IPL18 Match 5: Chennai Super Kings vs. Kolkata Knight Riders

Oh what a circus, oh what a show. That seems to be the only appropriate words to use. CSK has truly brought the league to life. The changes that were made was extremely interesting. Jadhav had to be left out because of his injury. A simple swap could have been made. The changes that were made were inspirational. Two changes were unexpected. Getting Sam Billings for Jadhav and replacing Mark Wood with Shardul Thakur was great. The move paid off. Billings played amazing innings.Thakur bowled below the average run rate and he took a wicket too. These changes meant that CSK started higher in my ranking. The Change made by KKR to bring in Tom Curran for the injured Starc was brilliant. Replacing Johnson with him made me feel even more proud. The pain of the loss of the Ashes disappeared momentarily. I loved the way Curran reacted after getting Watson out. There are reports that Curran called him a pie thrower. I do not care. The IPL is a huge gladiatorial festival. It is good to see controlled aggression and people wearing their hearts on their sleeve. I am a big fan of the Curran brothers and I am sure that Tom’s stint in India will help him. This match showcased England and Windies cricket.

This match may have gone down to the wire but my numbers show that CSK outperformed KKR by 18%. CSK’s last match was saved by Bravo. This time it was the combined performance of the team that gave them the victory. That being said you really have to feel for Andre Russell and Sunil Naraine. Naraine has been given a license to kill. If he is successful like he was with RCB then he can be destructive. If he gets out cheaply then it will not matter because he would not have wasted any balls. The people in Chennai could not have asked for a better opening game.

I do not question the value of Dhoni in the team. I do have to question his value in my Playing XI. He is currently the worst batsman in the team. Wood, Chahar and Thakur are the only players worse than him. With the performance of Billings, I seriously doubt whether Wood will be able to get back into the side barring any injury of course. CSK gave a nice welcome to their fans with this match. Sadly it may be their last because they will not be playing in Chennai this season and there is talk that they will not play in Chennai next season because of elections. Politics and cricket do not mix well.

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Filed under Blog, Chennai Super Kings, Cricket, England, India, Indian Premier League, IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders, Politics, Twenty20, Vivo Indian Premier league

IPL18 Match 4: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Rajasthan Royals

Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals were in the news for all the wrong reasons. However all the demons seemed to have disappeared at least for SRH despite Williamson saying that David Warner will be missed. If their bowling was good then their batting was excellent. Questions were raised about whether Williamson would be able to play T20 properly but there is no reason why there is any need to hit every ball out of the park. Dhawan batted extremely well. All Williamson had to do was to provide Dhawan support. Once again Williamson used the resources he had well.

The big compliment for SRH though is their bowlers. They used five bowlers and all of them bowled well. They had Yusuf Pathan but he was not used. This is exactly what my thinking was when I proposed the addition of adding another all-rounder by RCB. A team does not need most of its players to bowl but it helps. SRH has the best bowling performance so far and deservedly so. The first match is a far harbringer of the finals but it looks like Rajasthan Royals will miss Steve Smith more than SRH will miss David Warner.

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Filed under Ball Tampering, Cricket, Cricket Australia, David Warner, India, Indian Premier League, IPL, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Steve Smith, Sunrisers Hyderabad, T20, Twenty20, Vivo Indian Premier league

Arya’s list

I love how Arya Stark has a list and the fact that she is religious about it. Yes, I did realise that the above image is outdated. The point though is all of us have some kind of list that we keep crossing things off. In my case, it is the imprecatory Psalm 69. I am not going to run around with a needle and stab the people on my list. I leave it in the hand of God. I do not know if I am wrong or right to maintain this list. If I am wrong then I know that I will be told off by my maker for I have made my peace. I have been clear in my mind for nearly 25 years that I want my epitaph to read “The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Now I am considering adding my list of names below that. It just may work. Maybe when my time comes there will be some names that can be struck through and others that can be chiselled through after.

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Filed under Arya Stark, Christianity, Game of Thrones, Prayer, Psalms, religion

IPL18 Match 3: Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore

As always RCB on paper seems to be full of promise. This year saw them get a better balance in the team. The critical point seemed to be the 14th over where AB and Kohli fell. The result was that RCB probably got 20 runs short. This difference could have stretched the match to the last over. The weakness though in RCB continues to be their bowling. This is clearly reflected in the points that they scored. There were concerns raised the problem that RCB played only five bowlers. The issue is not how many bowlers were bowled. The issue is how effective those bowlers are. KKR went after Washington Sunder and Chahal. RCB did not have any back up bowlers. Wood and Tahir were targeted by Mumbai Indians however CSK could fall back on Watson, Bravo, Chahar and Harbhajan. The question this season will continue to remain whether the RCB bowlers will be able to support the batsmen. I believe that the batsmen of RCB are strong enough to put up a competitive score by playing one batsman less.

RCB will have to pick their game up. They will have to live by their motto to Play Bold. They will have to take some really strong decisions. They are currently bottom of the bowling list even though their bowlers are not the worst bowlers in the tournament. RCB is close to my heart. The Chinnaswamy stadium was where I saw my first test match. My love for cricket and test matches took root from there. It also helps that they have English players who were obtained at the auctions rather than as replacements. So this would probably be my team

1) Brendon McCullum

2) Parthiv Patel (wk)

3) Virat Kohli

4) AB de Villiers

5) Mandeep Singh

6) Moeen Ali/Tim Southee/Corey Anderson

7) Chris Woakes

8) Washington Sundar

9) Kulwant Khejroliya

10) Umesh Yadav

11) Yuzvendra Chahal

I believe the inclusion of either Moeen Ali. Tim Southee or Corey Anderson will be able to strengthen the bowling and batting of RCB. Parthiv Patel is a decent keeper. Moeen Ali has found himself doing well in the lower order. However I believe Moeen Ali and Parthiv Patel can be slotted anywhere in the order. I am curious about the team they will play against Kings XI Punjab. It will be an exciting game.

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Filed under Cricket, Delhi Daredevils, India, Indian Premier League, IPL, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, T20, Test matches, Twenty20, Vivo Indian Premier league

IPL18 Match 2: Delhi Daredevils vs. Kings XI Punjab

If the talk yesterday was the heroics of Dwayne Bravo then today it was completely blown away by the whirlwind batting performance of Lakesha Rahul. His 50 came off just 14 balls. This was followed by another good batting performance by Karun Nair. David Miller and Marcus Stonis finished the match in a nice and mature manner. Ashwin was extremely good as a captain. I was curious how their relationship would pan out after watching Ashwin speak frankly about Sehwag in this Video. Ashwin bowled really well and he used his resources intelligently. The day belonged to Lokesh Rahul.

Rahul was leaps and bounds ahead of anyone today. That being said Dwayne Bravo is still ahead of him because of Bravo’s contribution with the ball. My index is biased to all-rounders. This is not only a positive bias. Sub-par performances are punished too. Bravo’s innings was more crucial for the team. This is reflected by Bravo having contributed about 60% of his teams score while Rahul contributed 40%. This is truly shaping out to be a really good season that will provide me with the necessary data to test my methodology in a myriad of situations.

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Filed under Cricket, Delhi Daredevils, Indian Premier League, IPL, Kings XI Punjab, T20, Twenty20

Indian Premier League Playing XI Match 1

This is the playing XI based on my index. The parameters I have used are as follows

  1. The team will have four International players.
  2. There will be a minimum of one spinner.
  3. The wicket keeper will be a regular keeper for their team.
  4. The captain of the team will be one of the captains of the team.

This list will be updated after the last game of each day. The comments will change based on the team.

Openers: Ambati Rayudu played well at the Top of the order. Shane Watson is very comfortable opening the innings. Having him on the team and opening makes the team flexible because Watson fulfils the role of the foreign player, all-rounder and opener.

Wicket Keeper: Having Ishan Kishan bat at three is a blessing. The best place for a keeper in ODI and T20 is either in the top three or as a finisher. You have to look at Adam Gilchrist, Brendon McCullum, AB De Villiers and Quinton De Kock as examples. A premium has been paid for wicket keepers this season. The restriction on the number of foreign players makes Indian keepers very valuable. The keeper with the best batting record will get the slot.

Bowlers: The quality of fast bowlers gave me the freedom to choose two specialist spinners and Wood. However I am not sure how long these bowlers will be able to keep their places. I think Markande will continue to be there. Imran Tahir may get replaced by Rashid Khan. Mark Wood will have a hard time keeping his place.

Foreign Players: I have gone in for Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Mark Wood and Imran Tahir. It may be difficult for Watson to be replaced. The rest are up for grabs. Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo made a huge impact in the game. I expected more from Imran Tahir and Mark Wood.

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Filed under Blog, Chennai Super Kings, Cricket, India, Indian Premier League, Indices, IPL, Mumbai Indians, T20

IPL18 Match 1: Mumbai Indians vs. Chennai Super Kings

The general consensus is that this year’s avatar of the Indian Premier League would be the most closely fought so far. All the teams bought players to create a well-balanced side. Big names did not matter. The number of years a person spent in the team, their seniority or even if they were a captain had no bearing. If the first game is anything to go by then we are set for a great competition.

The loss of early wickets followed by a good recovery by Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya. The icing on the cake was the bowling of Dwayne Bravo in the last over. There was the last ball injury of Hardik Pandya too.

Chennai Super Kings started well. Then they had an absolute brain freeze in the middle order. Mayank Markande and Hardik Pandya bowled beautifully. I am looking forward to seeing more of Markande. Dwayne Bravo came in and brought CSK within touching distance of victory before he got out. Seven runs needed off six balls. They were nine down. Kedar Jadhav who had retired hurt earlier came back to bat. He did not score anything in the first three balls but then followed it with a six and four. CSK won by one wicket with one ball to spare. Joy Bhattacharya who was the former team director of Kolkata Knight Riders compared CSK to The Expendables at the show on Cricbuzz. It was so refreshing to hear their commentary.

My index indicates that Mumbai Indians outperformed Chennai Super Kings in each and every area. The difference between the two sides was clearly Bravo. His score was 50% more than the next highest player who was Krunal Pandya. Hardin Pandya just edged past Markande as the best bowler.

At the end of the day the best all-round performance by an individual in a team with nothing to lose and who had to prove their critics wrong deservedly won.

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Filed under Chennai Super Kings, Cricket, India, Indian Premier League, Indices, IPL, Mumbai Indians, T20, Writing

Cricket Index Soft Run

I have been developing my cricket index and I am happy with the tweaks I made. I have decided to have a soft run of the index with the Indian Premier League before I run it starting with the test match between Ireland and Pakistan followed by the Pakistan tour of England. Test, ODI and T20 will have different weights for the same factors.

My methodology is essentially to treat a team as a portfolio with each player an investment. The value of the team is the total of the individual performance of the players. I am curious about the results of the soft run. There cannot be a better baptism of fire for my index than the Indian Premier League. The main reason I started this project is that I believe that the ranking that is given by the ICC has little relevance to the actual performance of the team.

I believe I have either eliminated or reduced the biases that indices have especially cricket statistics.

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The Serious Implications of Sandpapergate

I was on my way to church and were running through the chords of the songs we were going to sing for the service when I first started to read about the ball tampering incident between Australia and South Africa. I more or less tweeted immediately that Cameron Bancroft should have been red carded for the event. I have since then intentionally kept quite on this topic. The fact is that Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steven Smith colluded together to tamper the ball. They were given punishments based on what the ICC and Cricket Australia have in their statutes. The BCCI had no option but to ban Steven Smith and David Warner from the IPL. Cricket Australia banned the trio from international and domestic cricket. I believe that allowing Smith and Warner to play in the IPL would have reduced the value of the IPL. The apologies from Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft combined with them accepting their bans makes them seems genuine. Lehmann seemed remorseful too in his press conference. The silence of David Warner thunders above them. Candice Warner interview has not helped him either.

I have not changed my view since my first tweet. The red card system should have been more exhaustive. Most of the drama could have been avoided if something significant was done there and then. An attempt was made to tamper the ball. The umpires should have awarded South Africa penalty runs, changed the ball and red carded Bancroft. Further punishments could have been given if deemed fit at the end of the day or the innings. Footballers are penalised if they are deemed to have acted as if they dived or if they feign an injury. Similar punishments should be done in cricket. Tampering the ball will be high on the least. I would add time wasting especially to save a test match or get through the end of a session. The addition of the third umpire and review system has been great for cricket. Not only has it increased the number of right decisions but it has raised the standard of umpiring. Decentralisation has been really good in this case. However I believe that more power should be given to the umpires to curb problems that arise on the field.

The heroes of this saga are first Fanie de Villiers who tipped the camera crew that the Aussies may be cheating. The second are the Australian public who took a really good stand. This article clearly states the reason for the outcry. The Australian government should not have got involved. Politics and cricket should be kept separate.

The thing that troubles me the most is none of the Australian bowlers were part of the plan. I find this very hard to believe. James Anderson and Stuart Broad are obsessive about the ball. The English team in general are. Alaistar Cook is allowed to handle the ball because his hands hardly sweat. Fielders are instructed to handle the ball properly once the ball has developed. I find it hard to believe that none of the bowlers was involved in some form or that they did not notice that the ball suddenly had scuffs.

Hopefully ,this is the last of this. There is a month to the start of the English season and the IPL in between should provide a nice break. I am looking forward to the forthcoming season. The teams from the subcontinent will be in full force. Ireland and Afghanistan have one off tests. West Indies will also be playing. I will be taking my cricket index live this season onwards. I believe I have tweaked it properly. I hope that the season will be in the news for all the good reasons. We need something to celebrate cricket after everything that has happened.

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Filed under Ball Tampering, Blog, Cricket, Cricket Australia, England, IPL, Test matches

North South divide in India

www.ndtv.com/opinion/the-latest-humiliation-by-bjp-of-southern-states-by-mihir-swarup-sharma-1827296

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Filed under India, Politics