Saturday, April 18, 2009

Deccan Chargers VS Kolkatta Knight Riders - IPL 2009 SA

Match facts

April 19, 2009
Start time 16.30pm (14.30GMT)

Herschelle Gibbs comes down the track and lofts the ball, South Africa v Australia, 5th ODI, Johannesburg, April 17, 2009
Plenty will be expected from Herschelle Gibbs, who made 253 runs in five ODIs against Australia © AFP

Big Picture

Neither team had a campaign to remember last year, but here's an opportunity for both Kolkata Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers to begin afresh and improve significantly on what they did in 2008.

Kolkata have hogged the limelight in the build-up to IPL 2009, while Deccan Chargers have been virtually silent. Plenty has been written and said about John Buchanan's radical multiple captain theory, but Brendon McCullum's subsequent appointment as captain put to rest all the speculation. Sourav Ganguly said he was 'okay' with that decision, but he, and the other key players in the team, will need to play significant roles if Kolkata are to finish higher than last year's sixth place. In Chris Gayle and McCullum, they have potentially one of the most explosive opening combinations in the tournament, while Ishant Sharma and Ajantha Mendis could be quite a handful with the ball. First, though, they need to keep out the extraneous factors and concentrate on the cricket.

The Deccan Chargers haven't been in the news much, but after their disastrous season last year, they've probably decided that a low-key pre-tournament approach would serve them better. In Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs, they have an opening pair to match Kolkata's but the bowling looks thin, and could well be their Achilles heel.

Player form guide

Deccan: Gibbs is coming off a spanking century and an 82 in the last two ODIs against Australia, and the fact that those runs came in similar conditions makes him the best bet for Deccan. Most of the others, though, aren't in such sparkling form: Rohit Sharma has struggled since last year's IPL, VVS Laxman isn't known for his skills in this format, while Fidel Edwards hasn't proved himself in Twenty20 cricket either.

Kolkata: McCullum was in outstanding form during the series against India, while Gayle carted it around as well in the recent series against England. Mendis wasn't so effective against India, while Ishant Sharma was below par against New Zealand.

In from the cold

Adam Gilchrist hasn't played any competitive cricket for more than a year - he retired after India's tour of Australia early last year. With him opening the batting, keeping wicket, and leading the team, much will depend on how ready he is for battle.

Sourav Ganguly played three List A games and one first-class match last season, but hasn't played top-class cricket since retiring from Tests in November last year.

Watch out for

Ishant Sharma v Gilchrist & Gibbs: Ishant was a more than handful for the Australians on their bouncy pitches last year, and in helpful conditions, he could pose plenty of questions for Deccan's openers. Equally, neither Gilchrist nor Gibbs will take a backward step, especially in this format, which could make for a spicy contest.

Friendly fire

Gayle v Edwards: If Edwards gets the new ball and finds his rhythm early, there could be some fireworks when he bowls to his West Indian captain.

Team news

With Andrew Symonds away on national duty, Deccan are without one of their biggest crowdpullers and matchwinners. In his absence, there'll be added responsibility on Rohit to repeat last year's heroics. In conditions which should help seam and swing, Chaminda Vaas could be handy and should bag the allrounder's slot.

Deccan Chargers (probable) 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt & wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Ravi Teja, 4 VVS Laxman, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Venugopal Rao, 7 Chaminda Vaas, 8 Pragyan Ojha, 9 RP Singh, 10 DP Vijaykumar, 11 Fidel Edwards.

Like Deccan, Kolkata will miss an Australian too - David Hussey is readying himself for the ODIs against Pakistan, and in his absence Brad Hodge should get a chance as one of the four foreign players. Kolkata have a slight injury concern with Cheteshwar Pujara, who injured his knee during a warm-up game. If he doesn't recover, Vinit Indulkar or Sanjay Bangar might get a game. With the conditions being what they are, it's unlikely Kolkata will play two spinners, which suggests Murali Kartik will miss out.

Kolkata Knight Riders (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum (capt), 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Sourav Ganguly, 4 Brad Hodge, 5 Cheteshwar Pujara, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Ajantha Mendis.

Head-to-head record

Deccan opened their campaign last year too against Kolkata, and lost on a minefield of a pitch at the Eden Gardens by five wickets. The return game was a high-scoring one, and Kolkata won that too, by 23 runs.


"He [Ganguly] is an icon who has always had a way with younger players and it is wonderful to watch how they respond and react to him. I am sure that Sourav will be one of the chief motivators for the youngsters in the group this year as well."
Brendon McCullum, the new Kolkata captain, expects his predecessor to give him full support

Live link to watch Mumbai Indians vs Channai Super IPL 2009 SA

McCullum replaces Ganguly as IPL KKR Captain

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has been replaced by New Zealand's Brendon McCullum as Kolkata Knight Riders captain.

But Ganguly sounded positive saying it was team decision to have new skipper.

“It is a team decision. They did what they thought was right. I am fine with it,” said Ganguly.

However, he will remain Knight Riders' icon player but will not be their captain, or only captain.
Gauguly had led the team in the inaugural season of IPL in 2008. He was dethroned after a lot of controversy surrounding coach John Buchanan’s multiple-captain theory.

Earlier VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid too have been sacked as captains of their respective teams. While Laxman led Hyderabad Deccan Chargers, Dravid was the captain of Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Absence of Pakistani Cricketers will hit IPL 2009 SA

Waqar Younis and Rameez Raja believe that the high-profile Indian Premier League has lost some of its charm this season due to the absence of Pakistani cricketers from its second edition and the event's relocation to South Africa.

The former Pakistan skippers were of the view that the cash-rich Twenty20 event will suffer due to its relocation out of India this year as cricket fans back home identified themselves with their respective city teams.

"I have no doubt that the IPL still remains a top event but because it is being held in South Africa it will take some time before the tournament gains momentum this time," Rameez said.

"This time it will take time before fans in South Africa start identifying themselves with the teams," he said.

The Pakistan government restricted its cricketers from participating in the IPL this year after diplomatic relations with India deteriorated in the wake of last year's Mumbai terror attacks.

To add to that, by the time the Twenty20 event was shifted to South Africa after Indian government refused to provide adequate security as it clashes with the general elections, all the eight franchises either suspended or their contracts with the Pakistani players.

However, Rameez had no doubt that the league had helped Indian cricket immensely in many ways.

"Playing alongside and against top international players has given Indian players a lot of confidence and this can be seen in their performances now," he said.

He was of the view that the IPL and the Pakistan-Australia series in Emirates would be a welcome relief to the Pakistani people, who have been living their lives in a volatile security situation.

"Cricket will be a welcome relief and distraction for them. And I think the series with Australia will bring a lot of viewership and interest," he said, adding, "after the Australia series the people will turn to the IPL which would have gained momentum by then."

Rameez will leave for South Africa after the series in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to be a part of the IPL commentary team.

Meanwhile, Waqar said he had no doubt that the absence of Pakistani players from the IPL was a big blow to the event.

"Pakistani cricketers have always been a big pull among the Indian and international audiences and their absence would affect the event," he said.

Although the former Pakistan speedster said the advent of IPL had brought a revolution in cricket, he feels the newest form of the game can never replace Test and one-day formats.

"Twenty20 cricket is pure entertainment and it is good for the sport but in the long run I don't think it will replace Test or ODI cricket," he said.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bangalore Royal Challengers - IPL 209 SA

Players to watch out for
Kevin Pietersen: With a whopping $ 1.55 Million tag and the responsibilty of leading the team, Bangalore fans would look to Pietersen to revive the fortunes of the team.
Jesse Ryder: With a dream season against the Indians in all forms of the game, the Royal Challengers would expect the Ryder magic to continue in South Africa.
Rahul Dravid: The 'Wall' of Indian cricket had a successful test series at New Zealand. Being the most successful RCB batsman during the first season and with the burden of captaincy no longer there, the seasoned campaigner would look forward to an engaging stint.
Dale Steyn: This exciting South African pacer had won praises from cricketers all round the world. RCB would bank on this fast bowler to rattle the opposition in conditions well suited to him where he will be even more lethal.
Kevin Pietersen, along with Andrew Flintoff (Chennai), was the most expensive player of IPL 2009 at USD 1.55 million.
Bangalore Royal Challengers roped in Washington Redskins - a world famous cheer-leading squad from the US for the IPL 2008.
Abdur Razzak of Bangalore Royal Challengers was the only Bangladeshi to feature in IPL 2008. He only played one game for his team.
Anil Kumble took 3 for 14 in the match against the Chennai Super Kings - it was his best performance in the twenty-over format of the game.
Five of the Bangalore batsmen were dismissed for a duck in the match against Punjab - a record for the most ducks in an innings in the IPL.
B Akhil of the RCB scored 27 runs at a strike rate of 385.71 against the Deccan Chargers, the highest strike rate for an innings
Misbah-ul-Haq hit the 1000th four of the IPL
Misbah-ul-Haq, who turned 34 on 28th May, will want to forget his 34th birthday in a hurry - he was dismissed for a first ball duck against Mumbai.
Current Squad
Kevin Pietersen (ENG), Ross Taylor (NZ), Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder (NZ), Mark Boucher (RSA), Shreevats Goswami, Dillon du Preez (RSA) , Jacques Kallis (RSA), Roelof van der Merwe (RSA), Cameron White (AUS), Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Dale Steyn (RSA), Nathan Bracken (AUS), Pankaj Singh, Anil Kumble, Tinu Yohannan, Vinay Kumar
Head Coach: Ray Jennings (RSA)
Assistant Head Coach: Vijay Bharadwaj