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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Australian Tour 2nd Test - India lose Brisbane test, so?

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Statistician Mohandas Menon has an interesting tweet in the morning today

During this series, India have lost wickets by the dozen

  • Adelaide Test
    • 77/6 in 22.4 overs
    • 73/8 in 18.1 overs
  • Brisbane Test
    • 87/6 in 24.1 overs
    • 148/9 in 38.3 overs
This batting slump has overcome the good start provided by the batsmen like Vijay (again) and Rahane, Kohli failed this test match after his twin centuries while Dhawan came well in the second innings. Rohit Sharma, Chet Pujara and MS Dhoni would do well to introspect further on their game and see where they have to improve for the next test. In fact, I am not so sure if Rohit has to play the next test at all! Rohit has his list of chances but so far, nothing to prove his presence in the playing eleven. 

Murali Vijay played a great knock in the first innings - a knock that would rank high in Indian test cricket in terms of endurance and effectiveness. If only the Indian team could manage Mitchell Johnson better in the second innings, they could have inflicted a record defeat on the Aussies in the test match - look at the Aussie performance while chasing a paltry score. Definitely, another 60-70 runs on the board would have shaken them big time. 

Where the Indians faltered was during the first innings of the Australian innings. After getting the first six wickets, the Indian bowlers tried to repeat the dose that was given to Brad Haddin. Obviously, they couldnt deliver well and what happened was that the last four wickets doubled the score. This meant that the Australian team not only overtook the Indian team but also gained a healthy 97 run lead. Ishant Sharma as the pack leader should have guided his colleagues better. Maybe MSD should have put in a word when the match was slipping away. Maybe Ashwin was a better option to bowl at that time. The match moved away from India so fast that they were caught napping. 

The second innings saw the Indian bowlers grab few wickets and put doubts in the Aussie batsmen. They will try to leverage this for the next test match but the think-tank should definitely look to bringing back Bhuvi for Aaron and Raina for Rohit.

The margins of victory have been narrow than ever before - will the next match see the Indians strike a victory? Let us hope so.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Australian Tour 2014 1st Test - Same Result via different approach

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The Indian team encountered a familiar result at Adelaide Oval but the approach in which they played was different and refreshing. I mean only the captain and few other players because rest of the team looked to be still thinking what they need to do this series (e.g. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohd. Shami).

Kohli came out with his reputation enhanced, scoring more runs than what he did in the entire Englan series. His bowlers did not do him good in either innings, bowling wide and short. David Warner, especially, was given length to punish at will. The selection of Karn Sharma was supposed to be Kohli's personal choice - one fault that could be attributed as this meant Kohli did not have a spinner who could have potentially used the wearing wicket as well as an useful batsman down the order.

Dhoni will be back the next match but Kohli has shown that he leads the team just like he wears his emotions on  the sleeve - always on the lookout for an opening. If only the bowlers and batsmen fire in unison. Vijay supported him but Kohli missed Dhoni, the batsmen, as well. Remember that MSD was the leading batsmen during England series too. It is a good exercise for the batsmen and no doubt the pitches will get tougher now. The rescheduling helped the Indians start with a docile pitch first up - good way to get used to the conditions.

Ishant bowled well but he could not get the wickets that mattered. Aaron was fast but not consistent enough. Shami seems to be still struggling while Karn was not the right person for this test. The bowlers could not put together a partnership that could either restrict runs or take wickets. Can Umesh Yadav make a difference, compared to Shami? Might be a good choice to make alongwith bringing back Ashwin for Karn.

The next three tests will not be easy as this one. Can India pull one back? They can. If they bat, bowl, catch and field well. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

WI 2014 ODIs - India seal the farcical ODI series

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Farcical - that is the word one can use to describe the Windies 2014 ODIs. One match was washed out while the teams won one match each convincingly. When the series was poised for an interesting finish in the last two matches (one in the picturesque Dharamsala), the tour was called off. Not before the team played the last ODI (threatened to do so?).

Look at the image below from Cricinfo at the toss - the entire team came out to support the captain.

Considering the easy-going nature of the Windies (proof is the CLT20 celebration video with Bravo), it must have been a great injustice meted out to the team that caused the pull-out. Anyway, the match went on and the Indians won.

The script seemed to be skewed towards the team that was determined to do well against a team that did not have their 100% mind on the field. On a pitch that had true bounce, the Indians scored at more than run-a-ball (except Rahane who however scored a good fifty-plus score). Kohli did not look anything like his best but managed to score his 20th century (fastest to do so, faster than Sachin Tendulkar).

The Indian bowling was good with the exception of Shami and Jadeja who were expensive. Both the bowlers deserve rest from the forthcoming Sri Lanka ODIs (the original favorites are back to fill the void caused by the Windies pull-out). Axar Patel was an interesting selection (ahead of the surprise weapon Kuldeep Sharma) but he put in a performance that would have impressed Dhoni and Shastri (the two men who matter in Indian cricket).

The end to a tour that did not matter to the forthcoming World Cup. The replacement series actually makes sense now - does the BCCI work in this manner only? 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WI 2014 ODIs - India equalize series with amazing turnaround

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It was indeed an amazing turnaround at Delhi. India were close to another loss in the ODI series despite putting a decent score on the board.

On the batting front, India would have been happy to see Kohli's return of form (of course he was helped by the demotion in the batting order to a certain extent - he didnt have to play the new ball much here). Suresh Raina sparkled like he has been doing recently - his recent consistency has been amazing. Here, he continued the scoring when Kohli was settling down at the crease. The foundation laid was good for MSD to launch the final assault (71 in the last 10 overs). Virat, on the other hand, scored the same number of runs as Raina but needed a higher number of deliveries to do so. One cannot say that he was back to his form but he did all the right things to stay at the wicket and score a fifty. Dhoni did what he usually does - rotate the strike to keep the scorecard ticking and then launching into the bowling at the death.

Those who knew the Kotla wicket were aware of the low bounce that the pitch would offer for the chasing team. Dhoni knew it and the Windies were aware of the same. A good start by their openers meant that the Indian bowlers were on the backfoot. Amit Mishra was taken to the cleaners in the first ODI but here he came back with a vengeance. Despite conceding four sixes of his bowling, Mishra gave 16 more runs in his full quota but importantly scalping the important wicket of Pollard and Ramdin. Two maidens to Marlon Samuels meant that the Windies were strangled and the asking run-rate was growing. This led to Dwayne Smith's dismissal and then the wickets tumbled one after the other (eight wickets fell for 45 runs in less than 11 overs). Shami and Jadeja then came into the match, claiming regular wickets to hasten the end.

One-all and three matches to play. India will be expected to win now with the Windies tasting defeat and still hurting from the pay-issues. Let us see what happens next.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

WI 2014 ODIs - India start with a huge loss

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West Indies are the new Sri Lanka. Remember the times when Sri Lanka used to be playing India every other day? It is now West Indies and thus the latest tour has started with a set of ODIs. India A teams managed to easily defeat the tourists, just like how everyone had expected the ODI series to go. But, the result was not what everyone had expected!

Marlon Samuels was back to his favorite hunting ground - a country where he has scored tonnes of runs and an attack that he prefers any day. He made sure that this chance would not be lost. The Windies management had come up with bizarre pairing at the top where the IPL regular Dwaynes (Smith and Bravo) opened the batting. Though there was not much success at the top, Samuels and Ramdin exposed the Indian bowlers to the hilt. Runs were easy against a team that seemed to be still struggling to cope up. The Champions League had ended recently and thus the team was not gelling well.

The Indian bowlers (especially Ravinder Jadeja who has bowled 246 overs over the last year, Shami and Bhuvi) looked jaded and tired. Their bowling workload has been very high (without including the bowling in test matches) and they should be given the same treatment as Ashwin - a good rest. Otherwise, they will surely burn out. These three have the highest workload from Indian bowlers in all international matches, in fact.

The Indian batsmen were expected to chase down the target with ease. But, it was not to be. Why? A combination of factors. Though the openers started well, the subsequent batsmen failed to consolidate. Virat Kohli's poor form (and technique) continued here as well - the Windies pacemen had done their homework very well and his failure outside the off hampered the Indians. There were rare failures for MSD and Suresh Raina - this meant that the brittle lower order was exposed. The tail looked longer than normal in this match and when wickets fell early, the match was destined to end early.

Shikhar Dhawan was the lone bright spot in the Indian innings but he did not look comfortable in his stint at  the crease. Of course, from the rigors of the English tour (with tough pitches and expert bowlers), Dhawan would have relished the Windies bowling. With the bowlers not giving him enough width, Dhawan ensured that he gritted out to help his team chase.

Let us hope in the next set of matches, the Indian team will raise its form further and win the series.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

CLT20 2014 Finals - CSK halt the KKR juggernaut

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Thanks to Suresh Raina's blistering century, CSK chased down the target set by KKR who were themselves helped by Gambhir's return to form. Without Naraine, KKR were hampered badly in their bowling but that should not stop the praises for Raina's knock. The R-B chart has never  looked so evenly balanced for a 180+ score. Ever!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

CLT20 2014 - CSK take revenge on Kings XI Punjab

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CSK had their revenge (after being ousted in the IPL final this year) on Kings XI Punjab by thrashing them in their semifinal.

CLT20 2014 - KKR through to final

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KKR continued their winning streak by chasing down a relatively easy target against Hobart Hurricanes at Hyderabad

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CLT20 2014 - KKR make it 13 in a row

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KKR have been on a roll - 13 is the latest count. Thanks to Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey, they reached the semifinals without any big worry.

Monday, September 29, 2014

CLT20 2014 - Kings XI continue their allround performance

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Managing to clutch few wickets at the right time, Kings XI Punjab continued their roll. The world looks easy for the set of players who have been struggling in the initial six versions of the IPL seasons.