Friday 17 April 2009

Team Preview - Rajasthan Royals

Performance in IPL 2008 

The Royals were considered underdogs and after their drubbing in the opening game against Delhi, not many would have given them a chance. But that loss was only a minor blip in an otherwise hugely successful campaign. The Royals won 11 out of their next 12 league games, losing only to Mumbai in the process as they notched up a streak of 6 wins on the trot. 

They crushed Delhi in the semi-finals, winning by a huge margin of 105 runs as Delhi were dismissed for an embarrassing 87 before clinching a last-ball victory in a nail-biting final against the Chennai Super Kings to lift the trophy. 

Who's in, who's out 

Like last time, Rajasthan were not very keen on the big guns. They shelled out a massive USD 600,000 for big hitting South African all-rounder Tyron Henderson and acquired Australian speedster Shaun Tait for USD 375,000. 

Other signings include Rob Quiney, Lee Carseldine and Shane Harwood - all of whom are from Australia. 

However, Rajasthan will be greatly affected by the loss of Sohail Tanvir, the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2008 and Kamran Akmal. Shane Watson, player of the series last year, will also be away on national duty and will only be available for the last two weeks of the tournament. 

Players to watch out for 

Shane Warne: Shane Warne played all his roles exceptionally well. He was the coach, took the most wickets by a spinner in the tournament and lead a side of relative unknows to the title. Ian Chappell went on to describe as the "best captain Australia never had". Warne proved that he is still a wily customer with the ball and a smart tactician on the field, not to mention capable of smacking a few lusty blows with the bat when the situation arises. 

Yusuf Pathan: The older Pathan has shown the world why he is made for the shortest format of the game. Pathan seeks to hit every ball out of the ground and usually succeeds, scoring at a frantic rate to take the game away from the opposition. A decent off-spinner as well, Pathan is capable of stemming the flow of runs when bowling. 

Swapnil Asnodkar: The 'Goa Dynamo' surprised one and all with his aggressive approach at the top of the order. Asnodkar was usually responsible for getting his team off to flying starts and his team will similar expectations of him. What remains to be seen, is how the diminutive batsman fares on the bouncy tracks in South Africa. 

Ravindra Jadeja: Jadeja is going through a purple patch. Not only did he chip in with all-round performances during the first season of the IPL, he went on to have a great domestic season in which he topped the wicket-taking list. He was eventually rewarded with a call-up to the national team and showed his mettle with a fifty on debut. One of Jadeja's strengths is that he never lets the pressure get to him. 

Trivia 

Shane Watson, who was the player of the tournament in IPL 2008, was the first to win three Man of the Match awards. 

Swapnil Asnodkar, who was nicknamed Goa Dynamo by his Rajasthan Royals teammates was the only player from Goa to feature in the IPL 2008. 

Rajasthan Royals were the only team in the IPL having same player as coach and captain - Shane Warne. 

Sohail Tanvir was the highest wicket taker in IPL 2008. He picked up 22 wickets from 11 games at an amazing average of 12.09. 

Sohail Tanvir is the only bowler in the IPL to have bagged 4 or more wickets in an innings more than once. 

Rajasthan Royals holds the record of chasing down the highest score when they made 217/7 while chasing against the Deccan Chargers. 

Only 3 teams won off the last ball while chasing in the IPL. Rajasthan did it twice, but it was done for the 1st time by the Kolkata Knight Riders. 

Rajasthan Royals happened to win 9 out of the eleven games in which they won the toss. 

Rajasthan Royals bowled the most number of dot balls in the tournament. The did not give any runs on 837 occassions. 

Current Squad 

Shane Warne (AUS), Aditya Angle, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Kamran Akmal (PAK), Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Robert Quiney (AUS), Lee Carseldine (AUS), Graeme Smith (SA), Yusuf Pathan, Niraj Patel, Dinesh Salunkhe, Ralphi Gomez, Shaun Tait (AUS), Shane Harwood (AUS), Morne Morkel (SA), Anup Revandkar, Mahesh Rawat, Shane Watson (AUS), Tyron Henderson (SA), Dimitri Mascarenhas (ENG), Siddharth Trivedi 

Coach - Shane Warne 

Assistant head coach - Harish Joshi

McCullum replaces Ganguly as KKR captain


New Zealand v India - 5th ODI

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum has replaced Sourav Ganguly as captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, according to reports.

The Knight Riders take on the Deccan Chargers in Newlands on Sunday.

Weeks before, the Knight Riders' Australian coach John Buchanan had created a furore when he brought up the theory of multiple captains for his team for the second edition of the IPL in South Africa.

It remains to be seen whether McCullum stays as captain for the entire edition or on a rotational policy.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Team Preview - Bangalore Royal Challengers

Performance in IPL 2008

The Royal Challengers, Bangalore had a miserable outing during the first season of the Indian Premier League, finishing a dismal seventh. 

Captained by Rahul Dravid, the team was touted as a Test side which was not capable of adapting to the swashbuckling cricket employed in the Twenty20 format.

After a torrid opening game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the team from Bangalore was not able to settle down as a unit.

The Royal Challengers played 14 matches in their IPL endeavour and could only manage 4 wins.

The liquor baron's team lost some close games after being in a winning position:

A loss to Chennai Super Kings by 13 runs 

Losing to Delhi Dare Devils by 10 runs 

Defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 runs 

The four wins managed by the Royal Challengers came against:

Mumbai Indians at Mumbai

Home and away wins against the Deccan Chargers

Chennai Super Kings at Chennai 

Trade-ins and player acquisitions

At the start of 2009, Vijay Mallya acquired Robin Uthappa from the Mumbai Indians and had to let go of Zaheer Khan to them. This deal did not cost Mallya as it was a mutual exchange.

Bangalore also acquired Gaurav Dhiman from the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan fast bowler Pankaj Singh from the Rajasthan Royals.

The second IPL auction witnessed an aggressive bid by all teams to get hold of the South African born English cricketer Kevin Pietersen. Eventually, Mallya bagged him for a record $ 1.55 Million. Kevin Pietersen also replaced Rahul Dravid as the new RCB captain.

The left handed New Zealand sensation Jesse Ryder was also included in the Bangalore team for a price of $ 160,000.

Players to watch out for

Kevin Pietersen: With a whopping $ 1.55 Million tag and the responsibilty of leading the team, Bangalore fans would look to Pietersen to revive the fortunes of the team.

Jesse Ryder: With a dream season against the Indians in all forms of the game, the Royal Challengers would expect the Ryder magic to continue in South Africa.

Rahul Dravid: The 'Wall' of Indian cricket had a successful test series at New Zealand. Being the most successful RCB batsman during the first season and with the burden of captaincy no longer there, the seasoned campaigner would look forward to an engaging stint.

Dale Steyn: This exciting South African pacer had won praises from cricketers all round the world. RCB would bank on this fast bowler to rattle the opposition in conditions well suited to him where he will be even more lethal.

Trivia

Kevin Pietersen, along with Andrew Flintoff (Chennai), was the most expensive player of IPL 2009 at USD 1.55 million.

Bangalore Royal Challengers roped in Washington Redskins - a world famous cheer-leading squad from the US for the IPL 2008.

Abdur Razzak of Bangalore Royal Challengers was the only Bangladeshi to feature in IPL 2008. He only played one game for his team.

Anil Kumble took 3 for 14 in the match against the Chennai Super Kings - it was his best performance in the twenty-over format of the game.

Five of the Bangalore batsmen were dismissed for a duck in the match against Punjab - a record for the most ducks in an innings in the IPL.

B Akhil of the RCB scored 27 runs at a strike rate of 385.71 against the Deccan Chargers, the highest strike rate for an innings

Misbah-ul-Haq hit the 1000th four of the IPL

Misbah-ul-Haq, who turned 34 on 28th May, will want to forget his 34th birthday in a hurry - he was dismissed for a first ball duck against Mumbai.

Current Squad

Kevin Pietersen (ENG), Ross Taylor (NZ), Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder (NZ), Mark Boucher (RSA), Shreevats Goswami, Dillon du Preez (RSA) , Jacques Kallis (RSA), Roelof van der Merwe (RSA), Cameron White (AUS), Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Dale Steyn (RSA), Nathan Bracken (AUS), Pankaj Singh, Anil Kumble, Tinu Yohannan, Vinay Kumar

Coaches

Head Coach: Ray Jennings (RSA)

Assistant Head Coach: Vijay Bharadwaj

Team Preview - Deccan Chargers

Performance in IPL 2008

Despite being termed as a team to win the cup, a string of poor performances and controversies taunted the Hyderabad team throughout the first season of the IPL. An injury to the team's captain VVS Laxman during the series had the former Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist fill in as the captain. 

A massive storm struck the team when the Pakistani dasher Shahid Afridi pointed out that VVS Laxman's was incompetent to lead Hyderabad and was responsible for the team's poor show during the inaugural season of the IPL. A momentary ceasefire was called before the flames resurfaced. The team management stepped in and terminated the IPL contract of Afridi.

At the end of the season, Hyderabad could manage only two wins in the 14 matches played by them, finishing at the bottom of the table. Their victories came against the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings thanks to powerful batting performances by Adam Gilchrist.

Who's in, who's out

Who's in?

After a miserable campaign last time around, some sweeping changes have been made.

Before the start of the second auction, the Queensland all-rounder Ryan Harris was signed by the management after a strong recommendation from the Hyderabad coach Darren Lehmann.

They also got hold of 6 new players from the domestic circuit - Jaskarandeep Singh, H.S. Bansal, T.Suman, Abhinav Kumar, S.M.Shoaib and M.S.Bisla.

The West Indian Fidel Edwards (USD 150,000) and Dwayne Smith (USD 100,000) were the international players bought at the auction.

Even the logo was not spared. The new logo has a silver background as opposed to the gold one which they had last year. They will also be sporting different kits on the field.

Who's out?

While the classy VVS Laxman was replaced by Adam Gilchrist as the captain, Shahid Afridi was shown the doors for speaking against Laxman. Herschelle Gibbs was up for sale due to his poor show but was not purchased by any of the teams.

Players to watch out for

Adam Gilchrist: While Gilchrist was good in patches during IPL-1, Hyderabad would want a more consistent performance from this dashing Australian wicket keeper to revive the team's prospects during the second season.

Herschelle Gibbs: After a forgettable campaign during 2008, Gibbs would bank on his powerful batting skills to fire during 2009. He is stil lightning quick on the field and batting on home turf would certainly work to his advantage.

Rohit Sharma: A consistent performance from Sharma during the first edition of IPL was perhaps the only saving grace for Hyderabad. He was the second-highest run-scorer for the Chargers last time around and remains a vital cog in the middle order.

Venugopal Rao: Venugopal Rao had a quiet tournament to begin with but came into his own during the second half of the tournament, taking his team to the brink of victory on many occassions. A heavy-scorer in domestic cricket, Venugopal will need to better his performance this time around.

Trivia

Andrew Symonds was the most expensive bowler for Deccan Chargers - he was hit for 30 in one over by Sehwag and 17 in the last over of a match by Warne.

Adam Gilchrist of Deccan Chargers scored the fastest century of IPL 2008, doing so in just 42 balls against Mumbai Indians.

Not only did the Deccan Chargers finish last, they disappointed their fans by not winning a single home game in the IPL 2008.

The highest partnership for any wicket in the IPL is 155 between Adam Gilchrist and VVS Laxman in the match between Hyderabad and Mumbai.

RP Singh of the Deccan Chargers gave away 59 runs in his 4 ovs against KKR thereby making him the bowler with the worst economy rate in a game.

Current Squad

Adam Gilchrist (AUS), Rohit Sharma(Vice-Captain), Chamara Silva (SL), Herschelle Gibbs (RSA), V.V.S.Laxman, Arjun Yadav, Venugopal Rao, D.B.Ravi Teja, T.Suman, Abhinav Kumar, Dwayne Smith (WI), Scott Styris (NZ), Andrew Symonds (AUS), Ryan Harris (AUS), Halhadar Das, M.S.Bisla, R. P. Singh, Fidel Edwards WI), Chaminda Vaas (SL), Nuwan Zoysa (SL), D.Kalyankrishna, Pragyan Ojha, M Sarveesh Kumar, H.S.Bansal, Jaskarandeep Singh, P. Vijay Kumar, S.M.Shoaib

Coaches

Head Coach: Darren Lehmann (AUS)

Assistant Coach: Kanwaljit Singh 

Team Preview - Kolkata Knight Riders

Performance in IPL 2008
Kolkatta were being touted as the best team after their first two wins but their performance nose-dived as the series progressed.
Kolkata's performance was as unpredictable as their speedster, Shoaib Akhtar at times.
At times they pulled off thrilling victories, like they did against Punjab, scoring 70 in the last four overs to seal victory.
Against Mumbai, they set the record for the lowest score in the tournament, being bundled out for 67. Against Delhi, they pulled off a remarkable victory, winning by 23 runs despite only scoring 133 runs - thanks to a blistering spell from Shoaib Akhtar. Ultimately, Kolkatta weren't consistent enough and had to settle for sixth place.
Financially, the Knight Riders were easily the most successful franchise in the IPL, achieving a profit of Rs. 13 crore.
Whos in, whos out
Kolkata Knight Riders was among the least active franchises during the off season, with no player trades. However, the team signed Mohnish Parmar during the off season and also re-signed Ajantha Mendis for a long term deal. The most notable personnel move for Knight Riders came during the 2009 IPL Auction, where the team signed Bangladesh all-rounder Mashrafe Mortaza. Kolkatta spent a massive 600,000 dollars at the auction for this Bangladeshi import and it will be interesting to see if Mortaza can live up to the expectations.
Kolkata will bemoan the loss of it's Pakistani players - Umar Gul and Salman Butt - both of whom performed notably last year. Ricky Ponting joined the list of Australians who pulled out of the IPL due to a hectic international schedule. Mohammad Asif will also be missing from action.
Players to watch out for
Sourav Ganguly: Ganguly might not have the agility demanded of a Twenty20 player but he proved why he is still among the best as he finished on top of the run-scoring charts for his team. He also chipped in with his gentle medium pace and ended up as the most economical bowler for his side. Still a force to reckon with.

Brendon McCullum: Nicknamed 'Baz', McCullum's game is perfectly suited to the Twenty20 format and his brutal innings of 158 not out against Bangalore last season is testimony to that. McCullum is coming of some good batting form in the recently concluded series against India, which will do his confidence a world of good.

Chris Gayle: Gayle exemplifies Caribbean flair and his nonchalant and no-fuss approach to batting is a treat to watch. On his day, Gayle can massacre the best of attacks, putting away even the good balls. Gayle and McCullum are potentially the most lethal opening pair in the tournament and if they can get going the crowd will be in for some real entertainment.

Ishant Sharma: Ishant had a very ordinary tournament last time around but batsmen could find him difficult to hit in conditions where the lanky seamer will be able to extract movement and bounce. He will be keen to prove his detractors wrong this time around.

Trivia
The duo of Vishal and Shekar, of 'Om Shanthi Om' and 'Jhankar Beats' fame composed the anthem song of the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Sourav Ganguly, captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders, was the first player to win back-to-back Man of the Match awards.
Chris Gayle did not play a single game for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2008 as he had a groin injury.
Ishant Sharma, who was snapped up at USD 950,000 by Kolkata Knight Riders was the most expensive bowler at the IPL auction.
Umar Gul of KKR had the highest strike rate amongst the batsmen with 205.26. He scored just 39 runs in the tournament however.
The only match in the IPL which was abandoned without a ball being bowled was the match between Delhi and Kolkata at Delhi.
Kolkata have the record of scoring the least runs in an innings in the IPL doing so when they were dismissed 67 in the match against the Mumbai Indians.
Laxmi Ratan Shukla picked up 3 wickets in the only 5 balls he bowled against the Daredevils making him the bowler with the best strike rate in an innings.
Brendon McCullum scored 158 against the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the opening game of the IPL - the highest individual score in a Twenty20 match.
Brendon McCullum of KKR holds the record for the most number of sixes in an IPL innings with 13 against the Bangalore Royal Challengers
The highest margin of victory by runs is 140 happens achieved by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match of the IPL against Bangalore

Current Squad:
Sourav Ganguly, Ajit Agarkar, Rohan Banerjee, Sanjay Bangar, Mark Cameron (AUS), Aakash Chopra, Gaurav Chabra, Debabrata Das, Ashok Dinda, Shatrunjay Gaekwad, Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques (AUS), Brad Hodge (AUS), David Hussey (AUS), VA Indulkar, Iqbal Abdulla, Murali Karthik, Saurasish Lahiri, Charl Langeveldt (SA), Brendon McCullum (NZ), Mashrafe Mortaza (Bang), Angelo Mathews (SL), Ajantha Mendis (SL), Mohnish Parmar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Laxmi Ratan Shukla

Coach - John Buchanan (AUS)
Assistant head coach - Matthew Mott (AUS)

 
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