting performance. Instead of playing an intelligent game, most of the Kolkata batsmen chose to play a flashy innings. They failed to rotate the strike as they went after the bowling. This mounted not so required pressure on them and Gautam Gambhir, Goswani and Manoj Tiwari fell trying to play the shots that were uncharacteristic of their game.

A breath relief came in form of Ryan ten Doeschate who scored 70 of 49 balls to get Kolkata to a decent total. Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan both scored 20’s to get Kolkata to 147. In the end that total proved insufficient and Kolkata are now knocked out of the tournament.

Elimination Final – Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Elimination Final – Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

on May 25th 2011 at 14:30 GMT

Venue - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

After the epic Sunday clash the Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders will face each other in the eliminator. The team that wins today will play qualifier match with Royals Challengers Bangalore to advance to the finals. The team that loses tonight will have to bow out of the tournament.

The last time these two teams played each other, the match went down to the last ball and nothing less can be expected this time around too. Both of these teams are strong in batting as well as bowling departments.

Mumbai Indians seemed invincible in the beginning. They dominated every match they played. Malinga and Munaf Patel were lethal upfront knocking down the openers. Harbhajan Singh controlled the middle overs. The batting department was led by Sachin Tendulkar who held on to the orange cap for a long time. He was supported well by Ambati Rayadu. Sachin and Rayadu mostly finished the matches but when they failed Rohit Sharma supported by Andrew Symmonds stepped up the plate. They looked like a commendable side.

But off late, the chinks in their armor have been more than visible. They don’t have a strong opening pair. They heavily rely on Sachin Tendulkar to provide good starts. The middle order craves on Rayadu and Sharma. Other than these none of the other players have taken up the lead and delivered. They have been working around these 3 batsmen and when these 3 fail, the team ends up on the losing side. The bowling too depends on 3 players and has shown that if teams are patient they can post a high total against Mumbai.

Kolkata on the other hand look more solid but the last result has shown other wise. With Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis at top and Manoj Tiwari and Yusuf Pathan in the middle their batting looks more solid. Their bowling too is a good mix of pace and spin bowling. The problem for Kolkata would be to hold their nerves till and perform. With his match being a must win game, nerves and pressure will play a huge role.

Raina powers Chennai to finals

Qualifier 1 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings

on 24th May 2011 at 14:30 GMT,

Venue - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

Chennai Super Kings plucked the win out of thin air to advance into the finals of this edition’s IPL. Through out the chase Chennai looked like they were lagging behind and Royal Challengers Bangalore seemed like the sure winners. But the end result was something completely different thanks to power hitting in the end by Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel.

Chasing 175 Chennai got off to a rocky start as they lost both their openers cheaply with just 7 runs on the board. Suresh Raina and Badrinath consolidated the innings but the run rate kept building up and adding pressure on the batsmen. Both Badrinath and Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost their wickets just when they looked dangerous. With 45 runs to get from last 3 overs Bangalore looked like clear cut winners. But then everything changed.

Suresh Raina who was going attacking the bowling was joined by Albie Morkel. They both set out to achieve the impossible and in the end they did. The 19th over by S Aravind was a misery to Bangalore team as it leaked 21 leaving Chennai to score 12 runs of last 6 balls. They got to the target with 2 balls to spare.

Before the question of the day was would Bangalore post a big total even if they lost Gayle cheaply and boy did they answer in style! Gayle was out for 8 but it was Virat Kohli and co that powered Bangalore to the target of 175 which at that point looked match winning but in the end proved insufficient.

With this win Chennai move directly into the finals. Bangalore though have a second chance, where they would either face Mumbai Indians or Kolkata Knight Riders for a spot in the finals.

Qualifier 1 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings

Qualifier 1 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings

on 24th May 2011 at 14:30 GMT,

Venue - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

The league phase is over and the play-offs kick start tonight. Thanks to the results of the last two league matches Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore will face each other again tonight. Given the result of Sunday, Royal Challengers Bangalore will start off as the favorites.

Royal Challengers Bangalore has tried 3 different opening combinations after the departure of Tilakaratne Dilshan. None of the 3 options seemed right. Especially the promotion of AB de Villiers to top leaves the middle order open and vulnerable. So Bangalore might go back to their old opener Mayank Agarwal even though he wasn’t that effective.

Chennai Super Kings main worry would be Chris Gayle. With the current form that Gayle is in, he is winning the matches single handedly for the Bangalore team. After Chennai were on his receiving side on Sunday, they would want him gone early to control the damage that he is capable off. On the plus side Chennai does have the bowling that can remove the giant.

Bangalore have mainly depended on Gayle in the past few matches and if he goes early they might be in trouble. Except for Virat Kohli none of the other Bangalore batsmen have been effective. Chennai would be looking to capitalize this weakness of Bangalore.

With teams so evenly matches, there is nothing to choose between them. A team that handles the pressure well and keeps its nerves till the end will come out successful at the end of the match.

Mumbai pull off an impossible victory

70th Match – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians

on May 22nd 2011 at 14:30 GMT

Venue – Eden Gardens, Kolkata

The whole stadium of Eden Gardens stunned to silence as Mumbai Indians pulled off an impossible victory. Kolkata Knight were sure of victory till the 19th over but were robbed of it in broad day light by Mumbai Indians. With 21 to win from the last over, Kolkata seemed to be on the top. But the Mumbai rode high on nerves of Balaji, edges and their luck.

When Gautam Gambhir handed Balaji the ball in the final, he and his whole team would have seen sure of a victory but what conspired next was one of their worst nightmares. The 1st ball that Balaji bowls is a full toss and James Franklin edged it towards a boundary. The next 3 balls too had the same result and the equation was reduced to 5 runs from 2 balls. In the 5th ball Franklin managed a single which got Ambati Rayadu on strike with 4 runs needed from 1 ball. Ambati Rayadu had a Javed Miandad moment as he lofted the last ball for 6 taking Mumbai to such required which broke their losing streak.

Before all this last over drama Mumbai had begun their chase of 175 with a boundary in the 1st ball. But it dint last long as Suman fell soon afterwards. Sachin Tendulkar was then joined by Harbhajan Singh who was promoted to top to keep the run rate in check. Just when Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar looked dangerous Kolkata pulled things back by 4quick wickets. They not only picked wickets but also put pressure on Mumbai which resulted in one the dramatic final overs in IPL.

Kolkata reached 175 thanks to the brilliant innings of 59 by Jacques Kallis and quick 30’s by Manoj Tiwari and Yusuf Pathan. Kallis played the sheath anchor role which gave license to Pathan and Tiwari to go after the bowling. Once they fell, Kallis took it upon himself to accelerate and got the total to 175 which proved to be inadequate in the end.

Gayle puts Bangalore on top

69th Match – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings

on May 22nd 2011 at 10:30 GMT

Venue - M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

The eight wickets win over the Chennai Super Kings puts Royal Challengers Bangalore on the top. Once again it was Chris Gayle who was the key in the victory after the Bangalore bowlers restricted Chennai batsmen to a gettable total of 128, a total was never really enough.

Batting 1st Chennai Super Kings had one of their worst starts ever. Zaheer Khan troubled the Chennai batsmen upfront with a teasing line and length due to which the Chennai batsmen were forced to defend rather than attack. Sreenath Aravind dint let the pressure off the other end as he also bowled beautifully increasing the pressure on the batsmen. The 1st break through came in the 3rd over as Zaheer Khan knocked over Mike Hussey’s wicket.

The fall of wickets continued in the 4th, 5th and the 6th overs as Chennai were reduced to 22 for 4. Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina and S Badrinath were back in pavilion thanks to Aravind, Khan and Daniel Vettori respectively. Mahendra Singh Dhoni along with Wriddhiman Saha played a consolidate innings before Saha got out when Chennai were 64. Dwayne Bravo dint last long either, as he got out for 5. It was then that Dhoni started his carnage by hitting the balls out of park. He again showed how powerful his shots can be. He scored 70 of just 40 balls which included 6 sixes and 4 fours. But even his innings could only get Chennai to 128 as he failed to have any support from other batsmen.

In contrast was the Bangalore batting that showed stability and carnage that Chris Gayle is capable of. Even though AB de Villiers was out for a duck, it made no difference what so ever to the Bangalore team as Gayle again was stirring up a storm in the other end. Like many captains before, Dhoni too was incapable to stop the havoc that Gayle was causing. Virat Kohli played the role of supporting batsman to perfection as he kept rotating the strike and let Gayle cause all the damage.

What ever Dhoni tried failed to cause any difference to Gayle what so ever. He kept playing the only way he knows to play. He scored 75 of 50 balls which included 6 sixes and 4 fours. As a result Bangalore reached the target with 2 overs to spare and in that course they knocked Chennai over and occupied the top spot.

Rain stops the play

68th Match – Delhi Daredevils vs Pune Warriors

on May 21st 2011 at 14:30 GMT

Venue - Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Delhi Daredevils end up in the last spot on the table thanks to the rain. In the match between Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors, Delhi were struggling at 56 for 3 in 10 overs before the rain poured down. The Pune bowlers were on top and Delhi batsmen struggled but rain saved Delhi from further misery by making it impossible to continue the match.


Deccan crashes Punjab out

67th Match Preview – Kings XI Punjab vs Deccan Chargers,

on May 21st 2011 at 10:30 GMT,

Venue - Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala

The fairytale journey of Kings XI Punjab came to an end tonight and unfortunately it wasn’t the end they had hoped for. It was a must win game for Punjab when they faced Deccan Chargers and unfortunately they lost with a huge margin of 82 runs. This defeat not only puts Punjab out of the contest but also assures Kolkata and Mumbai a place in the play offs.

When Adam Gilchrist chose to bowl first after winning the toss, Punjab’s intentions were clear, they wanted to chase down the target that Deccan posted with a good run rate so as to move ahead of Kolkata in the net run rate. But always things don’t go according to the plan. Missed catches, sloppy fielding and some good batting assured that Punjab’s dreams crashed and crashed hard.

Batting 1st Deccan Chargers got off to one of the best stars in this tournament. Of course, courtesy to missed catches and missed fields and missed run outs. Deccan Chargers rode high on their luck as they put up 131 partnership for the 1st wicket. Shikar Dhawan who came into this tournament with high expectations finally lived up to his name and batted beautifully for his 95 of 57 deliveries. He looked like he would reach his 1st century of the tournament but 3 quick wickets got him stranded on 95 but Deccan Chargers ended up with their best total of 198.

Even though chasing 198 was going to be difficult it was never impossible given that Adam Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty put their best foot forward. Valthaty started of with confidence as he hit Dale Steyn for a boundary. But it was Steyn who had the last laugh as Valthaty fell in the very next ball. Shaun Marsh who has been brilliant through out the series failed when his team needed him the most. He fell in the very 2nd over of the game to a part time bowler JP Duminy.

Adam Gilchrist though looked dangerous and caused some tension in the Deccan camp. But when he fell for 57 followed immediately by Dinesh Karthik it was all but over for Punjab. They lost their 10 wickets in 19 overs and fell short of 82 runs in the end.

Even though Punjab will be disappointed they have been amazing in their tournament by coming back from dead and proving their critics who said they weren’t good enough wrong. Deccan would be happy to bow out of the tournament with 3 straight wins in their last 3 matches. Punjab end up in 5th position and Deccan in 7th.

67th Match Preview – Kings XI Punjab vs Deccan Chargers

67th Match Preview – Kings XI Punjab vs Deccan Chargers,

on May 21st 2011 at 10:30 GMT,

Venue - Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala

This is a do or die situation for Kings XI Punjab, a big win in this match will keep them alive in the tournament and a loss means they are out of the tournament. Punjab is ahead of Mumbai Indians in net run rate thanks to Mumbai’s dismissal performance yesterday night. If Punjab beat the Deccan Chargers by a huge margin they will move ahead of Kolkata too, which would mean that the who ever loses the match between Kolkata and Mumbai will be out of the tournament. If Punjab wins but with a small margin then they would be hoping that either Mumbai lose to Kolkata or Mumbai beat Kolkata by a huge margin. However, if they lose tonight they are out.

In the last encounter between the two teams, Punjab clearly came on top beating Deccan Chargers by a huge margin. Both these teams come into this match with wins behind their back. Deccan Chargers would be confident after 2 major wins in the last 2 matches. They will be missing the services of Kumara Sangakkara which means they would have a new captain. It would also mean that they would have to replace him with out of form Cameron White or Michael Lumb or Chris Lynn both of who have hardly played any matches. This for sure would cause some dent in the Deccan Chargers.

The absence of Sangakkara might come in handy for Punjab but it will all depend on their nerves. Knowing Adam Gilchrist you can be sure that he would keep his team on their toes and lead the team like a true leader. He hit beautiful form last match and would be hoping to continue the same in today’s match. They have peaked in this tournament at the right time and would be hoping to continue the same tonight.

Shane Watson puts Mumbai in trouble

66th Match – Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals

on May 20th 2011 at 14:30 GMT

Venue - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

All the eyes today were on what may be the final face off between Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar. But it was Shane Watson who stole the show with his exemplary performance with the bat. His brilliant innings was not only responsible for the dream farewell for Shane Warne but also for Mumbai Indian’s worries.

Batting 1st Mumbai Indians dint put up a performance a strong team like them is capable off. They struggled upfront as they lost 2 quick wickets of Suman and Ambati Rayadu. Even though Sachin Tendulkar scored 31 his innings wasn’t fluent. He struggled in the middle and was trapped by Anveet Chavan twice but the umpires dint seem to agree. Even when everyone had braced themselves for a show down between Sachin and Shane Warne it was Amit Singh who sent the Little Master walking.

Rajasthan bowlers bowled brilliantly and made the Mumbai batsmen work for their runs. Nothing was given easily to the Mumbai batsmen that made them struggle a lot in the middle. In the end when Kieron Pollard just seemed to get going Shane Watson came back to dismiss him before he caused any damage. Mumbai reached a total of 133 thanks to the classy innings by Rohit Sharma. He scored 58 of 47 balls and was the only batsmen who looked to attack the bowling.

In total contrast with the Mumbai batting, Rajasthan batsmen went for the kill. Shane Watson who had got off to starts before but never converted stuck around today much to the misery of Mumbai Indians. He looked in exceptional form as he went on to score 89 of just 47 balls.

Sachin Tendulkar tried everything. He brought his most lethal weapons Malinga and Harbhajan Singh but Shane Watson sent them both out of the park. Malinga who seems to create fear in batsmen failed to do so in Shane Watson. Shane Watson went after the bowlers and succeeded. He was supported well by Rahul Dravid who got to a slow start but picked up later on. He played the supporting role well by scoring 43 of 32. As a result Rajasthan chased down the target without losing a single wicket and 41 balls to spare.

Mumbai Indians have now lost 3 matches in a row which puts a lot of pressure on them to perform well in the last game against Kolkata Knight Riders. If Kings XI Punjab loses tomorrow they will be through to the play-offs but if Punjab beats Deccan with a huge margin, Mumbai would have to win its next game.