Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ipl’

India are hosting Australia for a seven-match ODI series, which normally would have been hyped for weeks (if not months) in advance, but the Ashes (and its attendent ODIs) blurred into the Champions Trophy which blurred into the Twenty20 Champions League which only finished yesterday, so it’s almost as if the series has crept up on both sides.

For India, the headline news is the return of Virender Sehwag and the injury worries over Yuvraj, but it’s the bowling attack which is arguably under pressure after a poor run of late. Munaf Patel returns to give the seam bowling a little more control, whilst the pressure is mounting on Harbhajan to shrug off his recent slump and return to the form he showed before the Champions Trophy.

For Australia, there are fewer concerns, although the absence of Michael Clarke will probably necessitate some tinkering with the batting order. Most of the side will be familiar with Indian conditions through IPL and more recently Champions League experience, although the fatigue factor after exertions in the latter may come into play with regard to the likes of Brett Lee.

Although those Aussies who played for NSW in the Champions League will be a little on the tired side, I would expect Australia to have the upper hand in the series unless India significantly up their game. The hosts’ poor showing at the Champions Trophy has cast doubt on their ambitions to be the worlds’ best.

Read Full Post »

  • New South Wales, who had probably been the best team in the competition up to that point (and who may yet win the thing) were made to look foolish by Kieron Pollard when they should have cruised to victory. Could this be an Australian side choking?

Read Full Post »

Part two of the Twenty20 Champions League Preview:

  • The Bangalore Royal Challengers have almost as many South Africans in their squad as the sides representing that country (even without the injured Kevin Pietersen). Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn all feature, whilst Rahul Dravid demonstrated in this year’s IPL that there’s a role for him in Twenty20 cricket which doesn’t simply involve driving down the run-rate.
  • Somerset‘s preparation has been dominated by Marcus Trescothick’s return to India, with some of the coverage seemingly willing him to suffer a breakdown. Assuming all is well with Trescothick, he and Justin Langer make an experience opening pair, with possible future ‘England’ wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter also capable of making quick runs. It’s difficult to assess how well the English sides will do, but at first glance it seems a mighty task for Somerset to win the tournament.
  • Sussex have a reasonably balanced side which was impressive during the English domestic Twenty20 Cup, with the batting of Michael Yardy and Ed Joyce and the bowling of James Kirtley particular highlights, with Luke Wright and to some extent Yasir Arafat capable both of adding runs and taking wickets at crucial moments. The side may struggle against some of the millionaire IPL teams, but perhaps greater experience of Twenty20 cricket will count in their favour.
  • Trinidad & Tobago are arguably considerably stronger than the side which is representing the West Indies at the moment, with Dwayne Bravo one of the stars of the (now presumably defunct) Stanford 20/20 competition alongside spinner Dave Mohammed, and with Windies wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin also in the side.
  • Wayamba have the experience of Mahela Jayawardene and the magic of Mendis. The latter will most likely bamboozle a number of players who are missing international experience, although he didn’t quite live up to his billing for Kolkatta in the IPL. The side look more like dark horses than front-runners, but, as I’ve already said, anything could happen over 20 overs.
  • Victoria might suffer for the loss of Dirk Nannes, but David Hussey and Brad Hodge have the class to make an impact with the bat. Bryce McGain has another chance to make an impact outside of Australia following his disappointing Test ‘career’.

Read Full Post »

Club cricket takes a new turn this week with the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League. Here’s a brief run-down of the sides involved:

  • The Cape Cobras, although without the injured Graeme Smith, will still have plenty of firepower with JP Duminy and Herschelle Gibbs the main threats. The lack of access to the large pool of overseas talent that the IPL teams will enjoy could be an issue, though, as could a lack of familiarity with subcontinental conditions from the non-internationals amongst the squad.
  • The Deccan Chargers boast a wealth of talent, with Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Chaminda Vaas and Scott Styris all in the squad alongside Indian players of the quality of Laxman and RP Singh. One of the IPL sides will be expected to win the competition, and the Chargers will certainly fancy their chances.
  • The Delhi Daredevils pulled off a coup in securing Dirk Nannes‘ services for the tournament, and some of his fellow Victorians may be cursing that decision on Friday when he could well open the bowling against the Australian side. Meanwhile, Gambhir, Sehwag and Dilshan could be an irresistable top order combination if they all hit form. The loss of Paul Collingwood to injury is unlikely to be felt too deeply (except by Collingwood himself, who has ‘a little niggle in his buttock’, no less).
  • The Eagles are on paper the weakest team in the competition, but the likes of Dillon du Preez and Ryan McLaren have overseas experience, and Twenty20 competitions have proved ripe for surprising results in the past, so they shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • New South Wales could upset the IPL hegemony, with the likes of Simon Katich and the famously big-hitting David Warner providing the runs, whilst Stuart Clark, Nathan Hauritz and Brett Lee will be a potent attack. If the problems which the Australian national side had in the World Twenty20 can be overcome, then NSW could be heading home with some silverware to go with their international players’ natty new white jackets.
  • Otago‘s chief asset, as ever, is the power-hitting of Brendon McCullum, but brother Nathan can also contribute. Dimitri Mascarenhas, available as neither Hampshire nor Rajasthan have qualified, has a strong track record in this format with both bat and ball, and is a strong addition to the squad.

Read Full Post »

After making his Victoria debut at the ripe old age of 29, going missing in Middlesex and briefly going Dutch, Dirk Nannes is set to establish himself as a key part of Australia’s One Day attack. Having made his ODI debut yesterday in Australia’s demolition of Scotland, ‘Dirty’ Dirk will be looking to make an impact in the two Twenty20 matches against England in Manchester, and he certainly has the pedigree to do so given his success in the Twenty20 Cup with Middlesex and in the IPL with Delhi.

Of course, I’m hoping he’s on the losing side on Sunday (assuming the fabled Manchester climate allows enough play for a result ), but seeing him in the flesh will be special.

Read Full Post »

Sussex and Somerset are on their way to the Champions League after reaching the final of the Twenty20 Cup, with Sussex also being crowned champions for the first time after scoring an impressive 172 in the final.

The rewards on offer in India will dwarf the £50,000 or so that the winning county earns from the domestic competition, as well as providing a ‘shop window’ for players seeking the riches on offer in the IPL.

Read Full Post »

There has been a lot of talk recently about the rise of Twenty20 freelancers, with Andrew Symonds and Andrew Flintoff both being linked speculatively with the idea of wandering Twenty20 specialists playing in four or five different countries’ domestic Twenty20 competitions a year rather than playing for their country.

Kevin Pietersen is the latest player to be linked with this idea (some less kind commentators may suggest that he has already displayed what some would call a mercenary approach in his move from South Africa to England), with PCA chief executive Sean Morris predicting “the day of the freelance cricketer with players turning down England contracts” in favour of the money on offer as ‘marquee’ players in overseas leagues.

There has been an interesting development on this front in New Zealand, with six Black Caps players agreeing new contracts which effectively surrender some of their IPL income. Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor all agreed deals with New Zealand Cricket following a  delay whilst”scheduling conflicts between the … international programme and the IPL were clarified“. Unless some wide-ranging agreement is reached between national boards to compensate one another for the conflicts which arise between players’ commitments to overseas leagues and their national (and domestic) sides, this is a story which looks unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Read Full Post »

When Twenty20 cricket was first gaining its popularity, people said things like ‘oh, that sounds like the sort of thing Shahid Afridi would like – he scores runs at a ridiculous rate whilst holding defensive shots in the contempt they deserve‘ (as it was put in the Guardian, he “bats with the foolhardy panache of all three musketeers rolled into one“). When the first IPL auction came around, the Deccan Chargers agreed, shelling out $675,000 for his services.

His first season in the IPL wasn’t that impressive, though, and at the time he made more headlines with his complaints about the cheerleaders being “distracting” than with his cricket.

South Africa have felt the full force of Afridi’s aggression, however, in the World Twenty20 semi-final. As well as blasting 51 from 34 balls, he took an impressive 2 for 16 from 4 overs with the ball to help his side qualify for Sunday’s final.

Whatever happens on Sunday, Afridi has confirmed what we already knew – after all these years, he’s still full of surprises.

Read Full Post »

New Zealand beat India in their recent warm-up match for this tournament, which is bound to raise hopes that the Black Caps will pose a real challenge. Brendon McCullum is perhaps the archetypal Twenty20 batsman (as he showed in his dramatic introduction to the IPL last year), and Daniel Vettori and Jacob Oram are both top-class bowlers in the short format, so anything is possible, but it would still be quite a shock if New Zealand were to take home the trophy.

Scotland’s preparations for the competition have been hit by John Blain’s walk-out, and the Saltires’ fortunes in general have been on a downward curve for the last four years. Gavin Hamilton (who has played Test cricket) is still around, but there seems little hope for Scotland to win a match in the tournament, especially given the group they find themselves in.

South Africa are now the top-ranked ODI team in the world, and have beaten Australia twice in their last two T20 Internationals, but their reputation as ‘chokers’ hasn’t yet been entirely shaken off. The recent emergence of the likes of JP Duminy and Morecambe’s own Wayne Parnell – along with the experience of players such as Kallis, Steyn and Smith – may prove enough for the Saffers to finally get their hands on an ICC trophy.

Read Full Post »

Australia, as in any competition in any form of cricket, are amongst the favourites, but they are nowhere near as highly rated as usual. Most of the impressive Aussie performances in this year’s IPL were from players retired from international cricket or not included in the national team. Of course, there are enough top-quality players in the side to beat anyone else on their day, but a tough draw and the distraction of the upcoming Ashes may mean that this is not the Australia that usually turns up and dominates international tournaments.

The West Indies were disappointing in the last tournament, but given their captain’s recently-expressed view on the merits of Twenty20 cricket, they should presumably put in more of an effort this time around. If Gayle, Chanderpaul and Bravo all live up to their billing, then the Windies will be a force to reckon with, but none of them performed well in either  the Tests or the ODI series against England, so the pressure is on.

Sri Lanka will be playing their first international cricket since the team fell victim to a terrorist attack when on tour in Pakistan, and hopes will be high that the country can make headlines for the right reasons. Players like Kumar Sangakkara, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis are well-equipped for match-winning performances, and although the side has a tough draw, Sri Lanka could be the dark horses of the competition.

Read Full Post »

England have always struggled for balance and stability in their Twenty20 side, particularly at the top of the order, and the absence of Andrew Flintoff seems likely to exacerbate those struggles, as does the fact that the Test and 50-over captain does not feature in the squad for this tournament. Home advantage may be valuable, however, and in any case the team can hardly do worse than in 2007- in that tournament, England managed only a single victory (over Zimbabwe) .

The Netherlands qualified along with Ireland and Scotland, with Ryan ten Doeschate and Peter Borren impressing in the qualifying tournament. Added to those players for the finals is Dirk Nannes, a Twenty20 specialist who has ‘gone Dutch’ after continually missing out on selection for Australia. Progress to the Super Eight stage seems unlikely, but a surprise result against England (or even Pakistan) isn’t out of the question.

Pakistan are highly fancied to go one better than in 2007 and win the tournament. Their T20 International record is the best around. The exclusion of Pakistani players from this season’s IPL may have been a blessing in disguise, as it has given the national side plenty of time together to train (and has allowed the week-long RBS cup to become a sort of intensive private rehearsal for the players who would otherwise have been in South Africa).

Read Full Post »

Kevin Pietersen has, presumably half-jokingly, admitted that he’s not very good at something. The fact that KP is capable of articulating the idea that he isn’t amazing at everything will be shocking enough in itself to some, but that’s not all – the thing he’s not great at is cricket.

“I’m not very good at Twenty20 cricket”, Pietersen told the Mirror (the English tabloid paper, that is, rather than the reflective surface – I imagine that his comments to the latter are more along the lines of ‘hey there, looking good’). Presumably, the Bangalore Royal Challengers, who paid more than $1.5m for Pietersen in the second IPL auction only to see him dramatically underperform, would agree.

KP has a history of odd pronouncements. He previously called Twenty20 ‘a silly game with silly shots’, which is doubly strange given his well-documented predilection for unorthordox shots of his own. It’s also worth remembering that this is the man who made a resignation statement containing the phrase “I wish to make it very clear that I did not resign as captain of the England cricket team this morning“.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »