Friday, May 29, 2009

IPL2 Final and memories of 1992

Recent victory of Deccan Chargers in IPL2 brought memories of 1992 World Cup final. The similarities are many. Chargers were fourth team in the semi-finalists of IPL2. So were Pakistan. Deccan were put in driver's seat by two in two of Symonds while Wasim did this trick for Pakistan. With me the analogy does not ends here. Pakistan managed to sneak into semi-finals by an improbable victory against New Zealand through exploits of young Inzy and got a favorable decision in their favor by victory of Australia over West Indies. Similarly, Deccan achieved an incredible victory over Knight Riders through genius of young blood Rohit Sharma and nervousness of Mortaza. They were also helped in their cause by Punjab failing to chase even at less than run-a-ball. These knock-out stages can shatter the rosy dreams of the best team in tournament. This is what happened to New Zealand in 1992 and now Delhi Daredevils must be more than just 'disappointed'. 

Once one of my teachers said "Life is not fair". Very true, indeed  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ICC World Twenty20 favorites

I am bored with the IPL though not with Twenty20 and hence waiting for World Cup of which India is the first winner. However, this time it is going to be very difficult for India to retain the trophy. I have not read any preview about this tournament thanks to the IPL tamasha. So, I take risk and go public with my favorites in this tournament.Link

1. Pakistan Surprised! Yes Pakistanis are good at surprising their fans and critics alike. However I rate them as my favorites after watching them play in UAE against Aussies. They have wonderful attack in Akhtar, Gul, Tanvir, Ajmal and Afridi. Shoaib Malik gives them extra options. Afridi is in form of his life as far as bowling is concerned while Tanvir is very good in T20 and Gul was superb against Oz. In batting they have unlikely hero in Akmal who is is in sublime form while Misbah remains the danger man for oppositions. Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik provide impetus while Younis Khan provides stability. My only concern is that Younis doesn't get very slow in starting as he does in ODIs. In this format there is very little time to settle.

2. South Africa This is an all star squad but i keep them on number two due to their 'choking' abilities. Smithy, Gibbsy, AB, JP, Albie Morkel and Boucher form backbone of a very strong batting line-up. While Steyn, Botha, Abdulla, Morne form a strong bowling unit with options in Peterson, Kallis and van der Merwe.

3. India They too have a bunch of seven dangerous hard-hitters in Gambhir, Sehwag, Raina, Yuvi, Dhoni, Pathan and Jadeja. However, their bowling attack looks thin on paper. Zaheer doesn't seem to bowl as well in T20 as he does in other forms. Ishant and Praveen look clueless when under attack. RP Singh though looks good and with his experience of English conditions could prove to be India's trump card. Both Harbhajan and Ojha look good. Their biggest concern will be form of Viru and Gauti.

4. Australia Two years back every tournament had this team as favorite. Not now. Though they have lost sting of Haydos and Gilly, they still have in their ranks Symonds, Hussey brothers, Warner and Watson who can score runs pretty quickly. Along with Punter, Clarke and Haddin they form a pretty strong batting line-up. However, their bowling attack looks weak at least to me. I am not sure Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Hauritz will bowl as well as they did in other formats recently.

5. New Zealand They don't have menacing stars except for perhaps McCullum but the way they combine as a team they can scare low rung teams and can on their day upset 'big four'. Ryder, McCullum and Taylor can provide the fireworks so much needed in this format while Mills and Oram along with miserly bespectacled skipper Vettori can stem the flow of runs against any team. Others though look ordinary.

6. West Indies Gayle, Sarwan, Shiv, Ramdin and Bravo can get runs for them and at quick pace but the rest will struggle in English conditions. Similarly bowling relies too much on Fiddy and Taylor. With Taylor not looking in best of forms it is going to be tough days ahead for them in this tournament.

7. Sri Lanka Their bowling remains their strength with Malinga, Murli, Tushara and Maharoof along with Mendis (if he plays). However, their batting looks iffy with only Sangakkara and Dilshan looking threatening although Jayasuriya and Jayawardhane can also do some serious damage. The last two have not been consistent and the injury lay-off of Jayawerdene is not going to help.

Others in contention are England and Bangladesh. To be honest I have more hopes from Bangladesh.