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Monday, May 23, 2011

Rayudu’s pull to glory – and the ‘Kapil in need of Maths’ cricitism of Rajan Bala

The IPL version 4 is into its last leg.  70 matches have been completed with some new talent surfacing – albeit none qualified for the depleted Indian squad to West Indies. Yesterday there were two matches – the results being irrelevant by some account.  All the 4 had qualified for the next leg : CSK, RCB, KKR and Mumbai Indians – with the spots to be decided, it was still great entertainment.  In Cricket, it is not the team which scores most that wins (!) – but always the team, which can contain the opponent to less than what they could score.  King XI Punjab scored the maximum in the tournament aggregating 2224 in 14 but still stands eliminated.  The topper RcB scored 1962 only.

IPL has had it all -  high cost procurement of overseas players – some only warming the benches and some not performing, glitz of colour, uniforms, promotion material and team owners displaying emotions, high quality TV coverage, prematch discussions, TV ratings, cheer leaders with their share of controversies, late night parties, security at venue, jazz music at venue and more….  many not sport related..

CSK had capitulated all too easily to RCB though Dhoni played a majestic innings with some sheer power and class to exhibit. At Chinnaswamy Stadium, Daniel Vettori who has had little to do so far won the toss and put CSK in to bat and succeeded with early dismissals of Hussey, Murali Vijay, Raina, Badrinath.  Saha provided little flourish before Dhoni whalloped them to respectability.   Even in the heartland of Mallaya, India Cement sponsored team had its followers but the paltry score of 128 was never going to be enough especially with Chris Gayle on the rampage.  Gayle now has 511 runs much more in his 9 matches than the others in 14 matches.  The first play off will be on Tuesday.

For those of you not familiar with the new format : it is not Semi finals – 4 teams RCB, CSK, MI & KKR have qualified in that order – the first play off would be between RCB &CSK ; the second would be between KKR & MI.  RCB / CSK winner will proceed to finals; loser will play the winner of KKR / MI.  The loser of the match 3 would still qualify for the Champions League; the finals will then be held between the winner of the First match and the winner of the third match.  By all means : RCB / CSK with two wins would clinch the title; for the rest, 3 wins are required to clinch.

Too much of cricket one might scream – it would be unfair if some of the star performers are forgotten after this version – which is likely to happen !  Valthaty has revelled with some great innings.  In a game of sloggers, Rahul Sharma  who has had problems with his vision came out flying with wicket taking capacity coupled with economy.  There have been some other good bowling performances by the likes of  Varun Aaron, Arvind, Jaidev Unadkat, Amit Misra, Iqbal Abdulla, Ashwin….

Some teams have fully exploited and relished the home advantage – some had their moments of distress.  Shane Warne has been fined a huge US$50,000 by the BCCI but was spared a ban for his public spat with Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) secretary Sanjay Dixit over changing of pitches in Jaipur during the IPL. The pitch used for that game, and the previous one against Chennai Super Kings, was different from the one Warne's team had enjoyed a strong home advantage on.

With 383 runs and smart keeping skills, Ambati Rayudu still could not make it to the team to Windies.  But Sunday night he had reasons to celebrate, doing a Javed Miandad – the Press did differently.The newspaper reports blamed Balaji for the poor over and even wrote of the throw that Sreevats Goswami did on the last ball of the penultimate over which allowed an extra run and allowed Franklin the strike. A target of 176 was felt good enough for a win – Bhaji surprised everybody by coming in at no.3 and scoring some runs.  The run rate was soaring and Kieron Pollard was looked upon as the potent match winner.    After 3 quarters, MI needed 66 off 30 balls.  The 17th was bowled by Brett Lee : 2,2,1W, 1,1W,0,1,1 – 44 off 18.  Still one favoured KKR to win.  The first ball of over no. 18 went for a four; the third ball Balaji sent the leg stump of Pollard wheeling.  Rayudu came in and the sixth ball went soaring over extra cover for a 6. 

MI require 30 off 12.  Lee came charging in bowled a tight over giving away 9 runs and 21 required off the final.  In fact the last ball, Rayudu trying to glance ran a leg bye and Goswami conceded an extra with the direct hit.   Balaji had figures of 1 for 28 off 2 overs.  First ball, Franklin got an outside edge for four; 2nd went off the top edge over the keeper for 4, 3rd a good shot in extra cover region  and 4th another full toss – another edge for 4.  [4 fours and 3 not to the intended region – you sympathise with Balaji ?]  more was to follow.  5th was played for a single.

From 21 off 6 – it was 5 off 2 and 4 off one.  Rayudu to face.  Gambhir, Balaji and everybody else discussed and Balaji ran in only to bowl another full toss swung high and dry over deep square for another six by Rayudu.  MI had won, drawing comparisons to that six by Javed Miandad off Chetan Sharma which haunted Indians for too long. 

Well, if you remember history – around 20 required off last two, Kapil came on to bowl the 49th – controlled things giving away only 5 runs, Chetan bowled the last over and off the last ball Javed Miandad hit a six of a full toss making it a night mare for Chetan, Kapil and Indians. 

The Press seethed with anger on Kapil and Rajan Bala wrote ‘Kapil in need of Maths tuition’.  Gross injustice – if only Chetan had bowled the penultimate perhaps the last over would have been a simple affair with Pak needing something less than 6 or perhaps there would not have been need for one.  Kapil was always a sitting target; anyway history cannot be rewritten by ‘ifs and butts’.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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