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Friday, May 10, 2019

Vizag focus - will CSK beat DC ?


Crores of people would get hooked to the action at Vizag today !

Visakhapatnam (Vizag) is a beautiful port city located amidst the Eastern Ghats and the coast of the Bay of Bengal.   Visakhapatnam's history stretches back to the 6th century BCE, when it was considered a part of the Kalinga Kingdom, and later ruled by the Vengi, the Pallava and Eastern Ganga dynasties. Its control passed to the British in 1804 and it remained under British colonial rule until India's independence in 1947.  It is also known as Waltair.  Waltair, is the colonial British name of Vishakapatnam. To be specific it was the name of the first railway station instituted as a Military Station in 1883. Another station at East Coast Railway was formed in 1893 - ten years later.

Today is the crunch game of IPL – CSK Vs DC – CSK a team of wise old people and DC of sprightly youth.  There have been conundrums in selection and team composition.  M Vijay played the first game this season as an opener and top-scored with 38 when Super Kings folded for 109 chasing 156 against Mumbai Indians. In his second game, also against Mumbai in the first qualifier, Vijay batted at No. 4, having come in as a replacement for Kedar Jadhav. Once again, he did a decent job given the conditions, but is there merit in playing him in the middle order again when he essentially played the same role that Ambati Rayudu could also have played? Only four of Vijay's 158 IPL innings have been as a non-opener, and he's made 45 runs in total, performances that are far removed from his record as an opener. Super Kings have often not needed to bat deep this season when MS Dhoni comes in, so if they've lost faith in Dhruv Shorey as a middle-order batsman, there may be a case to bring in someone like Karn Sharma, who offers both a better strike rate late in the innings and an extra spin-bowling option on a sticky wicket.

Carrying on from the Vijay question, there is another more alluring possibility: Mitchell Santner. Santner has emerged as a potent finisher in limited-overs cricket over the last 18 months and even finished the job for Super Kings against Rajasthan Royals this season. He offers the same skill set as Karn, but is arguably the much better option. One limitation with the Santner route, of course, is that he's an overseas player. More significantly, Super Kings would have to think about dropping Shane Watson, something they have consistently avoided this season even as the batsman has gone through a prolonged run of bad form. Watson has unflattering numbers against the Capitals spinners: an average of 14.4 against Amit Mishra, who has dismissed him five times in 11 innings, and an average of 6.7 against Axar Patel, who has dismissed him five times in six innings.

Will they finally be convinced to leave him out, so that Vijay could stay on in the opening role? The last time a similar question was asked, the answer was a negative.

Delhi Capitals looked like they had done it again. Thrown it away, that is. They needed 12 from 12 with Rishabh Pant and Sherfane Rutherford at the crease. Ten balls on, it was two in two, and Trent Boult had just walked out to join Keemo Paul.  The Delhi has many youngsters prominent being Shreyas Iyer, Rishab Pant and Prithvi Shaw.   Shaw is one of 12 players who are under 25 years of age in the Capitals' squad. If we make that under 26, then he's one of 14 players in that bracket, in a squad of 24. It is no secret now that youth investment is the hill that the Capitals have chosen to die on. It was a decision born when they were still the Daredevils a few years ago. Rarely has a team been able to transform on the fly over 11 years of the IPL. Sunrisers Hyderabad, of course, were born from the ashes of Deccan Chargers and have now carved their identity despite joining the league late.

MS Dhoni is master of the endgame: 213 of his 405 runs this season have come from overs 18 to 20. Chris Morris is good at the death too: ten of his 13 wickets this IPL have come in overs 16 to 20. Rishabh Pant always had the big-hitting thing down but now he's starting to finish games. But for some reason, he hadn't hit a six on the off side against fast bowling until last night. CSK's spinners have taken 55 wickets this IPL, the most by a team in a single season. And it hasn't been a one-man show either: Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja have all picked up 12-plus wickets.

The average score in Vizag in T20Is and IPL matches since 2013 is 148. And based on the Eliminator, spin could play a big part: economy rate of 6 as opposed to 9.6 for fast bowling.. let us see who wins today ~ of course, we would be backing CSK

With regards –  S. Sampthkumar
10.5.2019.

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