Posts Tagged ‘mumbai indians’

The IPL is getting towards the business end now, but who’s going to win it? Cast your vote below.

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Kings XI Punjab
Punjab have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, having added only Jerome Taylor, Ravi Bopara, and the previously obscure Burt Cockley. Sarwan has departed – having apparently only been on a one-year contract – and a number of key players will only play part of the season (Shaun Marsh, Brett Lee and James Hopes are all likely to be called away by Australia).

As with last season, much will rest on the shoulders of Yuvraj, who will be expected to provide batting pyrotechnics every time he plays. If he can find form whilst the Australians are unavailable, and Marsh can continue his impressive form from last year, then the Kings XI are capable of mounting a strong challenge.

Kolkata Knight Riders
The KKRs build-up has been dominated by talk of multiple or rotating captains, but the unusual situation has partly arisen out of the fact that the side has so many top-class players at its disposal. Chris Gayle is made for Twenty20 cricket, as is Brendon McCullum (who should be available for the whole season). David Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Ajantha Mendis will probably only play cameo roles, but home-grown talents such as Cheteshwar Pujara will be available throughout.

Sole auction signing Mashrafe Mortaza probably won’t alter the balance of the side much, but Umar Gul’s bowling will be missed, putting a lot of pressure on Ishant Sharma.

Mumbai Indians
A disappointing start last time around saw Mumbai fail to make the play-offs, and the Sreesanth slapping incident stirred controversy. He’s out with an injury, so discipline may be less of an issue in 2009. Dwayne Bravo’s recent form has been impressive, suggesting that he will be a key player with both bat and ball, and the additions of JP Duminy and Graham Napier should boost the batting.

Zaheer Khan has also come in for Robin Uthappa, whilst a number of the overseas players can offer something with both bat and ball, leaving the side well-balanced in the middle order. Harbhajan has so far failed to impress in Twenty20 cricket, but is likely to feature throughout.

Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan confounded a lot of people’s expectations with their victory last season, but key player Shane Watson could miss much of the 2009 season due to international call-ups. Tyron Henderson comes in as cover, but the lack of big-name players (Graeme Smith’s recovery from injury may also prove more costly for the Royals now that they have lost the element of surprise.

Rajasthan, of course, are nominally my team, so all the best to them.

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Andre Nel (and, presumably, Gunt(h)er) has retired from international cricket. Cricinfo describes him as “a rambunctious and wholehearted cricketer“. The BBC have in the past given him the accolade of “cricket’s craziest man“. I would describe him, after careful consideration, as ‘properly mental‘.

Nel’s last Test appearance was Kevin Pietersen’s debut as England captain in August 2008, but the latter stages of his Test career were also associated with the controversial quota system operated by Cricket South Africa.

The good news for Nel-lovers in the UK is that Andre will be featuring for Surrey as a Kolpak player (I suppose Gunter has a German passport).

He will also be featuring for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, where his lack of international commitments in the future (and undoubted box-office value as bonus entertainment) will surely make him a prized asset.

With luck, his retirement from the international game will leave plenty of time for honing his ‘Frustration’ skills.

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The IPL trading window is about to close, and what is likely to be the biggest transfer (at least until the auction, when England’s players will be available) has just gone through. The Mumbai Indians have traded Robin Uthappa to the Bangalore Royal Challengers in exchange for Zaheer Khan. The deal reunites each player with his ‘normal’ domestic side.

No money changed hands, which suggests the players are of roughly equal worth. But which team got the better end of the deal?

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One of the interesting ramifications of Kevin Pietersen’s departure from the England captaincy is the prospect of an extended participation from the ‘uppity bok‘ in the second season of the IPL.

Pietersen, along with the rest of the England squad, is yet to sign his central contract, and the recent events in England have been very closely followed by a number of IPL franchises. He would certainly be one of the most attractive, if not the most attractive, English player in terms of sponsorship for any of the IPL teams, which could be a crucial factor.

Bangalore Royal Challengers are, according to Cricinfo, amongst those who have expressed an interest in signing Pietersen for next season, as are the Mumbai Indians. The mouth-watering prospect of KP sharing time at the crease with the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul or Sachin Tendulkar is likely to be more than enough to excite and interest cricket fans the world over.

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Virender Sehwag‘s been in some phenomenal form recently, and he has continued in the same vein by scoring 94 from 41 balls (youtube here) for the Dehli Daredevils in their 9-wicket win over the Deccan Chargers, including 30 runs from the penultimate over.

The result means Dehli are two for two, and hence level on points with the Knight Riders. Chennai could join them at the top if they beat Mumbai tomorrow. Not that it really matters at this stage, but this post would have been really short if I hadn’t mentioned it.

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The IPL is probably the most extravagantly marketed cricket competition in the history of the world. Each team has their own Music Video, for example. Yes, really.

The Knight Riders, for example, are apparently “too hot, too cool“, which suggests they need to sort out their haphazard air conditioning post haste.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Indians’ effort is straight out of the bollywood version of West Side Story, but with a human pyramid.

From what I can gather, this song of tribute to the Royal Challengers is unofficial, but it is either the best or worst thing I ever seen, or maybe both.

For fans of incongruous cricket-based song and dance routines (or even ‘passionate’ yet ‘hospitable’ fans of the team), the Kings XI Punjab video is another treat.

As for the team I’m supporting, the limited budget only ran to cardboard cut-outs.

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