Friday, May 23, 2008

Delhi Daredevils VS Mumbai Indians
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Start time 20.00 (Local), 14.30 (GMT)

The last chance for Delhi Daredevils for an entry to Semis and their high power clash with Mumbai Indians, the most favourite for the Semis as of now. However heavy rain with thunder storm has also been predicted to check them ... ! Please visit here for more details and Live Links for watching this match.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kings XI Punjab v Deccan Chargers IPL

Mohali , May 23, 2008

Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)

The Big Picture

With Kolkata Knight Riders' match against the Delhi Daredevils washed out, Kings XI Punjab find themselves in the semi-finals and now play for rankings in the top four. Their one-run win against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday would have boosted them and they will be eager to maintain their winning momentum against the bottom-placed Deccan Chargers at home, where they have lost only one match - their first - so far.

One can't, however, write off Deccan, who will take heart from the manner in which the Bangalore Royal Challengers - similarly out of knockout contention - beat a complacent Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday. Deccan can only salvage some pride and avoid ending the tournament in last place.

The last time the two sides met, in Hyderabad, Punjab beat Deccan by seven wickets on the back of Shaun Marsh's unbeaten half-century. Though they have missed Kumar Sangakkara for five matches now, Punjab have found an able replacement in Luke Pomersbach, an Australian Twenty20 specialist.

Tournament position

Kings XI Punjab: P11, W8, L3, NRR +0.436Deccan Chargers: P11, W2, L9, NRR -0.463
Form (last five matches, most recent first)Kings XI Punjab: WWWLWDeccan Chargers: LLLLW

Watch out for ...

Marsh's attacking strokeplay. He is currently the third highest run-getter in the tournament, just seven runs behind Virender Sehwag. Sreesanth's new-ball spell against Adam Gilchrist. In this year's CB Series, Sreesanth dismissed Gilchrist three times in five matches - all for scores less than 20. RP Singh's race with Sreesanth for the purple cap. While both have 15 wickets each from 11 games, Sreesanth's economy-rate is lower by a margin of 0.36.

Team news

Despite missing Sangakkara, Punjab have no worries over their batting. In their last four wins, they haven't used more than six batsmen to set or chase a target. However, with a semi-final spot sealed, Punjab may experiment with their batting order, giving Pankaj Dharmani a game over Uday Kaul. But their bowling needs some attention - Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan conceded 34 runs in the first two overs against Mumbai. VRV Singh, who bowled the see-saw final over in that game, went wicketless and for 14 an over. Punjab may think of bringing back medium-pacer Gagandeep Singh for batsman Tanmay Srivastava.

Kings XI Punjab (probable):

1 Shaun Marsh, 2 James Hopes, 3 Luke Pomersbach, 4 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 5 Mahela Jayawardene 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Pankaj Dharmani (wk), 8 Gagandeep Singh, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Sreesanth, 11 VRV Singh.

It's been more than two weeks since Deccan won a game but in the Twenty20 format an over can turn the match on its head. Gilchrist and Venugopal Rao are their only batsmen to have fired with some consistency but since they have nothing to lose, Deccan may continue to give chances to their younger players. Herschelle Gibbs, dropped for the previous game against Mumbai for Orissa's 21-year old wicketkeeper Halhadar Das, may find himself excluded yet again. After conceding 37 runs in three overs against Mumbai, Nuwan Zoysa may also be dropped in favour of medium-pacer Sarvesh Kumar.

Deccan Chargers (probable):

1 Adam Gilchrist (capt & wk), 2 Shahid Afridi, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Chamara Silva, 5 Venugopal Rao, 6 D Ravi Teja, 7 Sarvesh Kumar, 8 Halhadhar Das, 9 RP Singh, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 D Vijaykumar.

Stats and trivia

Adam Gilchrist has aggregated 163 in two innings in the matches Deccan have won and 172 in eight innings in matches they've lost.
In Punjab's innings, against Mumbai on Wednesday, the right-handers' contribution to the total of 189 was one run.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, 47th IPL
Delhi May 22, 2008
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)

The Big Picture
With the fourth-placed Mumbai Indians having a game in hand, the Delhi Daredevils [equal with Mumbai on 12 points] aren't quite on the inside track for a place in the semi-finals. And their task is made more arduous by the fact that a threat of rain hangs over their home game against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Their other concern for them remains the over-reliance on their top three - a top-order failure has invariably resulted in a Delhi loss.

One factor to their advantage is that the Kolkata camp is demoralised after three consecutive defeats, virtually extinguishing their semi-final hopes and have had to deal with the distraction created by rumours of a rift between captain Sourav Ganguly and team owner Shah Rukh Khan. Also, Delhi's impressive bowling should relish taking on a Kolkata batting line-up that has failed in four successive matches. However, Delhi should guard against complacency - the last time the two sides met, an incisive Shoaib Akhtar spell sent them crashing to defeat.

Tournament position
Delhi Daredevils: P12, W6, L6, NRR +0.350Kolkata Knight Riders: P12, W5, L7, NRR -0.167
Form (last five matches, most recent first)Delhi Daredevils: WLWLLKolkata Knight Riders: LLLWW

Watch out for ...

Umar Gul - After three games on the bench, his first over was a superb double-wicket maiden against Rajasthan which dragged Kolkata back into the game. His clever variations of length could put the brakes on the rampaging Delhi top order.

Farveez Maharoof - At US$225,000 Maharoof is turning out to be a steal. He has been Scrooge-like with his economy and his big-hitting has saved the middle-order's blushes on several occasions.

Delhi's fielding: Delhi are perhaps the best fielding side in the IPL - Tillakaratne Dilshan has been sensational in the ring and AB de Villiers and Shoaib Malik have patrolled the straight boundaries superbly.

Team news
With both Pradeep Sangwan and Rajat Bhatia having had forgettable outings against the Bangalore Royal Challengers on Monday, one of them could make way for legspinner Amit Mishra. With de Villiers having failed to make more than 26 in six innings, he could lose his place to Shoaib Malik. Another option for Delhi is to drop the out-of-form Dinesh Karthik and bring in Manoj Tiwary.

Delhi Daredevils Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan, Shoaib Malik, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof, Rajat Bhatia, Amit Mishra, Yo Mahesh, Glenn McGrath

Kolkata coach John Buchanan has said that they are likely to try out some of their lesser-known players. That could mean Siddarth Kaul getting a game ahead of Ashok Dinda. Local boy Ishant Sharma should get a game at the Kotla while Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis might be preferred to Mohammad Hafeez.

Kolkata Knight Riders Salman Butt, Debabrata Das, Sourav Ganguly (capt), David Hussey, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha, Ajit Agarkar, Ajantha Mendis, Ishant Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Umar Gul

Stats and trivia

Delhi's top three - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan - have scored 65.7% of their team's runs

Kolkata's opening partnership so far has yielded only 18.83 runs per innings

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mumbai Indians Vs Kings XI Punjab 45th IPL
Tuesday May 21, 2008 Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Start time local 16:00 (GMT) 10:30

The Big Picture
The fortunes of both Mumbai and Punjab have changed remarkably since their first meeting in the Indian Premier League. Both teams had lost their first two games going into that match in Mohali, which ended with Harbhajan Singh slapping Sreesanth. Since then, Punjab have moved to second place in the league; Mumbai have strung together six wins in a row; Harbhajan has been banned for the rest of the tournament; and Sreesanth's bowling form has improved considerably.

Punjab have won seven games out of ten but another victory would virtually ensure a spot in the final four. Their top order - especially Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach - has been producing excellent starts, and Mahela Jayawardene, who has had a quiet tournament, came good to clinch a run-chase by the D/L method against Delhi. Their other strength is the ability of their medium-pacers to consistently hit the blockhole during the final overs.

The stakes are higher for Mumbai, though, for they have climbed off the bottom of the table into contention for the semis by moving into fourth place. They have the winning momentum and two games in hand over Delhi and Kolkata, the other contenders for the last semi-final berth. However, they are without Dwayne Bravo, a crucial allrounder in their line-up, and will have to fill his slot with one of the two new arrivals, Dwayne Smith and Andre Nel.

Tournament position
Mumbai Indians: P10, W6, L4, NRR +0.727
Kings XI Punjab: P10, W7, L3, NRR +0.475
Form (last five matches, most recent first)
Mumbai Indians: WWWWWKings XI Punjab: WWLWW

Watch out for...

Sanath Jayasuriya, who has spoilt the Mumbai crowd with his spectacular batting; the Wankhede will expect nothing less
VRV Singh, Sreesanth and Pathan. They've ensured that teams haven't been able to accelerate during the final overs with a consistent block-hole length.
More consistency from Marsh at the top, setting up the platform for the middle-order to accelerate.

Team news
The vacancy created by Bravo's departure will be filled by either Smith or Nel and Tendulkar said they would make the decision on Wednesday. Both Shaun Pollock and Dhawal Kulkarni missed the game against Deccan Chargers because of injuries and they too will be assessed on match day. If Pollock isn't fit, Nel will almost certainly make his IPL debut.

Mumbai Indians (probable):
1 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Dominic Thornley, 5 Dwayne Smith, 6 Shaun Pollock, 7 Abhishek Nayar, 8 Yogesh Takawale (wk), 9 Dhawal Kulkarni, 10 Rohan Raje, 11 Ashish Nehra
Yuvraj Singh, the Punjab captain, said Kumar Sangakkara was yet to recover fully from his side strain. VRV was also reported to have a back strain. It is unlikely that Punjab will play both spinners Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar and the medium-pacer Gagandeep Singh is likely to replace Powar.

Kings XI Punjab (probable):
1 Shaun Marsh, 2 James Hopes, 3 Luke Pomersbach, 4 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Gangandeep Singh, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Uday Kaul (wk), 10 Sreesanth, 11 VRV Singh.

Stats and trivia

Punjab's 66-run win against Mumbai in Mohali remains second on the list of largest victories in terms of runs.

Andre Nel has conceded 5.25 per over in his two Twenty20 internationals and 5.77 per over in 18 domestic matches.

Tendulkar has scored only 35 runs in three games at a strike-rate of only 92.10.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Rajasthan Royals 44th Match
Eden Gardens, Kolkata on 20 May 2008
Start time Local 20:00 (GMT) 14:30

The Big Picture
Despite a loss in the key game against the Chennai Super Kings, the Kolkata Knight Riders are still in the running for a place in the semi-finals. Winning all three games will obviously boost their chances, but it still won't assure them a top-four slot. Similarly, a loss will diminish their chances, but they could still make the cut with 14 points, if other results go their way.

Shoaib Akhtar's knee injury and an unforgiving schedule, though, makes their task even harder. For a team who are yet to prove they can compete against the top teams, two of their three remaining games are against the most formidable sides of the tournament - Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. Kolkata's inconsistent batting remains their main bugbear with the troubles starting at the top - seven different combinations in 11 games have yielded less than 20 runs an innings.

With all their departments firing and comfortably perched at the top of the table, the Rajasthan Royals have no such concerns. A win against Kolkata will guarantee a spot in the final four, and with it an opportunity to give some of their top players a break in the remaining three league games.

Tournament position
Kolkata Knight Riders: P11, W5, L6, NRR -0.026Rajasthan Royals: P10, W8, L2, NRR +0.876
Form (last five matches, most recent first)Kolkata Knight Riders: LLWWWRajasthan Royals: WWWLW

Watch out for

The clash of the captains - Shane Warne and Sourav Ganguly had a war of words after Ganguly refused to walk when a catch was claimed at midwicket in their previous encounter.
Graeme Smith against the Kolkata pace attack - Smith has been hard to dislodge and has orchestrated several of Rajasthan's successful chases. Who wins the battle between him and Kolkata's formidable fast bowlers could be a key factor in the match's result.
Team newsIf Shoaib's knee injury doesn't heal in time, Umar Gul is likely to get a look in after missing three games. While the batting continues to struggle, a lack of quality alternatives could see Kolkata go in with the same batsmen.

Kolkata Knight Riders (probable):
Salman Butt, Mohammad Hafeez, Sourav Ganguly (capt), Debabrata Das, David Hussey, Laxmi Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ajit Agarkar, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Umar Gul

Unless Rajasthan want to give some of their regulars a rest, they could go in with the same XI that clinically dismantled Bangalore on Saturday.

Rajasthan Royals (probable):
Graeme Smith, Swapnil Asnodkar, Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Kaif, Ravindra Jadeja, Shane Warne (wk), Sohail Tanvir, Mahesh Rawat, Siddharth Trivedi, Munaf Patel

Stats and trivia

Sohail Tanvir, who fancies himself as a Man-of-the-Series contender, has taken 11 wickets and maintained an outstanding economy rate of 5.91

While Kolkata have won all four of their matches against the bottom-placed sides Deccan and Bangalore, they have triumphed in only one of their seven against the others.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bangalore Royal Challengers Vs Delhi Daredevils -43rd Match
Monday, May 19, 2008
Start time 20:00 (local), 14:30(GMT)

The Big Picture

The Delhi Daredevils' semi-final hopes have dimmed after four defeats in five outings but they couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to reignite their campaign. Delhi's frustrations coming into the game are compounded by losing two close encounters over the last ten days, but they shouldn't have too many sleepless nights ahead of their encounter with the weakest side in the tournament.

Gautam Gambhir, with 465 runs at 46.50, has gained a big lead in the run-chart and is followed by his captain, Virender Sehwag, who has cracked 338 runs at 37.55. They also possess a well-oiled bowling unit, which has been further strengthened by the control show by the legspinner, Amit Mishra.

The under-fire Rahul Dravid is soldiering on, as his 36-ball 75 against Rajasthan showed, and continues to solidly defend his under-performing team-mates. While the team has tried an assortment of openers, nothing it seems, can alter their early fall of wickets, something which continues to put a heavy burden on the middle order.

Their problems have been further exacerbated by the failure of their bowlers, who have taken just two wickets in their last two matches. Zaheer Khan, and to a lesser extent Praveen Kumar, are the only ones who have managed to give a good account of themselves. Worryingly, Dravid admitted that "the intensity was not there" after the Rajasthan game, a situation that needs immediate addressing if Bangalore don't want to earn the wooden spoon.

Tournament position

Delhi Daredvils: P11, W5, L6, NRR +0.295Bangalore Royal Challengers: P10, W2, L8, NRR -1.577

Form (last five matches, most recent first)

Delhi Daredevils: LWLLLBangalore Royal Challengers: LLLLW

Watch out for ...

· With the Chinnaswamy Stadium likely to favour the bowlers, expect some stand-out performances from the Delhi seamers, especially their spearhead, Glenn McGrath.
· Misbah-ul-Haq has failed to set the stands alight in his Indian sojourn, and shorn of the responsibilities of ensuring a place for his side in the last four, he has the ideal platform to launch an assault.
· A rollicking start by Delhi's power-packed top order.

Team news

Delhi's line-up looks pretty settled, but they are likely to bring in Yo Mahesh, who has taken 10 wickets in his eight appearances, in place of Pradeep Sangwan. A question mark, though, hangs over the availability of Mohammad Asif, who is recuperating from a split webbing on his hand.

Delhi Daredevils (probable)

1 Virender Sehwag (capt), 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 Manoj Tiwary, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Yo Mahesh, 11 Glenn McGrath.
Bangalore may bolster their bowling considering the nature of the surface and bench Anil Kumble and Abdur Razzak, the Bangladeshi left-arm spinner who made his debut in their last match. This could signal the return of Dale Steyn to share the new ball with Zaheer. Bangalore might also consider offering a debut to Shreevats Goswami, the India Under-19 wicketkeeper, as Devraj Patil has done nothing of note in his two matches.

Bangalore Royal Challengers (probable)

1 J Arunkumar, 2 Virat Kohli, 3 Misbah-ul-Haq, 4 Rahul Dravid (capt), 5 Cameron White, 6 Jacques Kallis, 7 Shreevats Goswami (wk), 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Vinay Kumar, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Dale Steyn.

Stats and trivia

· Gambhir has scored approximately 31% of Delhi's runs in the tournament. Dravid has accounted for 20.5 % of Bangalore's runs.
· Kumble (194) has the unenviable record of having the highest average among all the bowlers in the IPL.
· Zaheer, who has 13 wickets to his credit, needs two join RP Singh as the leading wicket-taker.
· Delhi's bowlers have claimed 82 wickets at 20.74, while Bangalore have conceded about 40 runs for each of their 41 wickets