Tuesday, May 12, 2009

IPL 2: Un-performances: Games 21 to 40

Game 21: Deccan Chargers vs. Delhi Daredevils

DD make heavy weather of their chase, but manage to bring the requirement down to 38 off 24 balls. Not impossible considering the in-form TM Dilshan and the ever-pesky Dinesh Karthik are settled in. This is when Adam Gilchrist throws the ball back to part-timer Venugopal Rao. Rao had just bowled a useful first over for only three runs, but you get a feeling that now is the time for the gentle seamers of Dwayne Smith, but Adam Gilchrist thinks otherwise. And he is left to rue his decision as DD plunder 17 runs off Rao, and thus walk away with the match.

Game 22 – Chennai Super Kings vs. Rajasthan Royals

A revenge match of sorts this is for CSK against last year’s winners RR. And they are going along steadily, reaching 120 for 4 off 17 overs. Not quite overwhelming, but not bad considering the conditions and RR’s relatively thin batting. Shane Warne’s new hero Kamran Khan comes on to bowl over no. 18. Four legal deliveries later, he limps off after conceding 21 runs. Leaving Dwayne Smith to bowl two deliveries, including a free hit. That’s the end of the game as a contest.

Game 23 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Mumbai Indians

It has been the story of this IPL, KKR contriving to lose from all sorts of situations. And with many contributors to their loss, it is difficult to identify match-changing un-performances. In this game, what stands out is Brendom McCullum’s confidence in his own batting form, coming in to bat at No. 6, after Laxmi Ratan Shukla. It is a bigger shocker than Sourav Ganguly’s first ball duck.

Game 24 – King’s XI Punjab vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore

You take a hat-trick with your donkey drops and then make a 50 off 34 balls in a chase of 146, and your team still loses. Who would Yuvraj Singh blame? Yusuf Abdulla for conceding 21 runs off his third over (after going for just six in his first two)? The bigger turning point to my mind was the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene. KXP need just 30 runs off 18 balls with seven wickets intact, a position from which even KKR would’ve fancied their chances. But Jayawardene tries one shot too many and holes out, the rest of the KXP team panic and they fall short by eight runs.

Game 25 – Deccan Chargers vs. Rajasthan Royals

Forget the result, forget the fielding lapses towards the end, the un-moment of this game is the decision that sent Lee Carseldine back to the dug-out. Ever heard of anyone being dismissed bat before wicket? And then there is the man of the match decision. Not Abhishek Raut?

Game 26 – Chennai Super Kings vs. Delhi Daredevils

There must a reason elders advice us not to look the gift horse in the mouth. Well as the CSK spinners bowl, DD is still in a good position after the 17th over, needing 36 to win in 3 overs with Dinesh Karthik going well. Karthik goes for a big heave off the first ball of the 18th, but manages to find the fielder. Luckily for him, Badrinath muffs the chance. Considering he got his boundary off the first ball, you would expect Karthik to use a bit of discretion? No, he chances his arm again, but finds a more sure-footed Muralitharan. Game over for DD.

Game 27 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs. King’s XI Punjab

Not one, not two, but so many spilled catches and missed run-outs – KKR looking absolutely abysmal on the field. The last-ball finish suggests a tightness that wasn’t quite there. This was a match of un-moments for KKR.

Game 28 – Mumbai Indians vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore

The un-moment of this game probably belonged to all those commentators and their pre-match predictions. Who would’ve predicted RCB would steamroll MI so brutally? A nine-wicket victory with 11 balls to spare? Come on now, stop dreaming.

Game 29 – Chennai Super Kings vs. Deccan Chargers

It’s a game that almost sent Sivamani into depression as the clatter of wickets either side of DC’s 4th wicket partnership is so loud it almost drowns out his drum beats.

Game 30 – King’s XI Punjab vs. Rajasthan Royals

The game KXP lost in the first over. Yuvraj imagines that he best captains by blindly following the moves of the more cerebral leaders. So he opens the bowling with spin, in the form of the portly Ramesh Powar. Six balls and sixteen runs later, there is going to be only one winner in this game.

Game 31 – Delhi Daredevils vs. Kolkata Knight Riders

Another non-fielding day for KKR, and they snapped pretty early in their defence of a rather respectable 154. Ishant Sharma’s second over goes for 17, with shoddy fielding displays from Sourav Ganguly and Ashok Dinda neatly complementing three boundary deliveries. Dinda is so upset he goes for a six off the first ball of the next over and KKR is in familiar territory all over again.

Game 32 – Deccan Chargers vs. Mumbai Indians

Concede a hat-trick to Rohit Sharma, and how are you likely to feel?

Game 33 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Rajasthan Royals

If you lose to RR without Yusuf Pathan playing any role of significance, then you must’ve played really badly. Summed up by the dismissal of Rahul Dravid, caught down the leg-side off the glove for a duck. Coming as it did in the middle of a slide, it only hastened RCB’s collapse.

Game 34 – Chennai Super Kings vs. King’s XI Punjab

You may call it MS Dhoni’s moment, but I choose to call it KXP’s un-moment. They have just smashed Albie Morkel for 19 runs in an over and need a tough but gettable 43 off 24 balls, with Yuvraj Singh and Mahela Jayawardene at the crease. Dhoni tosses the ball to Suresh Raina, and the KXP heavyweights manage just four singles in the over. The game has swung decisively this time.

Game 35 – Delhi Daredevils vs. Mumbai Indians

A sorry total of 116 all out in 20 overs, two wickets in the first over including a run-out, all this was preceded by Mumbai’s big mis-move – Sachin Tendulkar not opening the innings. By betraying his lack of confidence (in himself as also in his middle-order), he also exposes the in-form JP Duminy up at the top. If ever proof was needed that Sachin is not a great captain…

Game 36 – Deccan Chargers vs. King’s XI Punjab

The man who came back. And scored a potentially match-winning 60 not out off 36 balls. And turned the match by conceding 20 runs off his solitary over. Andrew Symonds does take long to make this list.

Game 37 – Chennai Super Kings vs. Rajasthan Royals

It is a rather sedate game, the two champion teams boxing from the margins, more playing each other’s captains than the situation or the conditions. RR score a moderate 140 off their 20 overs. CSK chase steadily, inching up to a situation where they need 44 off 30 balls. Gettable, but by no means a done deal. The other Shane, Harwood, then delivers the killer punch. He runs into an unusually aggressive Badrinath, concedes 20 runs off the over, and hands the game over to CSK.

Game 38 – Mumbai Indians vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore

Chasing a challenging but gettable 158 to win, RCB are never in the race. That they score more than ten runs off an over only three times (and the third of these was the 16 in the last over when they required 33) in the entire innings sum up their approach. And then they have a problem if people call them a test team.

Game 39 – Delhi Daredevils vs. Kolkata Knight Riders

I don’t remember what happened in this game. Does anyone watch KKR matches nowadays?

Game 40 – Deccan Chargers vs. Rajasthan Royals

It is a comfortable victory for DC in the end, but for a large part of the game when DC is batting, the game is evenly poised. At the end of 17 overs, they are 130 for 5, not disastrous but hardly imposing either. One more wicket could’ve meant a chase of about 150 for RR. Siddharth Trivedi comes in, Venugopal Rao pulls a short one, Abhishek Raut misfields, a boundary results. The over goes for 17 and DC motor away to 166, a decisive score in the ultimate analysis.