Sunday, March 14, 2010

Super Kings to go for the kill against Chargers

A buoyant Chennai Super Kings, pepped by the recent form of their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are fancying their chances against defending champions Deccan Chargers in their opening game of the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Chennai on Sunday.
The Chargers, led by charismatic Adam Gilchrist, would be smarting from their shock defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders, the league's cellar dwellers in Mumbai Friday night when the eight-team competition was lit by a spectacular opening ceremony. The Super Kings will look go in for the kill against a side that would be little bit down on morale, if nothing else.
The pitch, historically known for the pronounced bounce and movement, could influence the outcome. Matthew Hayden, the Super Kings opener and last year's top run-getter, did provide a clue on the nature of the pitch on the sidelines of the launch of the evolutionary Mongoose bat when he said the pitch had characteristics that favoured the batsmen.
If that is so then the Super Kings, semi-finalists last season and runners-up in 2008, look the better equipped with Hayden, Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath and Dhoni forming a formidable batting line-up. But then, given the vicissitudes of Twenty20, there are no guarantees and only the form on the day matters.
The last time the two teams met at this venue,  undergoing massive renovation on the eastern wing, the Chargers caught a depleted Super Kings on their way down after two consecutive defeats and successfully chased a target of 145 to win by seven wickets and two overs to spare. Super Kings later avenged this defeat in Hyderabad.
The story was much the same last season when the Chargers were on the hop at East London, South Africa, being dismissed for 100 in the 15th over to Super Kings total of 178 after having won the previous game at Durban by six wickets.
Thus, it is even-Stevens between the two teams in head-to-head context and that alone would inject considerable suspense in Sunday's game.
The game is likely to be more of a batting contest given the firepower the two teams possess as against a comparative tepid bowling attack. However, the Super Kings believe  they have far more bowling options this time around with the inclusion of South African all-rounder Justin Kemp who is expected to cover for key absentees Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram.
Likewise, the Chargers have to make do without their West Indian imports, notably fast bowler Kemar Roach who would have probably enjoyed bowling on the Chepauk pitch Sunday, and compatriot Dwayne Smith.
For all the pre-match bravado, it remains to be seen whether the Chargers can shrug off their shock defeat and refocus while the Super Kings tighten up their bowling, especially in the death overs that cost them quite a few matches in the past.
Both teams are likely to delay nominating their playing eleven until they have a look at the pitch that is out of bounds Saturday in view of the inauguration of Secretariat building close to the ground by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Yusuf's brilliant futile century

Lasith Malinga's determination to keep going at the batsmen and Sathish's fielding brilliance swung the fortunes in Mumbai Indians' favour, resulting in a thrilling four-run win over Rajasthan Royals in the second game of DLF-IPL III at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.

The Lankan paceman snared one batsmen with a slow bouncer and ran out the next on his follow-through with a diving throw before the visitor's challenge ended at 208 for seven.

Record-breaking knock

Sathish had earlier run out century-maker Yusuf Pathan (100, 9x4, 8x6) in his follow-through, anticipating striker Paras Dogra's drive and flicking the ball by instinct at the stumps at the non-striker end.

A stunned Yusuf, who had smashed the fastest century in the IPL, walked back with Royals at 173 for five.

The Royals power-hitter punished every bowler, except Zaheer Khan, by messing up the line and length with intimidating hot-making and some late cuts before Sathish got him.

Good stand

Earlier, Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu displayed absolute contempt for reputation, building on the momentum gained by the veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar over the first four overs after Mumbai Indians had opted to bat.


The youngsters were ruthless in execution of strokes. Tiwary's reach and power helped him get to the pitch of the ball and clear the field with huge hits.

He stepped out against Warne for the first of three sixes, walked out against Yusuf and gave medium-pacer Uniyal the same treatment for a 30-ball 50.

Rayudu's hitting was more deliberate as he picked up the length early to force the ball in the direction he wanted.

One straight six off Jhunjhunwala stood out for ease of execution. His half-century, which came in 30 balls, had six fours and two sixes.

Jayasuriya and Tendulkar had got cracking straightaway to put the Royals on the defensive.

Three boundaries — slashes to cover and a crisp drive to the ropes— in Mascarenhas' first over saw the Sri Lankan in full flow. The Indians' captain got into the mood with flicks off the pads to the square leg fence.

Fighting back

Royals fought back into the game with Uniyal deceiving Jayasuriya with a slower one, Mascarenhas claiming Tendulkar and Aditya Tare before the stroke-makers could do more damage. Then Tiwary and Rayudu took over to delight the home crowd.

The scores:

Mumbai Indians: S. Jayasuriya lbw b Uniyal 23 (14b, 3x4, 1x6), S Tendulkar lbw b Mascarenhas 17 (11b, 3x4), A. Tare c Warne b Mascarenhas 23 (13b, 3x4, 1x6), S. Tiwary c Ojha b Tait 53 (33b, 4x4, 2x6), A. Rayudu c Dogra b Uniyal 55 (33b, 6x4, 2x6), R. Sathish (run out) 6 (5b, 1x4), Harbhajan (retd. hurt) 8 (6b), R. McLaren (not out) 11 (5b, 2x4), Zaheer (not out) 0 (1b), Extras (lb-3, w-13) 16, Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 212.

Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-69, 3-70, 4-180, 5-191, 6-192.

Rajasthan Royals bowling: Mascarenhas 4-0-34-2, Tait 4-0-46-1, Kamran 1-0-10-0, Uniyal 4-0-41-2, Warne 3-0-29-0, Jhunjhunwala 2-0-27-0, Yusuf 2-0-22-0.

Rajasthan Royals: G. Smith c b Sathish 26 (22b, 4x4), S. Asnodkar (run out) 0 (0b), N. Ojha c Zaheer b Murtaza 12 (12b, 2x4), A. Jhunjhunwala b Malinga 14 (11b, 1x4, 1x6), Yusuf (run out) 100 (37b, 9x4, 8x6), P. Dogra (run out) 41 (29b, 2x4, 2x6), D. Mascarenhas (not out) 9 (7b), A. Uniyal b Malinga 0 (1b), S. Warne (not out) 1 (1b), Extras (w-5) 5, Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 208.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-38, 3-40, 4-66, 5-173, 6-201, 7-201.

Mumbai Indians bowling: Zaheer 4-0-27-0, McLaren 4-0-43-0, Malinga 4-0-22-2, Murtaza 4-0-46-1, Sathish 3-0-51-1, Jayasuriya 1-0-19-0 .