Welcome back (that one's for me).
I haven't posted one of these for a bit now. A combination of 'no time' and 'frustration' kept me away from my blog, but since the IPL is about to end, I feel obliged to expose you to my cricketing brain once more.
It's been a great IPL, lots of close matches, some amazing spin bowling - thanks to the end-of-season worn-out South African pitches. Kumble's 5-5 and some Murali magic come to mind. Fantastic innings - be it the biggies from AB deVilliers, Suresh Raina and Manish Pandey (he's my age!), or the short and sweet ones like Rohit Sharma's or Abhishek Nayar's. And of course, there was that one absolute stunner from Gilchrist that had the Daredevils peeing in their pants and yelling "Uncle!" Which he probably is to some of them, age-wise.
The Mumbai Indians failed to get to the semis again. Befuddling captaincy and side-selection from Sachin and losing from impossible-to-lose situations did them in yet again. They experimented throughout their campaign, and my analysis is that Jayasuriya has to go. The middle and lower order kept struggling in his not-so-long shadow after repeated failures, as wickets slow down the run-rate. Mumbai needs to bring in someone fearsome. Someone who will bat with a brain, yet is able to accelerate when needed. All fingers (10, or more if you're a freak) point to an Aussie. Can they nick someone like a Hussey in the transfer window next season? Time will tell.
I've gotten ahead of myself, thinking of next season. So then, about tomorrow's match. The final, that is. Last year's winner and runner-up of the wooden spoon have made the finals. Don't know why, don't know how. They didn't even change their teams! (I'm not counting Pietersen and Jesse, zero impact). This should be entertaining, though.
Prediction - Can't. This IPL has numbed my clairvoyance. I'm gonna be brave though, and root for Kumble's disciplined bunch. And I declare that Gilchrist will (gasp) fall early.
Also, Fake IPL Player has a hilarious bunch of awards to give out. Read here.
Until next year (for IPL, I'm still here).
Welcome back (that one's for me).
Okay, lame headline. This time, it doesn't even mean something! It could, though. Mumbai have played six matches (I'm not counting the rained-out missed opportunity for 2 points against Rajasthan) and their record is WLWLWL. By this pattern, today should be a cinch, especially since Deccan are now beginning to lose matches. Probably because of overdependence on Gilly and Gibbs(y). But are the Mumbai Indians really bad, as in their embarassing loss to Bangalore, or really good, as in their victories over Chennai and Kolkata? They do rely a lot on Jayasuriya and Tendulkar to gove them a good start, but JP Duminy, Bravo and Nayar have shown that they are capable of consolidating, too. Bhajji Singh has done well in his role as a pinch-hitter, but the others - Saurabh Tiwary, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan have failed to capitalise on their admittedly limited opportunities. The bowling has been great from Malinga, Zaheer and Bravo, but Harbhajan needs to step it up a notch and another bowler needs to be drafted in ahead of one of the batsmen - probably Dhawal Kulkarni, who might play today after Zaheer injured himself. If Gilchrist, Gibbs and RP Singh are seen off today, then Mumbai should win this.
Key Players - JP Duminy and Harbhajan Singh