Apr 182014

Clinical approach by the overseas players on a very hot summer day, ensured a thrilling play between the two teams. However, only two out of the four best performers of the day, namely Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, could be in the winning side.

Match Review Indian Premiere League – Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab. 18th April 2014 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

When MS Dhoni won the toss – as usual – he chose to utilize CSK’s batting talent. Boasting a side where the batting order went down till the 7th guy, CSK seemed pretty much in control. At least in the beginning.

Dwayne Smith (66 off 43) and Brendon McCullum (67 off 45) did a phenomenal job as an opening pair. A 115 – run partnership, which established the innings in CSK’s favor.  The two batsmen took on KXIP bowlers with raw power. They managed to get their team to a 50 in a mere 27 balls. Next 50 came in another 30 balls.

CSK managed to score 70 runs in the Power-Play without loosing any wickets. When the opening pair was sent back by Lakshmipathy Balaji and Akshar Patel, Suresh Raina paired with MS Dhoni to add some much needed fervor to the score. They managed to bring up the score to a 205 runs – enough, in their opinion, to defend.

Where normal 200+ run-chases in Twenty20 format involve a lot of high-end shots and strategic play, KXIP’s Glen Maxwell and David Miller did it differently.

When the not-so-surprising failure of openers Cheteshwar Pujara and Virendre Sehwag brought KXIP to a stage where they were down three wickets in the first 5 overs, Maxwell had his mind set to win. And he found a fitting partner in Miller to do so.

Maxwell and Miller brought their team back into play by rotating strike as often as allowed and taking more boundaries than CSK bowlers wanted. Maxwell took on Ashwin in the very first over. And moved on from bowler to bowler. He found the gaps, reverse-swatted away, textbook drives and perfectly timed pushes at short-cover.

Pawan Negi suffered the most when the 13th over went for 22 runs. 14th over brought bad-luck to CSK when Dwayne Bravo injured his shoulder in a bid to catch Maxwell’s reverse-pull.

With one death – bowler short, things were made tougher for Dhoni when Ravindre Jadeja was pulled for two sixes by Miller in the 17th over. One and half over later, Kings XI Punjab had won. Maxwell and Miller outshone Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum.


Chennai Super Kings: 05 for 4 (McCullum 67, Smith 66)Kings XI Punjab: 206 for 4 (Maxwell 95, Miller 54*)

Player of the day: Glen MaxwellDisappointment of the day: Ravindre JadejaUmpires: RK Illingworth (England) and C Shamshuddin (India)

Click for detailed story

Apr 182014
Maxwell Sets Up Stunning Chase
Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell hit 95 in just 43 balls as the Kings XI Punjab chased down 206

© REUTERS / Action Images

Kings XI Punjab 206-4 (Maxwell 95) beat
Chennai Super Kings 205-4 by six wickets
Indian Premier League 2014, Abu Dhabi

Glenn Maxwell blasted 95 in 43 balls as the Kings XI Punjab chased a target of 206 to beat the Chennai Super Kings with seven balls to spare in both sides’ opening game of the Indian Premier League 2014.

The runs flowed right from the start in Abu Dhabi, where half-centuries from Brendon McCullum (67) and Dwayne Smith (66) saw Chenna post 205 for four.

However, with Maxwell and David Miller (54 not out in 37 balls) in fine form, that score was not enough.

This was the second time that Kings XI have chased down more than 200 to beat the Super Kings and they remain the only team to do so in IPL history.

Batting first, McCullum and Smith took advantage of a belter of a track at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium to hammer the Kings XI bowling to all parts.

The former struck four fours and five sixes in 45 balls and the latter six fours and three sixes in 43 balls and added 123 together in 12.4 overs.

After they were removed by Akshar Patel and Lakshmipathy Balaji, more quick runs were added by Suresh Raina, who celebrated his 100th IPL match with 24 in 19 balls and MS Dhoni, who scored 26 in 11 deliveries.

Dwayne Bravo was unbeaten on eight in three balls when Dhoni fell to Balaji (2-43) from the final ball of the innings.

Bravo would later head to hospital with a shoulder injury, although Dhoni revealed afterwards that he was playing the match as a specialist batsman, and was not offering excuses for his side’s failure to defend their score.

Much like the Delhi Daredevils in their opening match, the Super Kings were sloppy in the field and uncharacteristically so.

Samuel Badree, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashish Nehra and Faf du Plessis all dropped catches, with Nehra’s allowing Maxwell to continue when on 37.

It was a crucial moment because Kings XI had been 52 for three with Virender Sehwag (19), Cheteshwar Pujara (13) and Patel (2) already dismissed.

There was little opportunity for Maxwell and Miller to consolidate, and they quickly found their range just as McCullum and Smith had done so earlier.

Maxwell led the way, scoring shots all round the ground with drives, pulls, sweeps and reverse sweeps.

He hit 15 fours and two sixes in all before falling with a century in sight when a perfect yorker from Smith got through his defences, breaking the partnership worth 115.

Miller, who up until that point had scored at a fraction more than a run per ball, then stepped up to hit 54 in 37 balls with three fours and three sixes.

From needing 59 to win in six overs, Maxwell, Miller and then George Bailey got the target down to just 16 needed in two overs.

That proved to be no obstacle and Bailey, unbeaten on 17 in 10 balls, finished off the job with a brace of boundaries in the 19th over of Mohit Sharma to ensure the Kings XI were off the mark at the earliest opportunity.

Ravichandran Ashwin finished with two for 41, Smith one for 25 and Nehra one for 24.

© Cricket World 2014

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Feb 202014
Tamil Nadu police officer seeks umbrella IPL probe
Alleged suspects in the IPL spot-fixing case are brought to a court in Delhi, IPL 2013, Delhi, May 16, 2013

According to G Sampath Kumar, the Delhi Police FIR had mentioned match-fixing but the charges were not probed properly © AFP

An investigating officer in the IPL spot-fixing scandal who had deposed before the Mudgal Committee has called for the entire case to be handled by one nodal force, like the National Investigation Agency, instead of several independent units as is currently the situation. G Sampath Kumar, a Tamil Nadu-based police officer who had appeared before the Justice Mudgal Committee, said the fixing charges were not being properly investigated because of the diffused nature of the process.

“The main thing that I wanted to stress before the Mudgal Committee too… I asked for an investigation by an agency like the NIA along with a joint investigation team. I had a feeling that this investigation was not [moving] on the right lines because the very FIR [filed by the Delhi police at the time of arresting Sreesanth and two other cricketers] mentions match-fixing. It’s in the FIR itself but it was not probed properly,” Kumar told the TV channel Headlines Today.

Various strands of alleged corruption in the IPL are being independently investigated by different state police units. While the Delhi Police focuses on the players’ involvement, which led to the arrests of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers, the Mumbai Police case is against Gurunath Meiyappan and his connection with alleged actor-bookie Vindoo Dara Singh. Police teams from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan have also chipped in at various points, focusing on the money trail and betting transactions between the high-profile bookies.

Kumar was a superintendent of police with the Crime Branch CID (internal security) in Chennai, working on a case involving fake passports when he came across information relating to betting. He said he had sought a more detailed investigation of this angle but was taken off the investigating team and posted to the Railway police in Trichy, a provincial town 300 km south of Chennai.

Kumar told the channel he believed he was being framed: “They wanted me not to probe further on this. My point is that when we in Q branch [the internal security unit] crack down so many things, why haven’t they done that? That’s my question.”

He appeared before the Mudgal Committee, whose report to the Supreme Court said the charges against Gurunath, the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, of being involved in betting and passing on information on IPL games stand proved.

While investigating the fake passport racket, Kumar had interrogated Uttam Jain, alias Kitty, a bookie who claimed to have knowledge about fixing of IPL games, especially the league match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals on May 12, 2013. According to Kumar’s deposition before the Mudgal Committee, Kitty had revealed how Vikram Agarwal, a Chennai hotelier who was arrested on the charge of being a bookie, knew Gurunath along with a few top cricketers.

Kumar also said that Kitty had revealed that the May 12 IPL match was fixed. The Mudgal report said there “seems to be enough information available on record to indicate that a further investigation is required in respect of the match.”

“It was stated that Vikram Agarwal told him (Kitty) that there was negotiation for match-fixing between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings and Meiyappan has to communicate to Chennai Super Kings (players) for finalisation. Later Kitty came to know that they were planning to fix the match between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings scheduled on 12.05.2013. Again on 27.04.2013 also after the dinner party, negotiation was on and Vikram Agarwal informed to Kitty some deal was worked out. Later, after a dinner party Meiyappan informed that Chennai Super Kings has agreed to play as per plan and his team will score 140 runs and this was communicated to somebody (Sanjay) in Jaipur over phone by Vikram Agarwal when Kitty was nearby,” Kumar said in his signed report. Kumar said that other officers connected to both cases were also transferred within a short time and the file of their investigations was not given to the probe panel, a fact confirmed by Nilay Dutta, in his report to the Supreme Court.

In his interview to Headlines Today, Kumar wondered why, when Kitty gave up so much information in four hours’ questioning in the Q -branch office, was he not taken into custody for a longer period.

Feb 112014
Meiyappan found guilty in IPL fixing probe

Published: 6:09PM Tuesday February 11, 2014 Source: AP

The son-in-law of Indian cricket board boss and ICC chairman-designate Narainswamy Srinivasan has been found guilty of betting and passing on information to illegal bookmakers by a committee investigating match-fixing in the Indian Premier League.

The three-member committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal found Chennai Super Kings team principal, Gurunath Meiyappan, guilty of being in touch with illegal bookmakers in its report Monday to India’s Supreme Court.

The finding comes after the Bombay High Court last year referred to the two-member Board of Control for Cricket in India panel that initially cleared Meiyappan of the charges as “illegal and unconstitutional.”

Meiyappan spent two weeks in jail last year before being bailed.

Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra previously acknowledged betting on matches during initial investigations but was not arrested. The committee suggests that Kundra’s role be investigated in detail.

The Supreme Court will study the 170-page report while it waits for the BCCI and Chennai Super Kings to respond to the findings.

The committee refused to agree with Srinivasan’s contention that Meiyappan was “just a cricket enthusiast” and not involved in running the team, which is primarily owned by India Cements, of which Srinivasan is the managing director.

It said that “Meiyappan was the face of Chennai Super Kings” as he was often seen at the team dugout during IPL matches. The Chennai franchise had referred to Meiyappan as the team principal but denied that he had any official role in the team once he was arrested by police.

The committee also said that input from various agencies led it to believe that betting should be legalized in the country. At present, only betting on horse-racing is legal in India.

“They (investigating agencies) have stated that legalizing sports betting would reduce the element of black (unaccounted-for) money and the influence of the underworld,” the committee said in its report.

The probe committee report was submitted just two days ahead of the next IPL auctions and could jeopardize the participation of the Chennai franchise in this year’s tournament in April-May as a team can be barred if its officials bring the game into disrepute.

The court, however, allowed the auctions, slated for Wednesday and Thursday, to go ahead as scheduled.

Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who is seen as a rival of Srinivasan and was banned by the BCCI last year for financial irregularities, said strict action needed to be taken against the franchise and its officials.

“Life ban on all connected is a must,” Modi wrote on his Twitter page. “So I guess Srini’s 2day victory as future warlord of cricket was short lived. I told u all so.”

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Jan 292014
IPL 2014: Chennai Super Kings retain Dhoni, Raina, Ashwin, Jadeja & Bravo

Chennai Super Kings have retained MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo ahead of the IPL 2014 auction. The tournament rules allows for retaining five players, of whom only four can be capped India players. This will leave the franchise with one right-to-match card at the auction on February 12.

Super Kings have been the most successful of the IPL franchises, making into the final five times out of six, and winning on two occasions – in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, they did the double of winning the IPL and the Champions League T20. They have also been one of the most settled franchises, with the core of the team remaining the same over the many seasons. So they was no surprise that they have retained as many players as possible here.

Among the players staying with Super Kings, captain Dhoni, batsman Raina and offspinner Ashwin have never played for another IPL franchise. Dhoni, India’s captain and arguably the best finisher in limited-overs cricket, was the most expensive buy of the inaugural IPL auction back in 2008. Raina, the tournament’s leading run-getter overall, is yet to miss a single match for Super Kings.

January 10 was the deadline for the IPL franchises to announce their list of retained players, ahead of the auction on February 12. Except Delhi DareDevils every team retained atleast a player. Aside from retained players, franchises can buy back additional members of their squads at the auction via right-to-match cards. The number of right-to-match cards available to each franchise will depend on the number of players already retained. Since Super Kings have retained five players, they will have one right-to-match card at the auction and can’t buy any Indian with it as they crossed limit of four Indians.

A fixed amount will be deducted from Super Kings’ auction purse of Rs 600 million (approx. US$ 9.6 million, at the current exchange rate) for each player retained: Rs 125 million for player one, Rs 95 million for player two, Rs 75 million for player three, Rs 55 million for player four and Rs 40 million for player five. This will leave the franchise with Rs 210 million to spend at the auction. This season, each squad must include no less than 16 and no more than 27 players, with a maximum of nine overseas players.

The amount deducted from the auction amount is not necessarily the IPL fee agreed to between the franchise and the retained player.

In 2011, apart from Dhoni and Raina, Super Kings had retained India batsman M Vijay and South Africa allrounder Albie Morkel. The pair missed out this time, along with former Australia batsman Michael Hussey, who was IPL 2013’s leading run-getter.

Jan 232014
Raina needs to work on his shot selection: Dhoni

Raina is someone who plays aggressive cricket but it is important to have control over your mind as to what are the areas you want to hit, Dhoni commented on Raina’s batting

Raina needs to work on his shot selection: Dhoni (© AP)


Auckland: It is great to be a strokemaker but it is must for a batsman to have control over his shots to have continued success.

This precisely was the message for Suresh Raina from his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after India’s 15-run loss in the second ODI at Hamilton.

India’s hopes had diminished when Virat Kohli got out in the 30th over of the innings but presence of Dhoni and Raina at the crease was still a cause for concern to the Kiwis.

And surprisingly, it was an out-of-sorts Raina who was the chief aggressor in that partnership. He scored 35 runs off 22 balls, with only six fours.

It was a scene enacted out of many similar run-chases the two batsmen have pursued for their IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. For a short time, Indian hopes were up again, only to be dashed when Raina holed out. The frustration on Dhoni’s face told quite a tale.

“Raina is someone who plays aggressive cricket but it is important to have control over your mind as to what are the areas you want to hit. If it is not there to be hit, what are the other options you have got?,” said Dhoni, talking about Raina’s batting.

“It is not like you want to try and hit something and even if is not there to be hit, you still go for a big shot.”

There was nothing extra-ordinary about Raina’s innings, except that it was his second highest score since the 2013-14 season started for the Men in Blue with the seven-match ODI series at home against Australia.

He has had a poor run these three months against West Indies and South Africa thereafter – 39, DNB, 17, DNB, 16, 28, 0, 23, 34, 14, 36, DNB, and now in New Zealand 18 and 35.

On Wednesday evening at Seddon Park, however, coming in at number six, Raina was faced with a do-or-die situation. He did not have time to settle down and think about countering the short stuff aimed at him, in order to preserve his wicket.

The need of the hour was scoring runs and he looked to do so, hitting some aggressive pull-shots and earning three of his six boundaries in such fashion. Not having to worry about playing for time, he almost looked a different batsman, at least in comparison to the last twelve months.

“That (picking bad deliveries to hit) was something he did particularly well in this innings. Hopefully he will gather plenty of confidence after this innings and carry on longer in this manner,” said the Indian skipper.

Could this signal a prolonged outing for Raina at number six, then?

“We have to a see a few things. We cannot change opinions and strategies after one game. It was a certain kind of situation that demanded of him this particular innings. It was good,” said Dhoni, as always keeping his cards close to the chest.

During the home season, the Indian top-order was in red-hot form, chasing down 300-plus totals all by themselves and as such many opportunities were not presented to Raina.

But when the chance did come, he didn’t make it count. For example, he was promoted to bat at number four versus the Aussies, in order to prepare him for a possible central role in the batting order during the 2015 World Cup.

In the very first match at Pune batting at that position, he got a start – 39 runs – and then threw it away, playing a needless shot to get a boundary and ended up getting caught.

This tempering bit, about his stroke-making, is something that doesn’t come naturally to Raina. Perhaps it is best reflected from the fact that he bats at number three for Chennai Super Kings, a vital position in any format of the game and more so in Twenty20.

Add to it, the small fact that he has never missed a game for his franchise (even Dhoni has sat out a few), and the summation is that Raina is indeed a batsman who is always on-the-go in the limited-overs format.

When he was sent up to bat at number four (or number five) in the recent months, Raina tried controlling his natural instincts and setting himself up for big runs. But the more time he spent at the crease, the more vulnerable he became against short bowling from the opposition.

It is no secret in international cricket that he has an acute weakness against anything aimed at his chest or head. In a bid to cut out his shots, he failed to express himself enough against such aggressive bowling and thus ended up losing his wicket sooner rather than later.

Twice, Mitchell Johnson worked him over in this fashion during the ODIs in October. Then, it happened again in the first ODI at Napier.

The worst part is that it flows onto his mindset against slower bowlers as well. Since his run-scoring is cut off with deliveries angled into his body, he tries to charge the spinners and it doesn’t pay off always.

In this manner, Xavier Doherty and Sunil Narine enjoyed some success against him as well. All in all, he has had a difficult time since his last top-score of 89 not out came against England on 23rd January 2013 (at Mohali), exactly one year ago.

In this interim, he has played 31 matches and scored 669 runs at 33.45 with only three half-centuries, two of which came in January last year and one later in Zimbabwe, his lone overseas half-century in more than two years and only his third ever ODI fifty outside the sub-continent.

Jan 112014
IPL 2014: CSK, MI retained expected players while Kings XI came up with a surprise

During the last month or so, there was a huge anticipation over the players to be retained by Indian Premier League (IPL) teams for the upcoming seventh edition of the tournament. While some of the team announcements were on expected lines, a few others came up surprises. The tournament rules allowed for five players to be retained, of whom only four can be capped India players. This will leave the franchise with one right-to-match card at the auction on February 12.

Among the various teams, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore had announced their list on January 9 while the rest of the teams declared their list on January 10.

Chennai Super Kings:

For the IPL VII 2014, the tournament rules allow five players to be retained, of whom only four can be capped India players and one foreign player. This is not as simple as it seems like as history says that foreign players have participated more for the teams as compared to the local boys. For the super studded Chennai Super Kings, retaining MS Dhoni is a no-brainer. He is the beating heart of the franchise and has become an icon in Chennai. So much so that he is clearly more connected to the city than his home state of Jharkhand.

With Dhoni comes Suresh Raina, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, all part of the India set-up as well. Given CSK’s penchant for keeping things constant, they will all be decked in yellow in upcoming IPL VII. Dwayne Bravo, who took the most wickets last season, is another who has stayed with CSK.

In the six-year history of the Indian Premier League, Chennai Super Kings has been the most consistent team, with two triumphant back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011, as well as the finals appearances in 2008, 2012 and 2013. In the last season as well, CSK was one of the forerunners to lift the trophy but unfortunately was unable to win it against a dominant Mumbai Indians outfit in Kolkata.

Mumbai Indians:

Mumbai Indians surprised everyone by not retaining the ‘Ashes Star‘! Yes, we are talking about the aussie pacer Mitchell Johnson who picked 37 wickets in the recently held Ashes. He made tremendous contributions with the bat as well which depicted his form and fitness but the franchise opted for Malinga ahead of him. The Defending champions decided to retain skipper Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu, Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga and West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard in accordance with the IPL’s new retention rules for the season 2014.

After Dhoni, Rohit Sharma is considered as the most thinking captain in India, which he also showed in last IPL when he took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting and led the side to their first-ever IPL title and then Champions League. Made it the best way it could be for the veteran Super Sachin.

Kings XI Punjab:

The Priety Zinta co-owned franchise is looking for an overhaul to their team as they look to reach the semi-finals stage once again. The franchise made it to the last 4 stage in the first season of the Indian Premier League but has failed to do so ever since. For this very reason, the franchise has retained just two players; one an Indian local lad and one foreign.

Kings XI have given a shock to all cricket pundits by retaining not-so-known Manan Vohra. He has played just 6 first-class matches so far and has scored a hundred and two fifties. What probably prompted the Kings XI to retain Vohra was his mammoth 187 in the Ranji Trophy just over a week ago against a Jharkhand attack which included the likes of India pacer Varun Aaron.

Vohra, a right-hand batsman, was hired by the franchise last year as a player for the future. He played 12 matches last season, and had a modest record of 161 runs at 20.12 with a top score of 43.

In addition to Vohra, the franchise has gone with South African hard-hitting batsman David Miller – which was something everyone expected the team to do. 

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