Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils Highlights - 2nd Leg

Watch cricket highlights - Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils from IPL 2009 played on May 2, 2009.

Scoreline: CSK 163 - Badrinath 45, Raina 32, Matthew Hayden 30
Delhi fall short 145: Dinesh Karthik 52, David Warner 51 - Shadab Jakati 4-24-4

To users: Sapo might be painfully slow today cos of it being a football weekend and many football sites using it. People keep saying why don’t you use so and so like Dailymotion etc - vids don’t stay there for more than a couple of days and there’s a ridiculously long processing time. Hang in there - a better player may just be coming next week.

The first thing Chennai got right today was discarding Parthiv Patel and bringing in Murali Vijay as opener. It might not have worked great today, but Murali is one of the cleanest hitters around backed by technique - in a way similar to Badrinath who once again got an opportunity up the order and did better this time around. It was his partnership with Raina that kept Hayden’s initial push going and despite the big hitters down the order failing, Chennai posted a decent total on a good wicket.

When will commentators stop talking as though Gilchrist has just walked out every time Dhoni does. Last game vs Rajasthan, his lack of hitting despite coming in the 13th over hid behind Raina’s performance. The last time Dhoni the hitter was around was in IPL 2008 during a Steyn over. Nowadays it’s more average-keeps-climbing Dhoni who walks out.

Delhi pretty much take after their captain Sehwag (missing today) - there is not a single batsman in the team with a negative bone and this was apparent today with the chase being realistic for a long while. Brilliant knocks by Karthik and Warner.

Rajasthan Royals vs Deccan Chargers Highlights

Watch cricket highlights - Rajasthan Royals vs Deccan Chargers from IPL 2009

Scoreline: 141/5 - T Suman 41, Adam Gilchrist 39, Rohit Sharma 38 - Yusuf Pathan 4-19-1
Rajasthan Royals make it in 19.4 overs - Abhishek Raut 36, Yusuf Pathan 24 (14), Carseldine 39 - RP SIngh 4-18-2 including a wicket maiden

Amazing game. Costly fumbles by the Chargers right at the end, but it’s Yusuf and new find Raut yet again for the Royals. A gambler’s dream - this sort of cricket, which is what makes the Rajasthan Royals the most exciting team to watch despite their continued uncertainty at the top of their batting order.

Australia vs Pakistan 4th ODI Highlights

Pakistan Bat

Australia Bat

Watch cricket highlights - Australia vs Pakistan 4th ODI highlights from the 2009 Chapal series.

Scoreline: Pakistan 197 all out (48.4 overs) - Shahid Afridi 40, Ahmed Shehzad 43
Australia take 44.2 overs to win and clinch the series with a game to go: Michael Clarke 100 no, Shane Watson 85 no

The Clarke-Watson partnership stood stark in contrast to the listless Pakistan innings that never really had any momentum going for it until Shahid Afridi and Arafat made sure they got somewhere close to 200. Afridi has shown enough this series to indicate that the dry run he’s had with the bat in the last year and a half is a forgotten past. One of those blistering knocks seems pretty round the corner.

Watson in fine form should mean joy for the Rajasthan Royals if he gets to join them for the latter half of the IPL. Clarke of course doesn’t care for trifles like the IPL - this site doesn’t care either. Ponting is the best and Michael Slater was better. One has to admit though, Clarke is nowadays more himself than a Slater clone.

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mohali Kings XI Highlights - 2nd Leg

Watch cricket highlights of Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mohali Kings XI from IPL 2009 - 2nd Leg.

Scoreline: RCB 145/9: van Der Merwe 35 (19) - Yusuf Abdulla 4 wickets (including a wicket maiden), Yuvraj Singh hat trick
Mohali fall short:137/7 - Yuvraj Singh 50 (34) - Anil Kumble 4-25-2

It was bound to happen - Bangalore improving after the exit of KP. It has nothing to do with KP the player. More to do with the 4 overseas players/team rule. Now that Kallis the captain has been taken out, wonder why Bangalore still continue to play him leaving Taylor and Steyn out. Anyway, team selection hasn’t been delegated here, so better move on.

Too bad for Yuvraj to have a hattrick and a fifty and still lose. While Praveen Kumar did bowl a fantastic final over, the 19th over bowled by Anil Kumble was the game-swinging one. 17 runs off 12 balls, Sangakkara and Pathan batting, and Kumble gets Sangakkara while conceding just 4 runs.

Satisfied Australia make Pakistan sweat

It has been a frustrating campaign for the Pakistanis, who have one game left to repeat their opening success.

Match facts

May 3, 2009
Start time 3pm (11.00GMT)

Big Picture
Australia won their first series since beating Bangladesh in September with a strong victory in Abu Dhabi on Friday and the players can relax over the final two games of their United Arab Emirates tour. Sunday's fifth ODI and Thursday's Twenty20 are the last opportunities to tinker ahead of the World Twenty20 and Michael Clarke's men will also be looking forward to a short break before the tournament in England next month.

Clarke was on fire in the heat on Friday, registering 100 off 122 balls in the eight-wicket success, while Shane Watson battled to a timely 85 not out. "It's been a while since we've won a one-day series and to play the type of cricket we have in tough conditions, hot conditions, tough wickets, especially after coming from South Africa, the conditions have been so different," Clarke told AAP. "I'm rapt with the way we've performed."

Doug Bollinger set up the win with the first five wickets of his career as Pakistan reached 197. "A lot of credit has to go to our bowlers, Dougy's come in and he's had to wait a long time for his opportunity," Clarke said. "Not only has he repaid the selectors for showing him faith, but I think he's done a lot to push his name forward for future one-day selection and maybe even the Twenty20 World Cup."

Pakistan's series has gone downhill since their satisfying win in the opening game. The form of Shoaib Akhtar in the early overs of the second innings on Friday showed he still carries a dose of magic, which has been one of the few highlights for the "home" side in the UAE.

Form guide (last five ODIs, most recent first)
Pakistan LLLWL
Australia WWWLW

Watch out for
Shane Watson scraped and scrapped while carrying his bat on Friday in an unfamiliar style. He has become a muscular free-scorer in the past few seasons and now that he has proved himself with some serious runs in a long stay, he can enjoy the final encounters and seal his spot on the tour of England.

The opener Ahmed Shehzad, 17, could still be at school but is learning about international cricket instead. After a run-out mix-up on debut, he has followed his 4 with 40 and 43, showing his promise and gaining invaluable experience against a useful bowling line-up. An adventurous slog sweep ended his display on Friday, but if he goes further than a half-century his side will be in good health.

Team news
Some more experiments are likely now the final game is a dead rubber. Brett Lee could be trialled earlier than expected and Ben Laughlin will come into contention. Marcus North would like another go after his debut lasted only four balls thanks to Shoaib.

Australia (possible) 1 Brad Haddin (wk), 2 Shane Watson, 3 Marcus North, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Andrew Symonds, 6 Callum Ferguson, 7 James Hopes, 8 Nathan Hauritz, 9 Stuart Clark, 10 Nathan Bracken, 11 Doug Bollinger.

Pakistan have gone close on occasions in the past three games without matching their opening success. Resting Umar Gul on Friday was a strange decision considering the situation of the series, and he should be back to partner Shoaib unless either of them are too tired.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Younis Khan (capt), 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Umar Gul, 9 Shoaib Akhtar, 10 Iftikhar Anjum, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

Pitch and conditions
While parts of Australia shiver, the UAE has been boiling and the tourists will be pleased to return home to more bearable conditions next week. On Friday the match started with the temperature around 43C and a maximum of 37C is expected on Sunday, along with another surface offering spin and low bounce.

Stats and Trivia

* If Australia win the final game they will move one point behind the No. 1 South Africa and take their overall record in the UAE to 14 wins in 24 matches
* Doug Bollinger's 5 for 35 lifted him to third on the series wicket list, one behind Nathan Hauritz and five behind Shahid Afridi
* Clarke's century has been the only one of a series controlled by the bowlers

"He's bowled beautifully and the rest of the guys, the rest of the bowlers, probably didn't get the same rewards as Dougy, but they did a fantastic job."
Michael Clarke has more praise for Bollinger

"When Shoaib got two early wickets, we thought we could win, but Clarke and Watson batted superbly."
Younis Khan looks back at Friday's missed chance

Jakati spins Chennai to victory

A superb bowling performance by left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati gave Chennai Super Kings their third win of the tournament and with it some momentum. Chennai's total of 163 - built around a 66-run partnership between Suresh Raina and S Badrinath - seemed too little after they whimpered to a finish, but led by Jakati and Muttiah Muralitharan they hit back at the clutch, disturbing a threatening stand and keeping Delhi to 145 as the IPL bandwagon landed in Johannesburg.

Delhi were rattled early in their chase by Sudeep Tyagi, who was again given the new ball. His first wicket owed more to a corker of a catch by Raina at point to cut off Gautam Gambhir, but the second was a peach. AB de Villiers was cleaned up first ball by an awayswinger. In his first over, Jakati also arrived with a bang. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Delhi's batting hero in the last couple games, was bowled by a ripper that pitched on middle and took off stump.

Till the 16th over it was almost in the bag for Delhi, thanks to a super stand between the IPL debutant David Warner and Dinesh Karthik. Displaying plenty of urgency with his shots and running between the wickets, Warner farmed the strike and collected five fours and a six, all of which were controlled attempts. Thought not at his most devastative, he was firm when he pulled to the on side and impressed with how he took on responsibility to see Delhi through early difficulty.

Karthik's was a smart innings, shot by shot relieving the pressure on Warner. He meshed caution with aggression but most importantly, found the boundaries whenever he tried. Jacob Oram was taken for a six each by Warner and Karthik when he came on to bowl the 13th over. Then Murali returned and Karthik slammed consecutive boundaries through cover, one with a two-step and the other rocking onto the back foot. The cheeky followed, as Karthik paddle-scooped L Balaji to fine leg. Murali erred in length and Karthik flat-batted four more.

Then Jakati returned and pulled the carpet from beneath their feet, with a bit of help from Murali. Karthik began by smashing a boundary but Warner, who raised his fifty from 38 balls, was stumped attempting to swing Jakati away. Mithun Manhas came and went, bowled trying to slog Murali, and Karthik found himself in the driver's seat. Karthik's fifty came up off 30 balls but next ball, with 32 needed from 17, he top-edged Jakati to the deep. Jakati completed a superb spell by bowling Pradeep Sangwan and victory was soon achieved. Jakati and Murali, in their eight overs, took five wickets. This again proved that anything in excess of 150 was not easy to chase.

Chennai's innings ran a similar course after Gambhir, captaining in place of an injured Virender Sehwag, put them in. Their lost two early wickets, were lifted by a strong stand, and then collapsed in the last few overs. M Vijay replaced an out-of-sorts Parthiv Patel as opener but himself looked a Twenty20 misfit before Ashish Nehra tested him with a short ball and drew a top edge. Matthew Hayden, knocked to his feet when he took a ball from Sangwan flush on the sternum, kept swinging away but fell to the same bowler when he lofted to long-on.

With the ball still new and the field in, Raina boldly went over the top, getting off the mark with a front-foot six. When the field spread and spin came on, he chipped and tucked the ball smartly into the gaps but trying to up the tempo was taken right on the boundary line by Tillakaratne Dilshan. Badrinath had taken his time, scoring his first seven runs off 13 balls, but dumped the first ball after the tactical break for six off Dilshan. In the same over he took Dilshan for four down the ground, before hooking, pulling and cutting Sangwan to and over the boundary in the next over. Another solid slap past point followed but, like Raina, Badrinath tried to take it up a level and was yorked by an alert Rajat Bhatia.

With Albie Morkel and MS Dhoni batting and Oram to come, a total of 180 seemed a distinct possibility but the quick bowlers struck as Gambhir made a good call. With Bhatia's slow medium stuff keeping a check on runs, Gambhir called back Nehra for the 16th over. Nehra immediately struck with the short ball, taking a return catch from Morkel. Nehra was impressive all evening, varying his pace and banging it in on a testing length.

Then Dirk Nannes was ushered right back for the next over and took out Oram, who fell pulling. Nannes then found himself on a hat-trick when Dhoni top-edged a quick delivery to cover. The hat-trick was averted, only for Nehra to take his third with a fuller ball.

In the end, that total of 163 proved more than enough for Chennai to get some lift. Today the top two teams suffered defeats and the top seven are now separated by just two points, proving what a tight contest this IPL is.

Raut shepherds Rajasthan to victory

Top Curve
Prime Numbers

  • 3 for 3

    Rajasthan's score at the end of the second over
  • 4.1

    The over in which Rajasthan hit their first boundary
  • 19

    The number of first-ball ducks this season, including Swapnil Asnodkar's run-out today
  • 42

    The number of balls in which Lee Carseldine and Ravindra Jadeja added 50 for the fourth wicket.
  • 194

    Yusuf Pathan's strike-rate against Deccan in three matches he has played against them
  • 4

    Number of sixes hit by Shane Warne, all of them against Deccan
  • 64

    T Suman's average, the highest for a Deccan batsman
  • 3

    The number of Man-of-the-Match awards that Yusuf has this season. It equals the number of matches Rajasthan have won
Bottom Curve

Rajasthan Royals prevailed in a see-saw chase which included three wickets in two overs and 51 runs in seven. Disciplined spells of bowling were followed by some nerveless batting, though misfields and dropped catches from Deccan Chargers contributed to the close finish.

Yusuf Pathan, having starred with the ball early in the piece, took Rajasthan to within 11 of victory with two overs to go. Abisheik Raut, who played an anchoring role with an unbeaten 36 off 23 balls, was joined by Shane Harwood in the middle and Dwayne Smith fumbled a run-out chance with 10 needed off 10.

Some anxious moments ensued as Deccan argued that only one of the two runs that Raut and Harwood ran during the run-out attempt could be counted since the umpire had already signalled a referral at the end of the first run. But the deduction did not amount to much after Rohit Sharma failed to collect a ball and let it go for four instead. That eased the pressure on Rajasthan, who needed only two off the final over. Fidel Edwards bowled two dot balls but messed up a possible run-out of the third. Raut and Harwood took two singles to finish the game with two balls to spare.

But it had looked like Deccan had their fifth win in the bag when Rajasthan found themselves at 3 for 3 at the end of two overs. Graeme Smith slashed a catch to third man after having nearly got run out, following which Swapnil Asnodkar, again slow to react to a call, gave up his wicket as Lee Carseldine nearly reached his crease. Naman Ojha gave RP Singh a wicket-maiden after his struggle to pick the line ended with a catch to Herschelle Gibbs at point. At the end of three overs Rajasthan were 5 for 3, as opposed to Deccan who were at 27 for no loss at that stage.

Then Ravindra Jadeja and Carseldine added 51 in seven overs - Carseldine hitting five fours in 11 balls - but the two fell within four balls of each other. Rajasthan went into the strategy break marginally ahead of Deccan at the end of 10 overs - 60 to their 58 - but had lost two wickets less in hand. Shane Warne pushed Yusuf down the order and brought himself and Raut up in a move that worked. The over immediately after the strategy break was the most effective as Warne first pulled Venugopal Rao for a six to midwicket, was dropped off the next, slogged another six off the third before Raut joined in with a four to fine leg.

They rotated the strike for the rest of the partnership and even after Warne's fall, Raut continued to patiently collect the runs, leaving the big-hitting to Yusuf. He perhaps only missed out on a Man-of-the-Match award because Yusuf not only hit a cameo innings of 24 off 14 but also bowled a crucial opening spell of 4-0-19-1.

Rajasthan began with a spin-heavy attack - three of the first 10 overs were bowled by fast bowlers - and it looked like it would take the game way after the way Gilchrist batted in the first three overs. But Yusuf and Harwood ensured Deccan went into the strategy break not feeling quite comfortable. T Suman and Rohit provided a shot in the arm to Deccan's innings with a 59-run stand but the early reining-in by Yusuf and Harwood made the eventual difference to the result.

Yousuf claims he has resigned from ICL

Mohammad Yousuf says he is available to play for Pakistan whenever his country needs him.

Mohammad Yousuf has claimed that he has "resigned" from the ICL after he decided last month that his priority was to play for Pakistan. The move potentially paves the way for Yousuf's comeback to the national side, as the PCB recently announced it was willing to talk to players who leave the ICL before the end of May and consider their cases for an international return on an individual basis.

"I spoke to Younis [Khan] about a month and a half ago and I resigned from the ICL after that," Yousuf told Cricinfo. "We both talked about how the country comes first and playing for them is the priority so I decided. I am available whenever the country needs me."

Reports had been swirling around Pakistan since the end of March that Yousuf and a group of other players were considering quitting the ICL after the March-April edition of the league was suspended. ICL players including Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq sought out Younis last month to try and find a way back into the national set-up, after fearing that the ICL - or at least their future participation in it after the deterioration in Indo-Pak ties - might present a tenuous prospect.

It is believed that Younis made no recommendations or promises, only telling the players that the priority should be to play for Pakistan, whatever that involves. "Younis was of the view that as they hadn't come to him before they signed up for the ICL, he doesn't understand why they came to him when they wanted to leave it," a source present at the meetings told Cricinfo. "He also pointed out that he cannot guarantee selection as that is a decision in which other parties, and not just the captain, are also involved." After some consideration and communication with Pir Aftab Shah Jilani, Pakistan's sports minister, Yousuf resigned from the league, though no official public statement had been made, either by any of the players, or the ICL, until now.

There appears, however, to be some confusion over the exact nature of Yousuf's actions. Though Yousuf said his contract with the league was now "finished" the ICL maintains that he is still on contract, though he has been released to play for Pakistan. "Yousuf's ICL contract has not been terminated," Roland Landers, the ICL spokesperson, told Cricinfo. "We have given him a temporary release so that he can play for his country."

Though Yousuf appears to want to do exactly that, it is unclear what the PCB will do now. Yousuf claimed the board was aware of his decision, but officials couldn't confirm it. "If such a communication has been sent, it would've been to the chairman and much of the board has been busy with organising this series [against Australia] based in Dubai. At the moment we cannot say whether Yousuf has sent any such message," one official told Cricinfo. "Our statement is there now, so we will act according to that."

Yousuf's case is particularly convoluted, for he has left the ICL before, after he first joined the league in protest at being overlooked for Pakistan's squad for the 2007 World Twenty20. He was persuaded - with the dangling of an IPL offer - to quit soon after by the PCB, then under Nasim Ashraf's administration. The ICL took him to court for reneging on his contract and he was unable to play in the inaugural IPL season in 2008 because of legal complications.

He played for Pakistan through much of last year before abruptly deciding, in November, to move back to the ICL. The move caught Pakistan's administration off-guard, as he had been picked for the ODI squad for a series in Abu Dhabi against West Indies. This time, he said, he left because of differences with then-captain Shoaib Malik.

"I had a problem with the captain at that time so I left. I had issues with the previous board administration as well," Yousuf said. "But now I have no problems at all with Younis, or this board. The country comes first."

Though 34, if Yousuf is to come back, he could hardly do so at a more opportune time. Pakistan's batting has been engaged in a dire struggle against Australia in the UAE. In four matches so far, they have crossed 200 only once and only one batsman, Salman Butt, has scored a fifty. Most visibly, the absence of a 269-ODI veteran averaging over 40 was felt during the third ODI, when Pakistan collapsed from 95-0 to 171 all out, chasing 199. Since the 2007 World Cup and the retirement of Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf has comfortably been Pakistan's leading batsman, averaging over 60 in 30 ODIs, but he played his last match in July last year.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders Highlights - 2nd Leg

Mumbai Batting

Kolkata Batting

Watch cricket highlights - Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders 2nd Leg highlights from IPL 2009

Scoreline: Mumbai 148/6 - JP Duminy 52 (37), Sachin Tendulkar 34 (30).
KKR fall short 139/6: Brad Hodge 73, Van Wyk 32 - Zaheer Khan 4-31-3

JP Duminy got the timing of his knock during the Mumbai vs Mohali game, but set it right this time around. Tendulkar gambled on bowling out his strike bowlers - and it worked with Hodge and McCullum who’d demoted himself unable to get off crucial boundaries in the final overs.

Yuvraj Singh Hat-Trick - IPL 2009

Watch Yuvraj Singh take a hat-trick during the IPL 2009 game - Mohali Punjab Kings XI vs Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Kingsmead Durban and Yuvraj adds a hat-trick to go with his 6 sixes on this ground.

Fantastic until the inevitable Harshite - Why do young virile men run away from happy moments.

Would you they rather ran towards you?

Clarke and Bollinger seal series

Doug Bollinger's five wickets set up Australia's series win, and earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.

Stand-in Australian captain Michael Clarke produced a superb century to seal the five-match series with a game to spare after an eight-wicket win in Abu Dhabi. An unbeaten hundred, his fourth in one-day cricket and first as captain, was arguably his finest and was the key to Australia's comfortable pursuit of Pakistan's 197.

Clarke and Shane Watson combined for a record-breaking 197-run partnership to lift Australia from its knees after Shoaib Akhtar wound back the clock with two early wickets in a blistering opening spell. Shoaib, on return after being left out of game three, claimed Brad Haddin and debutant Marcus North to leave Australia reeling at 3 for 2. But Clarke and Watson negotiated the rest of Shoaib's sharp four-over opening spell before flourishing under the floodlights.

The captain's innings was easily the best and most fluent of the series and featured sublime footwork and timing against both pace and spin. The ease with which he found the boundary was breath-taking as he produced nearly every shot in the book, punctuated by a crushing cover drive to bring up three figures.

Watson's innings was at times the total antithesis of his captain's but certainly no less valuable. For long periods he fought the demons, in the form of the Pakistan attack, the Sheik Zayed Stadium surface and even his own mind. Saeed Ajmal, who's ten overs cost just 20, mesmerised him but could not claim his scalp. Watson provided resolute support for his captain while exorcising his own demons with his best performance since returning from injury.

The chase was never really threatened after the initial Shoaib burst. The spinners proved a handful but could not break Watson's resolve and never looked like breaking Clarke's.

Earlier, Doug Bollinger produced an exceptional bowling performance in just his second one-day international to bowl out Pakistan for 197. Returning in place of Ben Hilfenhaus, Bollinger claimed his first wicket with the third ball of the day and came back in the 35th over to claim four more victims.

He finished with a fine five-over from 7.4 overs on another very slow pitch. It was the Australians who were expected to wilt in the oppressive conditions but they produced a disciplined effort to stifle Pakistan.

Shahid Afridi led a late rescue mission with a run-a-ball 40 to guide Pakistan to a competitive total after they lost regular wickets in the blazing heat. They stumbled early after winning the toss, slumping to 12 for 2, and it could have been 12 for 3 after Misbah-ul-Haq survived a huge appeal for caught behind first ball off Nathan Bracken. Bracken was unfortunate to claim just 2 for 31 from his 10 overs.

Misbah (34) and the 17-year-old Ahmed Shehzad (43) set about rebuilding the innings during a steady stand. They wrestled with the impeccable lengths of the four Australian fast bowlers who were very effective with their changes of pace. Bracken and Stuart Clark were particularly difficult to get away on a wicket which became lower and slower as the innings wore on.

The two Pakistani batsmen were far more comfortable against the finger spinners. Nathan Hauritz and Clarke orchestrated Pakistan's collapse on Monday, but there had been a clear rethink in strategy by the batsmen. Hauritz was tidy in claiming 1 for 34 but the other three finger spinners all conceded more than five runs per over.

The big shots were shelved, barring a poorly executed slog sweep from Shehzad, as the batsmen worked the spinners into the gaps and ran neatly between the wickets. Afridi and Shoaib Malik accelerated during the middle period and a total of 240 looked a distinct possibility, but the reintroduction of Bollinger and Clark changed things dramatically.

Afridi's innings defied expectation. His strike-rate was typically brisk, but he showed there is more than one way to skin a cat. He farmed the strike well to protect the lower order, was inventive but calculated with his stroke-play and placement while his running was atypically intelligent.

But his departure in the batting Powerplay signalled the beginning of the end for Pakistan as Bollinger and Bracken cleaned up by cleverly mixing their lengths and pace.

Australia have now sealed the series 3-1 with a match to play and might have the opportunity to play Brett Lee in the dead rubber.

Praveen and Bangalore upstage Yuvraj in thriller

A brisk fifty followed a hat-trick, but Yuvraj Singh's day ended in contrasting manner.

Nerves? Perhaps. But nerves of steel. Having given up 14 runs in the 17th over, Parveen Kumar displayed admirable composure to bowl a four-run, double-wicket final over and seal an amazing eight-run win for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Two teams that met in Durban at contrasting positions in the IPL traded blows for 40 overs of a pulse-setting Twenty20 and, when it came to the crunch, Bangalore threw the biggest blow, derailing Kings XI Punjab from 70 for no loss to 137.

To put this finish in perspective, you have to understand where Punjab were placed for more than two-thirds of this game. Having stunned Bangalore with a hat-trick spread over two overs, Yuvraj singh promoted himself to open the innings in place of Ravi Bopara, departed for England duty. He struggled initially against a clever Praveen's changes of pace but the arrival of Jesse Ryder and Roelof van der Merwe brought out the beast. Yuvraj found the middle of his bat and some sweet timing with a club off Ryder past mid-on, and van der Werwe's first ball was dumped over long-on for six. From being 18 from 19 balls, Yuvraj whistled to fifty from 33 with three more sixes, one off Ryder and two off Anil Kumble. The couple off Kumble recalled that innings at this same venue.

Yuvraj fell two deliveries before the tactical break, attempting a fifth six but top-edging Kumble to midwicket. Then, as has happened so often, the seven-and-a-half-minute interval claimed another wicket. Karan Goel had been a silent accumulator while Yuvraj led Punjab's best opening stand of the season but his attempt to fill his captain's shoes didn't work. The wobble was on when Simon Katich, in his first game of 2009, was run out when called for a risky single by Kumar Sangakkara.

Punjab needed 62 from seven overs when Mahela Jayawardene joined Sangakkara. It seemed still achievable. Yet Punjab didn't manage a boundary in the 15th and 16th overs, bowled by Ryder and Kumble, and, after carving consecutive fours in the 17th, bowled by Praveen, Jayawardene scooped to point. Punjab still needed 30 from 17 balls. Game on.

van der Merwe followed up the wicket-taking delivery with four byes, a full toss swatted for four by Irfan Pathan and a wide to ratchet up the tension. At the end of that over the equation was 17 from 12.

Prime Numbers

  • 1

    The total number of maidens bowled by Kings XI Punjab bowlers so far this season
  • 4

    The total number of hat-tricks in the IPL. Yuvraj Singh joined the list today, alongside last year's achievers - L Balaji, Makhaya Ntini and Amit Mishra
  • 3

    The number of catches taken by Piyush Chawla today. This now is the record for the most catches in an innings by a fielder, other than the wicketkeeper
  • 70

    Punjab's best opening partnership this season. Yuvraj dominated the partnership with a well-complied half-century, the third by a Punjab batsmen
  • 4

    The number of times two bowlers from the same team have taken three or more wickets in the same innings this season
  • 10

    The total number of wickets picked up by Anil Kumble this season - the most by a spinner - and he is still the only bowler to have roped in a five-for. His economy rate is 5.59 which is the best among all bowlers who have bowled 20 or more overs

Enter Kumble, who was Bangalore captain for the day. Sangakkara missed the next ball and was bowled after that by a googly. Kumble isn't a champion for nothing and, by conceding only four runs in the penultimate over, left Punjab needing 13 from the last. Talk about tension.

Praveen bowled a dot. Irfan took a breath, looked up, and slapped the next ball through point for four. Third ball was a lovely slow ball that sneaked under the bat. Irfan lofted the fourth down to long-on and, with the fifth, Praveen bowled Piyush Chawla. Bangalore had sealed a superb win after posting a disappointing total.

Rewind to the first major highlight of this epic game. Yuvraj hadn't been contributing with the bat this season, so he decided to make an impact with the ball. With the last two balls of the 11th over of Bangalore's innings, Yuvraj dismissed Robin Uthappa and Jaques Kallis and achieved the fourth IPL hat-trick with the first ball of the 13th, trapping Mark Boucher with another quick arm ball.

Bangalore were struggling after early losses - Ryder again fell in the first over - and needed Kallis to last the full quota of overs. He and the recalled Uthappa had put on 42 when Yuvraj struck. Having strayed in line early in his second over Yuvraj tried a flatter, faster delivery and Uthappa miscued one to the deep. The batsmen crossed as the ball went up in the air, but Kallis' tentative footwork against an arm ball resulted in the sound of timber. Mark Boucher came in but didn't last as Yuvraj came back and fired in another slider. Punjab were cock-a-hoop.

After Yuvraj struck, a pugnacious cameo from van der Merwe - which included an amazing six in which he looked to square leg but hit over extra cover - gave the innings some shape. Abdulla's figures were really bruised by van der Merwe, who slammed six, four, six in three balls, but he had his number and became the highest wicket-taker this season. Abdulla yorked Kumble in the final over and should have had five but Chawla at third man spilled a running catch. Abdulla smiled proudly when he donned the purple cap for leading the wickets tally.

But in a game that swung to and fro, Bangalore regrouped superbly when it really mattered, and their grins were more emphatic than anything seen all day.

Duminy and Zaheer keep Kolkata down

A late assault from JP Duminy proved to be the difference between Mumbai and Kolkata.

Kolkata Knight Riders made a good attempt at causing possibly the biggest surprise of the season so far but fell short despite smart bowling for most of Mumbai's innings and a first fifty for them by Brad Hodge, who kept together a chase that threatened to fall away early on.

Mumbai turned the game irreversibly in six overs: the last three of their innings and the first three of Kolkata's. The main characters in this script were JP Duminy and Zaheer Khan. Duminy's late assault helped Mumbai scored 42 in the last three overs of an otherwise limp effort and, on the other side of the break, Zaheer removed Kolkata's openers Chris Gayle and Sourav Ganguly in his first two overs.

Hodge's innings was, in isolation, the best individual effort of the match. Chasing 149, Kolkata were 8 for 2 in the third over. Hodge consolidated along with Morne van Wyk and, while they didn't score at a spectacular rate, their 89-run stand kept Kolkata in the hunt. Hodge made an especially slow start, scoring 3 off the first 14 balls he faced. But once he'd stepped out and lofted Harbhajan Singh for a four in the sixth over, he pulled out a remarkable mix of sensible batting and attacking cricketing shots.

The three sixes he hit were hit down the ground without any power at all, just a clean swing of the straight bat. Despite the run-rate climbing every over, Kolkata were always with a chance while Hodge was in. With 61 required off the last six overs, he hit Graham Napier for back-to-back fours. With 51 needed from the last five, he hit Zaheer Khan for a six over long-off, and suddenly Kolkata needed just 38 in the last four overs with seven wickets in hand.

That's when Lasith Malinga delivered two near-perfect overs of death bowling, giving away just 11 runs and shutting Kolkata out. Mumbai's last three overs were a mirror image.

Kolkata had done everything right in the first 17 overs, but they still had Duminy to take care of. When Laxmi Shukla came on to bowl the 18th over, Duminy was 22 off 26 and Mumbai had reached only 106. He pulled Shukla for two sixes in the 18th over, and suddenly all Kolkata's good work from the first 17 overs seemed wasted. Ishant Sharma bowled a superb 19th over, giving away just nine runs and taking a wicket, but Duminy still stood between Kolkata and an easy target.

Prime Numbers

  • 16

    The most productive over number for the bowlers this season. 21 wickets have fallen in the 16th over so far. At number two is over number 11, with 17 wickets
  • 5

    The number of ducks by Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen this season, including Ganguly's golden duck today
  • 5

    Zaheer Khan's wicket tally so far this season. He more than doubled his tally by snapping up 3 today
  • 73

    Brad Hodge's score today was Kolkata's first fifty of the season
  • 5.16

    Brendon McCullum's batting average after six innings - the worst by a Kolkata batsman who has played more than two matches

Two more sixes followed in the last over, both down the ground, off length deliveries from Dinda. The latter came off the last ball, which meant he had scored 30 off the last 11 balls he faced.

It was the most critical phase of the match: only two sixes had been hit before that, both by Sachin Tendulkar, emphasising the concern that Mumbai have been overly reliant on Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya. Once Jayasuriya was out for 6, there was no danger of repeating the hammering they had handed out to Kolkata earlier this week.

It was also a day when Mumbai and Kolkata experimented a lot. Kolkata made proactive and frequent bowling changes, and didn't let the batsmen settle to any kind of rhythm. After the first 12 overs of the innings, five of seven bowlers used by Kolkata had gone for less than six an over, and four of them had taken a wicket each. Mumbai sent in their hitters Harbhajan Singh and Abhishek Nayar at Nos 3 and 4. Neither move worked and Mumbai paid the price of aiming too high.

When it came to Kolkata's innings, both teams tinkered with their opening combinations. Ganguly replaced Brendon McCullum at the top of the order, and Mumbai didn't open with Malinga, saving him for the latter half of the innings. The final experiment worked for Mumbai, with Malinga bowling tight overs towards the end, and it's the final experiment that counted.

Collingwood named Twenty20 captain

Not good enough for the IPL, but Paul Collingwood is England captain again.

has been confirmed as England's captain for the ICC World Twenty20 and will lead a squad including James foster, Robert key, Garaham napier and Eoin morgan as the selectors continue to unveil a new way of thinking.

"I am really excited about captaining this squad as it will be in front of our own fans here in England," Collingwood said. "At the end of the recent Caribbean tour it was well known that I wanted some time to think it over but now I am looking forward to the tournament. We have a talented squad with some new faces and there is the added incentive for everyone of a Lord's final."

Morgan, the Ireland and Middlesex batsman, earns his first England call-up as does Napier while Foster and Key return after long periods out of the international scene. Foster's recall for the first time since 2002 means there is no place for Matt Prior in the latest change to the wicketkeeping position.

"Foster's selection is about the pressure you put on as a wicketkeeper behind the stumps," Geoff Miller, the national selector, explained to reporters at Lord's. "His glovework is impeccable, and [by standing up] he creates a new kind of pressure for our bowlers, a lot of whom take the pace off the ball. And he's improved his lower-order batting as well."

Key has been rewarded for his impressive domestic Twenty20 record with a chance to open the batting and selected ahead of his team-mate Joe Denly. Napier, who played his first match in the IPL on Friday, hit the headlines last summer when he smashed 158 for Essex and Sussex.

Samit Patel, dropped from the one-day series in the Caribbean for being unfit, has been overlooked again as Miller said he still hadn't reached his targets. "Samit hasn't improved from when he was deselected. It's disappointing but we have rules and regulations and are going to stand by them. We have insisted on fitness."

Tim Bresnan who was named in the Test squad two days ago also misses out, but Andrew Flintoff has been included subject to him recovering from his knee injury and Luke Wright is recalled.

Collingwood returns to the captaincy less than a year after resigning alongside Michael Vaughan and just a matter of weeks since he said he didn't want the job. Although he had some success as one-day captain - notably a series win away against Sri Lanka - he also had his fair share of problems.

Top Curve
England's 'Big Seven' at the IPL (as of May 1)

  • Kevin Pietersen Six matches, 93 runs @ 15.50, four wickets @ 21.25, 6.53rpo
  • Andrew Flintoff Three matches, 52 runs @ 31, two wickets @ 52.50, 9.54 rpo
  • Dimitri Mascarenhas Five matches, 39 runs @ 9.75, six wickets @ 22.00, 6.82 rpo
  • Ravi Bopara Five matches, 138 runs @ 27.60
  • Graham Napier One match, 15 runs @ 15, one wicket @ 27, 6.75 rpo
  • Paul Collingwood DNP
  • Owais Shah DNP
Bottom Curve

During the first World Twenty20 in South Africa he miscounted Andrew Flintoff's overs during one match meaning he didn't bowl his full quota. The following summer against New Zealand he was at the centre of controversy for not recalling Grant Elliott to the crease after he'd been run out after a collision with Ryan Sidebottom.

He has spent the last two weeks unable to get a game for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, but there were not many other realistic candidates although there was some thought they should have been adventurous and handed it to Key or Dimitri Mascarenhas. However, his non-selection in the IPL did not concern Miller.

"He's gleaned an awful lot on strategies and techniques at the IPL," said Miller. "He's a bright fella and we know his abilities. He's not played in the middle but he's been netting and practicing, and done a lot of preparation work. It's not been about learning to bat and bowl, it's how to invent and create, and he's quite excited.

One batsman who has continued to develop over the past two seasons is Morgan, who follows in the footsteps of Ed Joyce in swapping the Irish top for an England one. Morgan was short-listed in the 30-man squad three weeks ago while playing for Ireland in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, a decision which Ireland were understandably frustrated at, but Miller had no doubts as to where the batsman's loyalties now lie.

"He's always had a passion to play for England. He's always said right from the start that he wants to play for England, and has shown over the last two or three years that he's inventive and creative and he's proved to the selectors - and opposition too - that he's going in the right direction, this is a mix of experience and youthful exuberance in this side, and he fits into that category so we're quite excited about it."

Squad Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Andrew Flintoff, James Foster, Robert Key, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Eoin Morgan, Graham Napier, Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright

Price tag put BCCI off ICC's anti-corruption cover

Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, is a senior member of the ICC board, which has consistently maintained that corruption in cricket is a menace.

The Indian board's commitment to fight corruption in cricket has come under the scanner after it has emerged that it stayed silent for months on an ICC offer to provide full anti-corruption cover for the IPL this year, mainly because of the fee involved. The issue was raised at the BCCI's working committee on Wednesday, when members were informed that the fee quoted then by the ICC - US$1.2 million - was too high.

The BCCI, which runs the IPL, finally agreed to the offer this month when reminded about it during the ICC's executive board meeting in Dubai. That was on April 17, the day before the IPL began, and it was too late for the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) - which starts work on an event at least two months in advance - to provide a credible level of preventive cover.

The BCCI's position has raised a few eyebrows within the Indian board and officials who attended Wednesday's high-level meeting told Cricinfo of their concern at a price being put to the fight against corruption - which, they feel, is an ever-present danger in cricket. To place the ACSU's fee in perspective, the BCCI had declared an overall income of approximately US$ 200m for 2007-08, and a profit of US$ 10m from the first IPL alone.

Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, is a senior member of the ICC board, which has consistently maintained that corruption in cricket is a menace that demands the most stringent preventive measures possible. In fact, after the last ICC board meeting, Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, admitted there is a higher concern about Twenty20 cricket with all the excitement and money.

"The board has consistently said it cannot afford to be complacent (about the risk of corruption in Twenty20 cricket)," Lorgat told Cricinfo last week. "We are mindful that with Twenty20 cricket there is great excitement and money. Put those ingredients into a pot and there is a higher concern."

Last July, after the first IPL, the ACSU chairman Sir Paul Condon told the ICC's annual conference in Dubai that Twenty20 tournaments like the IPL bring with it the "biggest threat in terms of corruption in the game since the days of cricket in Sharjah."

"But the BCCI's position when it comes to the IPL is quite puzzling," a state association official, who attended BCCI working committee meeting, told Cricinfo. It's learnt that some officials pointed to the presence of individuals other than the players and support staff in the team dugouts last year and stressed the importance of utilising the ICC's services to lend credibility to the tournament's anti-corruption measures.

N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, and Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, were not available for comment.

Officially, the BCCI is well within its rights to organise its own anti-corruption measures for the IPL, which is deemed a domestic event. "But it's obvious, isn't it, that the IPL is much more than just another domestic event?" another state association official, who attended the BCCI meeting, said. "There are nearly 80 foreign players involved from across the world along with Bollywood stars, their staff and supporters. No one is saying that there is corruption in the IPL; we are confident that there isn't. But are they doing enough to keep it that way?"

The IPL's anti-corruption protocol last year was handled by a team of around 10 officials, including retired police and military officials, recruited independently by the league. The team was guided by ACSU officials, who played a supporting role. This time, the IPL's team is being assisted by Nicholls & Steyn, the private security agency based in South Africa that has also been entrusted with the task of managing the event's security. Bob Nicholls, one of the partners of the security firm, had told Cricinfo that they were "not involved so much" with the anti-corruption aspect. In contrast, the ICC's ACSU is not a profit-based body and any income over expenses is pumped back into the game.

The ICC had first offered full ACSU coverage for the second IPL edition a few months after the hugely successful inaugural event got over last May, based on independent observations and inputs collated during the tournament. The IPL agreed and were then sent a quote on the fee this would involve. The IPL, however, indicated that the fee was too high and said they would revert on the offer, which they didn't till the ICC board meeting 12 days ago.

The ACSU's pre-event spadework involves staging reconnaissances in the host cities and gathering intelligence from local sources to identify potential corruptors. Against this background, the effectiveness of the IPL's anti-corruption procedures this year is open to question after the tournament - involving 59 matches over 37 days, at eight venues - was shifted to South Africa just three weeks before its scheduled start in India.

The ICC's ACSU came into being after the match-fixing scandal of 2000 involving Hansie Cronje, which also led to bans on Mohammed Azharuddin, the former India captain, and Salim Malik, the Pakistan batsman.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings Highlights IPL

Chennai Batting

Rajasthan Batting

Rajasthan fell way short - 126 all out (Kamran didn’t bat) - Laxmipathy Balaji 3.3-21-4, Albie Morkel 4-21-2

Brilliant 100 98 by Suresh Raina. As it often happens in a T20 game, this sort of a knock takes up most of the team’s total, but Badrinath (in his first real shot at being a batsman this season) was part of a very crucial partnership after big Hayden was dismissed early. Rajasthan Royals once again relied on Yusuf Pathan to bail them out of a scrappy start and for a while it did seem like lightning would strike twice at the same ground.

Guess the Rob Quiney thing might be replaced by Tyron Henderson in the next game. Kamran Khan’s knee took him out of the game - the cynical might say the Raina assault accentuated the pain of the injury (he appeared to be carrying the injury into this game). So does Warne’s wry grin at the time of the incident make him a cynic? Anyway, it’s probably a good thing for Kamran to face this sort of an onslaught early into the IPL rather than later and there’s a good chance he’ll now seriously emerge as Warne’s trump card in future games.

Pregame: The finalists from 2008 aren’t particularly playing like that at the moment, though Rajasthan have been resurgent in recent times.

Delhi Daredevils vs Deccan Chargers Highlights IPL 2009

Deccan Batting

Delhi Batting

Watch cricket highlights - Delhi Daredevils vs Deccan Chargers from IPL 2009 on April 30.

Scoreline: Deccan Chargers 148/9 - Dwayne Smith 48 (28) - Dirk Nannes 4-16-2
Delhi make it in 18.4 overs - Tilakaratne Dilshan 52 (46), Dinesh Kartik 41 (30)

McGrath’s replacement Dirk Nannes stifled the Deccan runflow into a trickle snaring both Gilchrist and Gibbs early on. And it pretty much stayed that way until a brilliant knock by Dwayne Smith. Personally, this Smith performance was a bit of a shock. Having seen some of his international career I thought his day out vs mumbai was going to be his peak this IPL.

Fidel Edwards always comes out looking charged up. Today, right from the onset he bordered on edgy and eventually the umpires got under his skin. He lost it, riled up Dilshan and the game finished an over too early. Adam Gilchrist gambled on Venugopal Rao an over too much, but I suppose with Dilshan and Karthik well-set, you’d back Delhi to win. Super partnership by the two that was timed perfectly.

Pregame: The teams have a couple of interesting changes - VVS Laxman gets some bed-rest - would you believe that.
For Delhi, no McGgrath as yet - would have been a super contest - Gilchrist vs McGrath

Time running out for Pakistan

Pakistan need to provide more support to Shahid Afridi if they are to stay alive in the five-match series.

Match facts

May 1, 2009
Start time 3pm (11.00GMT)

Big Picture
Australia are one win away from wrapping up the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, but not much talk has centred around the team's on-field performance. Since the offspinner Saeed Ajmal was reported for a suspect action the sides have been under more intense focus than during the opening three matches.

Ajmal was fined by the Pakistan Cricket Board for comments directed to Shane Watson and Younis Khan asked why Australia are involved in so many controversies when they face India and Pakistan. Michael Clarke maintained the series had been played in a good spirit.

The talking points will shift to the middle during Friday's fourth ODI in Abu Dhabi. Australia lead 2-1 in the five-match contest - Pakistan lost 10 for 76 in Monday's defeat - as they finalise their preparations for the start of their engagements in England in June.

Form guide (last five ODIs, most recent first)
Pakistan LLWLL
Australia WWLWL

Watch out for
Shahid Afridi has been outstanding in the opening three fixtures and remains Australia's biggest threat. His 10 victims at 10.70 have caused the most problems, but his 71 runs have also been a headache. The worry for Pakistan has been finding people to offer him significant assistance.

He hasn't been as effective as Afridi, but Nathan Hauritz has been a key performer for Australia. Since coming back into the one-day team in January he has 13 wickets in nine games and in this series has five at 18.60 along with an economy rate of 3.57. The prospect of more spinning surfaces in the remaining matches will lift his mood further.

Team news
Brett Lee is in town after joining the squad this week, but he won't bowl on Friday and is unlikely to be picked until the Twenty20 to end the tour. The rotation of the attack is the main issue for the squad, with Stuart Clark keen for more work and Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Bracken, Ben Laughlin and Doug Bollinger also in the outfit.

Australia (possible) 1 Brad Haddin (wk), 2 James Hopes, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Andrew Symonds, 6 Callum Ferguson, 7 David Hussey, 8 Nathan Hauritz, 9 Stuart Clark, 10 Nathan Bracken, 11 Doug Bollinger.

Yasir Arafat replaced Shoaib Akhtar in the previous game, but with Pakistan needing to win to stay in touch Shoaib could be recalled to provide some firepower. Ajmal will be feeling vulnerable despite some encouraging returns.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Younis Khan (capt), 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Umar Gul, 9 Shoaib Akhtar, 10 Iftikhar Anjum, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

Pitch and conditions
The conditions in the UAE, with the low and spinning pitches, are unusual for the Australians, but the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been enjoying it. "The beauty about international cricket is you get the opportunity to play on so many different wickets," he told AAP. "The wickets are a bit slower and lower than they are in Australia and they turn a bit more, but that's the beauty of it, we're playing in different conditions against a totally different side." A similar surface is expected on Friday, when the temperature is predicted to range between 25 and 41C.

Stats and Trivia

* In a tough tournament for batsmen, James Hopes leads the run-list with 111, one ahead of Salman Butt
* Australia have not won a one-day series since sweeping aside Bangladesh in September
* Only three half-centuries have been scored in the series

"You see a lot now in one-day games, teams consistently getting up near the 300, but as we've seen here all the games have been a contest and I think that's all you're after ... It's enjoyable sometimes to come and play on different wickets and have different plans in mind, to get 220 is a very good score in these sorts of conditions, so it's been quite good."
Brad Haddin

"We will learn a lot from this experience, by playing against the Australian team."
Younis Khan

Raina gem inspires Chennai to victory

Cometh the hour, cometh the man ...

In a demonstration of power-hitting with which he carried Chennai Super Kings in the first IPL, Suresh Raina again showed his ability to dominate and, when the need arose, get out of a jam. Chennai were in early trouble after being put in to bat but the early loss of the openers to Shane Warne's introduction of spin didn't deter Raina, who dispatched the Rajasthan Royals attack to all parts of SuperSport Park. His one-man show was complemented by a disciplined and enthusiastic fielding display - including a wicket and two catches to the man of the moment - and Chennai wrapped up victory by 38 runs.

The spade work for victory had been done with a gem from Raina. His blazing innings started and ended in the face of adversary but it didn't show on his face or in his choice of shots. Chennai had lost their leading run-scorer, Matthew Hayden, and Parthiv Patel to loose shots against Yusuf Pathan, who opened the attack with Dimitri Mascarenhas. But after that edgy start Chennai were put back on track through a 67-run liaison between Raina and S Badrinath. Raina was due a good score and he decided attack was the best way of defence.

He took the initiative early on, taking Mascarenhas for four and six and then clubbing Yusuf over long-off for six more. Badrinath was promoted ahead of MS Dhoni, Jacob Oram and Albie Morkel with Chennai in trouble and he reciprocated with a smart cameo of 29. He relieved the pressure with a three off-side boundaries and hit Yusuf out of the attack. Badri's inventiveness - making room, getting the wrists into play, lofting over the infield - allowed Raina to continue blazing and he carved a brilliant front-foot six over point off Munaf Patel's first delivery.

Once he found his tempo, Raina was unstoppable. A deft tickle for four off Siddharth Trivedi was one for the purists, a thick inside-edge next ball for the same result just the bit of luck Raina needed to script an epic. He continued to produce punishing pulls and gorgeous shots down the ground, but the slice over cover-point was the sight of the evening. Shane Warne was pulled and cut for boundaries in his first over as Raina reached fifty from 27 balls.

By now the mood in both camps had reversed. Rajasthan's early momentum faded into repeated misfields that allowed boundaries, and where Chennai had been unsure with the bat at the start, Badrinath was uppercutting for four. There were risks, but they were calculated. The fifty-run partnership needed just 33 deliveries.

Rajasthan took two wickets shortly after the break but with Dhoni giving him strike, Raina broke the shackles with consecutive boundaries in the 17th over. The run rate had now crossed seven and increased with consecutive sixes, both sliced over covers, in a 24-run 18th over during which Kamran Khan had to limp off with a twisted ankle. In the last over Raina raised his bat on 98, when the electronic scoreboard got it wrong after he slapped four past cover. Next ball was slashed up in the air and excellently taken by Graeme Smith at deep backward point. The only batsmen to cross 30, Raina's exemplary 98 off 55 balls lifted Chennai to a competitive total.

That innings not only gave the crowd something to cheer about but also gave Chennai's bowlers a solid platform to work with. A revamped new-ball attack of Morkel and Sudeep Tyagi kept it tidy and waited for errors, which came rather soon. Smith's vigilance had played a big role in the last game but here he was impetuous, reaching out and guiding Morkel to point in the second over. Swapnil Asnodkar was another to fall going for a big shot, except that he swung his bat down onto his own stumps.

As if his innings wasn't torture enough for Rajasthan, Raina starred with the ball. Rob Quiney was given a life when Dhoni fluffed a stumping, but the bowler had his revenge when he beat bat with a slider.

Yusuf came out blazing but failed to convert, lofting L Balaji down to long-off where the man who could do no wrong took the catch. Dhoni held back on using Balaji till the 11th over and the bowler immediately made an impact, not allowing any room. When Ravindra Jadeja skied Balaji miles into the starry night and Hayden settled under a steepler, the candle had gone out. The rest was a formality as Balaji took four, a solid comeback after a poor last match.

It was apt that the last wicket, a massive top edge, should land in Raina's hands. His grip remained firm from start to finish.

Dilshan heroics take Delhi home

Tillakaratne Dilshan stroked four boundaries and three sixes during his 46-ball innings.

Tournament favourites Delhi Daredevils turned in a thoroughly professional performance in the clash of the heavyweights at SuperSport Park, beating Deccan Chargers by six wickets. Tillakaratne Dilshan proved his worth yet again with an unbeaten fifty to steer his team to 149; he was supported by Dinesh Karthik, who finally delivered with the bat after a disappointing season last year. This was Deccan's first defeat in the tournament and they now share points with Delhi at the top of the table, though with a better net run rate.

Delhi controlled most of the game, save one passage of play in Deccan's innings when Dwayne Smith got going. The 10-over break has often worked against the batting team in this tournament but the reverse happened here. Deccan looked out of sorts at 55 for 4 with the Delhi spinners bowling in tandem before Smith hit 48 off 28 balls. The bowlers hit back, though, to keep them to 148, and Sehwag would have settled for that having opted to field in good batting conditions.

Deccan's poor start pushed them on the backfoot and gave Delhi the momentum they needed. For once, the top order failed and the responsibility fell on those following to steer the team through. Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs fell to poor shots against Dirk Nannes, who bowled with confidence, getting a lot of bounce and nip off the pitch.

The spinners started off well, taking two wickets before the strategy time-out to stall a brief Deccan recovery led by Rohit Sharma. But Smith seemed determined to ruin their figures. He picked the usually miserly Daniel Vettori for three successive fours and pulled Mishra flat over deep square-leg, then lofted him over long-on for consecutive sixes.

Curiously, another spinner, Tillakaratne Dilshan, was brought on to replace Vettori but there was no respite. Smith's confidence rubbed off on debutant T Suman and Deccan scored 51 off three overs to reclaim the advantage.

Smith regularly made room to hit the seamers with powerful bottom-hand shots but ultimately fell to an inside-out loft over the covers off Nehra. The total looked competitive but one got the feeling Deccan were around 20 runs short against Delhi's strong batting.

The chase began on a positive note. Sehwag, in need of runs, looked like turning the corner by slapping wide deliveries over point and elegantly flicking to the on side when the bowlers strayed. However, when RP Singh cramped him for a bit of room, he slashed hard and found Herschelle Gibbs at backward point and what looked like the beginning of an enterprising comeback innings turned into a cameo.

The in-form AB de Villiers perished for 5 in front of his home crowd, trying to go over the top. Gautam Gambhir also looked fairly authoritative while at the crease, slicing two boundaries wide of point off Shoaib Ahmed, but gave it all way trying to paddle him around the corner in the same over. Whether he gloved the ball en route to the pad was uncertain but it was a risk not worth taking for a man looking to carry the chase and when he fell, the score was 49 for 3 and the game was wide open.

Karthik and Dilshan played sensibly in the middle overs and settled on knocking the balls into the gaps knowing they weren't chasing the tallest of targets. They looked comfortable against Pragyan Ojha and the backup bowling of Smith and Rohit Sharma couldn't do much either. The momentum stayed with Delhi when pair tonked sixes off the slower bowlers over the on side. Karthik then whipped Edwards to bisect a narrow window between two fielders on the on side, an obvious sign of his confidence.

Deccan were unable to get the breakthroughs and the pair offered no chances. The frustration showed on Fidel Edwards when he was unfairly penalised for bowling a bouncer. Gilchrist walked across to fan the flames and it got fairly heated when Dilshan clubbed a six off Edwards over deep square-leg and seemed to make an angry gesture towards the bowler. That six, though, had sealed the match and handed Deccan their first defeat of the season.

Collingwood favourite for Twenty20 captaincy

Not good enough for the IPL, but Paul Collingwood is favourite to be Twenty20 captain.

England's selectors are having a busy time of it and two days after naming a new-look Test squad the ICC World Twenty20 party will be unveiled at Lord's on Friday with all eyes on who will take the captaincy.

The strong suggestion is that the leadership will return to Paul Collingwood less than a year after he resigned alongside Michael Vaughan and just a matter of weeks since he said he didn't want the job. Although he had some success as one-day captain - notably a series with away against Sri Lanka - he also had his fair share of problems.

During the first World Twenty20 in South Africa he miscounted Andrew Flintoff's overs during one match meaning he didn't bowl his full quota. The following summer against New Zealand was at the centre of controversy for not recalling Grant Elliott to the crease after he'd been run out after a collision with Ryan Sidebottom.

However, his mind appears to have been swayed as the selectors look for someone willing to take the job. "I am interested to lead England in a tournament on home soil," Collingwood told the Daily Telegraph last week. "It would be an exciting challenge."

He has spent the last two weeks unable to get a game for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL while other captaincy options, particularly Dimitri Mascarenhas, have stated a strong desire to have a crack at the role.

Robert Key is another who has been mentioned and he could make the squad as England try to find themselves an opening pair that can take advantage of the fielding restrictions. Bopara, who opened during the IPL with some success, will get a run in that position but there is a need to find more boundary hitters at the top. Key, and his team-mate Joe Denly, fit that bill and Denly's fielding could edge it in his favour.

England's Twenty20 record is fairly woeful - they have lost nine of their 15 matches - and if the Test squad is anything to go by expect few interesting selections. The wicketkeeping position will again be debated and James Foster is the best one-day gloveman in domestic cricket along with being a skilled lower-order finisher.

Graham Napier, who hit 158 in the Twenty20 Cup last year and has also been at the IPL without a game, has a strong case to earn a call-up and the selectors will also show whether Samit Patel was done enough to atone for his fitness indiscretions over the winter. Andrew Flintoff, who has recently undergone knee surgery, is expected to be fit in time for the tournament.

Possible squad Paul Collingwood (capt), Ravi Bopara, Joe Denly, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Owais Shah, James Foster, Samit Patel, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Graham Napier, Luke Wright, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings XI Highlights

Mohali Batting

Mumbai Batting

Watch cricket highlights - Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings XI from IPL 2009 played on April 29.

Scoreline: Mohali 119/8: Kumar Sangakkara 45 (44) - Lasith Malinga 4-12-2
Mumbai 116/7: JP Duminy 59 - Yusuf Abdulla 4-19-2, Powar 4-23-1

The first video has audio and therefore commentary missing for about half the video (some would say that’s a good thing)

The second low-scoring game of the day that saw the team batting second chasing a low total - In Bangalore’s case they were able to steal it in the end, while with Mumbai JP Duminy almsot timed his knock perfectly but just couldn’t find someone at the other end to take the pressure off with a couple of big hits. An inspired performance in the field by Punjab who all looked charged up right from the outset. Abdulla and Piyush Chawla bowled holding-their-nerve overs right at the end - good to see Piyush Chawla force himself into the forefront - hopefully this show and more this IPL will mark his return as the No 1 legspinner for the Indian team.

Pregame: Yuvraj Singh up against his idol - both teams are on the upswing - easily the game of the day.

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders Highlights

Watch cricket highlights - Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders from IPL 2009.

Scoreline: Kolkata Knight Riders: 139/6 - Morne Van Wyk 43 (35), Chris Gayle 40 (37) - Anil Kumble 4-16-2
Bangalore make it with a ball to spare - Shreevats Goswami 43, Mark Boucher 25 (13) - Ishanth Sharma 4-15-2

A game that was dull before Bangalore injected some life into it by almost messing it up. The Kolkata innings apart from Gayle was quite listless with new inductee Van Wyk in his role as keeper-batsman ensuring Kolkata didn’t fade out under the 14-overs-by-the-spinners tactic adopted by KP.

Kallis looked comfortable and happy just knocking it around until the 10 over mark and this almost gave the Challengers the shivers post the ad/strategy break. In his defence he didn’t get as much of the strike as his new partner Goswami whose performance today was pretty similar to last year - debuting after the tournament had gotten underway and producing a very important knock for his team. If I remember right he’d got a 50 last year on debut.

The Kolkata fielding let them down at crucial points towards the end. Even then, Bangalore looked shaky and after yet another pretty display in blind-hitting by Merwe, Boucher seemed the only one around who could stay level-headed and actually see the game through.

Pregame: Spin options are being picked for RCB - Van der Merwe (who beautifully expounded blind hitting in the 2nd T20 vs Aus) is in along with Kumble and Appanna and KP (who’s picked up McCullum off the 1st ball at the time of this post)

BCCI offers amnesty for ICL players

Other national boards who have banned their ICL players from official cricket are expected to follow the BCCI's lead.

The Indian board has announced an "amnesty" for all Indian players associated with the ICL, who can return to official cricket provided they cut all ties with the unofficial league by May 31. The players who choose to return to the official fold will be eligible to play international cricket after a one-year 'cooling period' but can play domestic cricket from June 1, when the ICC's new rules on official and unofficial cricket come into force.

"A lot of cricketers and support staff with the ICL met us and told us that they committed a mistake by joining the ICL and they want to return to the BCCI," Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, said after a meeting of the board, where the decision was taken. "They will be allowed to play domestic cricket immediately. "

It's learnt that other national boards who have banned their ICL players from official cricket are expected to follow suit. There are at least 85 Indian and 60 foreign players aligned with the ICL, which is bankrolled by India's largest listed media company, Zee Telefilms and headed by the country's lone World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev.

The country standing to gain the most from the decision is Pakistan, which has 20 players in the ICL of whom half - including Mohammad Yousuf - could expect to play for the national side. New Zealand, which has lost its most potent fast bowler, Shane Bond, has already said it could waive the cooling-off period.

There was no immediate reaction from the ICL but, shortly after news broke of the amnesty, Cricinfo received a statement from the league. "Taking forward its sports performance evaluation process across all cricket operations, the ICL management has decided not to renew the contracts of some of the ICL players and support staff that have expired", the statement, by the ICL's head Himanshu Mody, said. "As cricket professionals they are free to decide and explore their options."

The "sports performance evaluation process" Mody referred to was a review, revealed to Cricinfo in February, of its underperforming players.

The ICL and BCCI have been at loggerheads ever since the league was announced two years ago, in the aftermath of India's disastrous World Cup campaign. It was a revolutionary idea but lacked official sanction and soon paid the price for that. The Indian board hit back by blacklisting the league and those who joined it, as players or support staff, and a few months later announced the formation of the IPL.

The BCCI's stand was then adopted by most other boards who lost players to the IPL, though the ban has been applied selectively across the ICC's member nations; of late some ICL players, especially in Pakistan and New Zealand, have been admitted back to domestic cricket.

The ban remained a controversial issue, though, and the ICL lobbied hard with the ICC to have the status revoked. The ICC set up meeting between the league and the Indian board but the BCCI did not appeared keen on a resolution and the meetings came to naught. Earlier this month, the ICC formally rejected an application by the ICL for "authorised unofficial" status, saying it did not meet its criteria.

News of the amnesty is expected to be welcomed by ICL players, though their return to the official fold is still several steps away.

Hemang Badani and Rohan Gavaskar, two of the ICL's leading Indian players, called the BCCI's offer a "positive decision" and good for the players.

"Some of us have been stuck with the ICL and not knowing where we are headed cricket-wise, especially after the March programme was cancelled," Badani told Cricinfo. "Some of the ICL money due to us was not coming through either, possibly due to the recession. But mostly some of us were frustrated because there just hasn't been enough cricket for us in the ICL. Of course, we played some good cricket in the ICL but not the quantity we expected."

However, Badani, who plays for Chennai Superstars, said he would decide within a week whether to take up the offer and would weigh his options carefully.

Gavaskar, who plays for Royal Bengal Tigers, said he hoped the ICL would not come in the way of players who wish to represent their country. "It is a positive decision because the BCCI is giving the ICL player an option," he said. "If they don't make use of this option they can't blame the BCCI in future. Also the ICL had said initially when they were recruiting players that they would not come in the way of a player if he gets a chance to play for the country."

Abdulla clinches Punjab a last-over thriller

Irfan Pathan removed Sanath Jayasuriya second ball, setting the ball in motion.

Talk about pulling one from out of the hat. Defending a small total Kings XI Punjab's three-pronged pace attack bowled canny spells to rock Mumbai Indians' chase, and despite a composed half-century from JP Duminy, Punjab hung on to complete a nerve-wracking three-run victory. Mumbai hardly set a wrong foot forward from the time they lost the toss, striking early through spin and keeping their hands on the jugular through Lasith Malinga's late strikes, but failed to chase 120. Kumar Sangakkara had kept the innings alive with an important unbeaten 45 with scant support and it proved decisive in the end. Having struck early in the piece the task of bowling the last over, and defend 12 runs, came to Yusuf Abdulla. And what an over it turned out to be.

Duminy, who was on 55, swung two down the ground, missed a clever slower ball, left a wide be, heaved two more, and then swung the fourth ball straight to deep midwicket. Abdulla was perspiring insanely in the Kingsmead cauldron as he left his giddy team-mates and went back to his mark. But this is a left-arm fast bowler adept at the Twenty20 format, and he only allowed three off the next two balls, aided by a superb dive at cover by the portly Ramesh Powar off the last ball to save a couple, to spark incredible scenes.

This major upset was put into motion early in Mumbai's chase. Mumbai are very reliant on their veteran openers, so striking early was one massive way at winning. Irfan Pathan gave Punjab exactly what they wanted, getting Sanath Jayasuriya to nick one to slip in the first over. Then Sachin Tendulkar, for once, failed. After a thick edge past backward point and crude hoick he drove Vikramjeet Malik straight to point. The situation was particularly dubious when a struggling Shikhar Dhawan missed a middle-stump yorker from Abdulla.

That left Duminy and Dwayne Bravo to steer a faltering chase, and Duminy set about it with consecutive boundaries in Malik's second over. Bravo a pulled four and lofted six in Piyush Chawla's opening over only to repeat the big shot in the next and hole out to long-on. Mumbai went into the tactical break on 47 for 4, still 73 adrift.

Duminy has proved a master of such situations and milked the bowling in a 49-run stand with Abhishek Nayar. Livewires alike, they pinched singles and kept runs ticking over. Harried singles from clever paddles and rubber-wrist dabs also did the trick. A few fumbles in the deep told as Punjab started to slack; a couple fortuitous inside edges and a missed run out and stumping compounded their frustration.

As the target got closer Duminy raised his fifty off 55 balls, the slowest of the IPL. Irfan came back to clean up Nayar first ball of the 18th over, with Mumbai needing 26, and Harbhajan Singh fell in the penultimate over with 19 left. Seven runs were scampered in the next five balls. Then Abdullah came into the picture to seal Punjab the tightest win of the tournament.

It was a disappointing loss for Mumbai after a glossy display in the field. For the second game running at Kingsmead spin had its say over proceedings early on. Mumbai's slow bowlers came on well inside the first ten overs and quickly dented Punjab. Malinga and Zaheer Khan were frugal with the new ball, but it was Harbhajan's entry in the fourth over brought the wicket of Goel, stumped easily. That brought about another change, Bravo coming in and immediately accounting for Ravi Bopara with an away-swinger. The Powerplay yielded two wickets for Mumbai and just 26 runs for Punjab, which included one six and a four.

Attempting to up the tempo Yuvraj was well held on the long-on boundary by Zaheer off Duminy - who came in the seventh over - and Mumbai were hooting and screaming. At the ten-over break Punjab were 50 for 3. Throughout the tournament the first over after the tactical break has proved jittery for sides batting first and the pattern continued. Enter Jayasuriya and third ball Mahela Jayawardene chipped a low full toss to long-on.

Batting wasn't easy with the slow bowlers purchasing grip from a track on which spin accounted for eight wickets in the afternoon's game. Sangakkara curbed himself in and knocked the ball around. The sweep was a shot he played regularly in between chopping the ball into the arc between cover and point. After Irfan fell in the 15th over Punjab needed a big over, but it never came. Malinga came back for two overs and nobody was able to get him away; Wilkin Mota and Chawla were yorked in the space of three balls. In the last ten overs Mumbai conceded just two boundaries off the bat, Sangakkara and Powar clubbing Bravo twice in the final over.

Ultimately Sangakkara's vigil and Abdulla's calm came up trumps for Punjab. For Mumbai, it was a rude wake-up call, and they will now seriously have to address a batting order too reliant on the openers.

Cool Boucher wins Bangalore a thriller

Kevin Pietersen opened the bowling and dismissed Brendon McCullum first ball to put pressure on Kolkata right from the outset.

In a contest of two desperate teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore were simply more desperate, winning their second game of the season in six tries. Their desperation manifested itself positively, when they included three spinners in the side, opened the bowling with Kevin Pietersen and restricted Kolkata to a below-par total. And it showed up negatively, as they collapsed after a solid start - the first time both their openers got off the mark this season - and contrived to need 10 off the last over, having been 69 for 0 at one point.

Finally, Mark Boucher's cool head prevailed, and his 13-ball 25 saved them much embarrassment, especially when they have been the laughing stocks of the tournament.

Both teams needed inspiration from their captains, and clearly there was only one winner. Even before the toss, Pietersen showed he had read the pitch better by including the extra spinner, in Roelof van der Merwe. Kolkata, who like Bangalore are the butt of jokes, mainly because of their strategy and team decisions, dropped Ajantha Mendis for Murali Kartik. They would surely have regretted that decision when Kartik, Brad Hodge and Chris Gayle prolonged the game with tight bowling.

Pietersen, playing his last game before flying back to England, was the most desperate of all. Despite the presence of three spinners in his side, he bowled the first ball of the day, and got his counterpart Brendon McCullum out with that. Ironic, given that till now a scoreline of 0 for 1 has been an almost exclusive preserve of Pietersen's side. Two of his other spinners, Anil Kumble and KP Appanna, also struck in their first overs, both at crucial times when Kolkata seemed to have got away.

Hodge had come out blazing, taking Pankaj Singh for two fours and a six in three deliveries, and guiding Kolkata to a good start notwithstanding the first over. Till Kumble struck in the sixth over. He first beat Gayle with a bouncing delivery, then got Hodge with a slider to have Kolkata stumbling at 45 for 2.

Gayle scored at an uncharacteristic strike-rate of 108, batting with a runner, and giving up adventure for responsibility. His dismissal, too, was unusual for him - holing out to a boundary fielder off Appanna. It wasn't clear whether the restricted foot movement was the reason but it was certain that Kolkata at that point looked - despite the loss of regular wickets - primed for a second-half assault, at 70 for 3 in 11.1 overs.

That assault never came, though, and, despite Morne van Vyk's 35-ball 44, Kolkata couldn't even double that score. Kumble played a major role, dismissing the dangerous-looking Wriddhiman Saha in his first over back. The spinners bowled 15 overs for 100 runs, and took five wickets. Kumble bowled four of them for 16 runs and two wickets.

Shreevats Goswami, replacing the hopeless Robin Uthappa at the top, and Jacques Kallis got Bangalore off to a start. Goswami was especially impressive. While Kallis was slow in scoring runs, Goswami kept Bangalore ahead of the required run-rate, targeting Ajit Agarkar, the weak link in the Kolkata attack. He hit three boundaries in Agarkar's two overs and didn't allow Kartik to settle into any rhythm, stepping out and hitting two boundaries in his first over.

Kartik made a good comeback and, not for the first time this tournament, Bangalore lost their way post the strategy time-out. They were 65 for 0 at the break, but soon wickets started falling as they looked to capitalise on a good start. Hodge benefited from some reckless shots, and 69 for 0 became 77 for 2. With Ishant Sharma coming out to bowl an impressive late spell, 106 for 2 became 107 for 4 in the 16th over.

Boucher, accustomed to finishing games for South Africa, had the right mix of sensible running and big hitting. He kept his cool through a poor 19th over, when Ishant gave away just three runs and claimed van der Merwe's wicket. His boundary hits came at the right times. He hit a six with 29 required off 16, and then a four with nine required off five. In a match where it seemed, at times, neither team had the will to win, Boucher was the final difference.