Apr 212014

Kings XI Punjab chased down yet another high total when they trounced the Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets on Sunday night.

Match Review Indian Premier League – Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals. April 20 at Sharjah, UAE. 

Kings XI Punjab were set 191 to chase and got there with some to spare. There were still seven eager batsmen sitting in the dugout as Glenn Maxwell (89) and David Miller (51 not out) powered their side to victory with eight balls to spare.

George Bailey won the toss and chose the field first on the batsman friendly pitch. Rajasthan openers Ajinkya Rahane and Abhishek Nayar gave them a solid start, putting on 22 in three overs before Rahane (13) was run out by Bailey.

They edged on to 54 for one at the end of the six over powerplay. Nayar (23) was trapped leg before, which sent in power hitter Shane Watson (50). The Australian and Sanju Samson (52) scored regular boundaries.

Later in the innings, Australian duo Steve Smith (27 not out) and James Faulkner (8 not out) steered Rajasthan to a big total.

The men representing Jaipur would have fancied their chances after two quick wickets saw the Kings XI Punjab teetering at 10 for two.

But Man of the Match Maxwell entered the cauldron and set the stadium alight, firing eight fours and six sixes to reach a match winning 89 off 45 balls before he holed out to Kane Richardson.

He was supported nicely by South African David Miller who smashed six sixes, reaching his half century in 19 balls, hitting the match winning runs in the process.

Scorecard: Kings XI Punjab 193 for 3 (Maxwell 89, Miller 51*, Pujara 40*) beat Rajasthan Royals 191 for 5 (Samson 52, Watson 50) by 7 wickets.

Man of the Match: Glenn Maxwell


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Apr 202014
Mitch scones Faulkner, more Maxi magic

Glenn Maxwell’s sensational form with the bat continued.

Glenn Maxwell’s sensational form with the bat continued. Source: AP

GLENN Maxwell’s scintillating form with the bat continued in the Indian Premier League on a day in which Australians were in the thick of the action in Kings XI Punjab’s win over Rajasthan Royals.


Seven Australians played in the clash between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, and national allegiances were set to one side as the Aussies went hammer and tong against each other.

Gun all-rounder Maxwell had the most success, belting 89 off 45 balls to follow up from his 95 in Punjab’s opening match of the tournament.

Maxwell is now the competition’s leading run-scorer, with 184 runs at an average of 92.

Shane Watson hit a half-century for Rajasthan Royals.

Shane Watson hit a half-century for Rajasthan Royals. Source: AFP

But he was far from the only Aussie in the runs, with Rajasthan captain Shane Watson notching a half-century off 29 balls, while teammate Steve Smith made a handy 27 off 15 balls and James Faulkner made eight.

Mitchell Johnson finished with bowling figures of 1-29, but perhaps his biggest contribution was a ripping bouncer that crashed into Faulkner’s helmet.

Faulkner escaped without injury and later made light of the incident on Twitter.

South Australian bowler Kane Richardson picked up the wicket of Maxwell, finishing with bowling figures of 1-25, while Punjab captain George Bailey didn’t bat.


Maxwell’s big score helped Kings XI Punjab to a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals.

The Royals batted first and scored 5-191, with Watson leading by example with a captain’s knock of 50 off 29 balls., an innings that included three sixes.

He was well supported by young Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson, who made 52 off 34 balls.

Johnson was fearsome for Punjab, finishing with 1-29, but the Royals batsmen took a real liking to Indian spinner Murali Kartik, who finished with figures of 1-51 from his four overs.

Cheteshwar Pujara helped get Kings XI off to a good start to their run chase, finishing on 40 not out, while David Miller was the other not out batsman after belting an incredible 51 off just 19 balls.

James Faulkner (R) might have nightmares about Mitchell Johnson (L). .Picture: Gregg Port

James Faulkner (R) might have nightmares about Mitchell Johnson (L). .Picture: Gregg Porteous. Source: News Limited

But it was Maxwell who had most people talking after the game. It took an Australian pair to finally get him out, with Steve Smith catching him in the deep off a Kane Richardson delivery before Miller and Pujara got the job done with more than an over to spare.

Punjab – captained by Australian Twenty20 captain George Bailey – have now won their first two matches of the tournament, with Royal Challengers Bangalore the only other team to have done so.

Punjab’s next encounter will be on Wednesday against Sunrisers Hyderabad, a team featuring Australian openers David Warner and Aaron Finch.


“Worries me more that I was not there at the end to hit the winning runs, that was a job half finished.” – Glenn Maxwell.

“Maxwell batted beautifully. It was his day again today, and it was hard to protect any part of the boundary.” – Shane Watson

Apr 182014
Royals Beat Sunrisers In Low-Scorer
Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane’s 59 helped the Rajasthan Royals post victory in their first game of the season

© REUTERS / Action Images

Rajasthan Royals 135-6 (Rahane 59) beat
Sunrisers Hyderabad 133-6 by four wickets
Indian Premier League 2014, Abu Dhabi

The Rajasthan Royals made hard work of it before beating the Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets with three balls to spare in a low-scoring Indian Premier League match in Abu Dhabi.

After the early match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab had seen both sides pass 200, this game was a much tenser affair.

And the Sunrisers were made to rue only reaching 133 for six when the Royals got over the line in the final over.

Ajinkya Rahane made 59 and Stuart Binny an unbeaten 48 for the 2008 champions.

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan top scored for the Sunrisers with 38 but he was one of a number of batsmen to lose his wicket when well set.

David Warner (32) and KL Rahul (20) were similarly guilty while Aaron Finch (2), Darren Sammy (6) and Karan Sharma (7) were dismissed cheaply.

Venugopoal Rao landed some lusty blows and ended on 16 not out in 12 balls.

With the ball, Dhawal Kulkarni (2-23) and Kane Richardson (2-25) were excellent upfront while Rajat Bhatia (2-22) performed superbly later on.

Richardson also bagged three catches to cap a good all-round performance in the field.

The Sunrisers’ charge to the play-off last season was built around the strength of their bowling but on this occasion, they came off second best.

Dale Steyn (2-29) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-21) bowled some superb deliveries to ensure that the game would go down to the wire, as did Ishant Sharma, who returned one for 29.

Steyn trapped Abhishek Nayar in front for four, Sanju Samson was caught by Dhawan off Bhuvneshwar for three and Watson was caught behind by Rahul for the same score off Ishant.

That made it 31 for three and from there Rahane and Binny took the Royals close to the line. The former played a relatively circumspect knock of 59 in 53 balls, including six fours, that in the circumstances, was ideal.

He survived a blow to the helmet via Ishant to stay until the 16th over when he was caught by Finch off leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

His dismissal gave the Sunrisers a sniff, particularly as Brad Hodge (1) and Bhatia (4) also fell, but Binny, who faced 32 balls, held his nerve before James Faulkner hit the only two balls he faced for four to seal the win.

© Cricket World 2014

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Apr 182014
IPL 2014: Rahane, Binny steer Royals home

After a high scoring thriller in Abu Dhabi, things settled down a bit as Rajasthan Royals registered a comfortable win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a low scoring encounter. While Sunrisers could manage only 133 in their alloted 20 overs, the Royals from Rajasthan notched up the runs comfortably after a few initial hiccups.

Match Review: Indian Premier League – Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad. April 18th at Sheik Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Earlier, Rajasthan Royals’ captain Shane Watson won the toss and put Sunrisers Hyderabad to bat first. The decision paid rich dividends in the first over of the innings as Dhawal Kulkarni managed to get a big scalp of Aaron Finch. Captain Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner played risk free cricket and tried to consolidate but tight bowling from the Royals kept the score in check.

Rajat Bhatia provided the second breakthrough in the 12th over by dismissing the dangerous looking Shikhar Dhawan for 38 who was looking to free his arms.  Another wicket of David Warner by Bhatia in his next over put the Royals in a commanding position.

Darren Sammy tried the big hits but failed to capitalize. Venugopal Rao at the other end too was unsuccessful in lifting the run rate, all thanks to a tight bowling from Pravin Tambe in the middle overs. James Faulkner and KW Richardson applied the brakes in the Sunrisers’ innings in the death overs which resulted in a familiar sub 130 kind of total for the batting team.

Chasing a modest 134 to win, the Royals threw a surprise by sending Abhishek Nayar to open instead of captain Shane Watson. The move backfired as Dale Steyn trapped Nayar for LBW on the third ball of the first over itself. Sanju Samson too got out which was a soft dismissal and the pressure was back on Rajasthan Royals.

Major tragedy struck on the Royals in the seventh over when Watson was caught for just 3 off Ishant Sharma’s bowling. Ajinkya Rahane then tried to stabilize the innings with Stuart Binny and the duo played sensible cricket in the middle overs. Rahane kept it safe while Binny was more aggressive. Both put up a 77 run match winning partnership.

Amit Mishra managed to get Rahane out for 59 in the 16th over but the Royals then needed only 26 in the last four overs. For a brief period, it looked like there might be a twist in the tale when Mishra bowled a very tight over and got rid of Brad Hodge for 1. But all hopes were dashed as Binny kept his cool along with James Faulkner who finished the match in the last over with two consecutive boundaries.

Scorecard: Rajasthan Royals – 135/6 (Rahane – 59, Binny – 48*; Steyn 2/29, Mishra 2/26) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad – 133/6 (Dhawan 38, Warner 32; Bhatia 2/22, Kulkarni 2/23)

Player of the Day: Ajinkya Rahane (RR)

Disappointment of the Day: Darren Sammy (SRH)

Umpires: BE Bowden (New Zealand) and RK Illingworth (England)

Apr 172014
IPL 2014 Team Preview - Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals

The Rajasthan Royals won the tournament in 2008 – could they spring another surprise this season?

© REUTERS / Action Images

Since the inaugural IPL season Rajasthan Royals (RR) has always been very selective while picking their players.

Everybody, me included, didn’t gave them a chance during the first season but they proved everybody wrong and went on to win the IPL.

A lot of credit should go to their former captain Shane Warne who backed every player he chose and got the best out of them. He showed them how to play as a unit and that mindset still runs in the team.

But the journey has not been that good since then as they were knocked out from the group stages in the next four seasons though they did qualify for the play-offs last year.

Rajasthan Royals are similar to team which played in the last edition as they retained five players – Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Stuart Binny for the seventh season of the IPL. 

They also bought back the veteran Brad Hodge and spin sensation of last year Pravin Tambe during the auction. So, in a way, the core of their team is still intact and will be more settled as compared to other teams.

The main change for Rajasthan is that Watson will lead the team this season as Rahul Dravid retired from the IPL last season though he will be associated with the team as a mentor. Their batting looks quite settled but probably lacks firepower. Young batsman Samson was the find of the last season and the team will expect him to do well this time too.

Steve Smith is again a good buy as he can provide stability in the middle and bowl leg-spin too. Binny has been very good for Rajasthan and a good all-rounder to have in the team along with Rajat Bhatia.

James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper can play the roles of power-hitters coming in lower down the order. Not to forget former India’s U-19 captain Unmukt Chand who is a talented batsman but yet to do justice to his talent.

Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson are some exciting bowling prospects but they lack experience of bowling in sub-continent conditions.

On the other hand Watson, Faulkner, Cooper and Tim Southee are experienced bowlers at International level which is a huge advantage for Rajasthan. In the spin department Tambe and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla will be Rajasthan’s choice and both are quality bowlers.

Dhawal Kulkarni, the former Mumbai Indians medium-pace bowler will certainly make the playing XI and we might see him as a first change bowler. The role of Watson as a bowler is as important as his batting; he provides the team the all needed balance.

Like their batting, the bowling department also looks settled but they don’t have genuine match-winners.

This year, the Royals will miss out on home advantage as no matches are scheduled in Jaipur which used to be their happy hunting ground.

This is a team that might not have star players but are fearsome competitors on field. It is hard to tell whether they will qualify for the knockout stages or not but if Watson contributes well with bat and bowl, we can expect some surprises.

© Cricket World 2014

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Apr 162014
Cashed-up IPL Aussies put to the test

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AUSTRALIA will be heavily represented when the Indian Premier League starts today. We look at Australia’s richest XI at this tournament and assess their prospects.


Rajasthan Royals ($2.2 million)

Shane Watson is an in-demand T20 player.

Shane Watson is an in-demand T20 player. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Watson may have his detractors, but he remains one of the hottest properties on the Twenty20 circuit. The Royals retained him in 2014 (meaning he was not available at auction) and have installed him as captain. He will lead a side brimming with Australian talent, including fellow all-rounder James Faulkner.

The highlight: Watson was instrumental in leading the Royals to the inaugural IPL title in 2008. He was named player of the tournament after scoring 472 runs at 47.20 and claiming 17 wickets at 22.52 (both fourth over all). He won the same award last season — the only player to have claimed the trophy twice.

The stats: Watson has played 55 games in the IPL. He has scored 1785 runs at 39.67 with a strike-rate of 145.6. He has taken 48 wickets at 26.40 with an economy rate of 7.19.

The quote: “We’ve got, in my thoughts, the strongest squad we’ve ever had for the Rajasthan Royals. We’ve got really high quality options and back-up for every position in our team which we haven’t exactly had every year in the past.”


Rajasthan Royals ($1.7 million)

James Faulkner is hoping he can repeat his successful performance in the IPL last year.

James Faulkner is hoping he can repeat his successful performance in the IPL last year. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Playing with his third franchise in four years after earlier stints with the Kings XI Punjab and the now defunct Pune Warriors. Like Watson, he was retained by the Royals after a stellar 2013 season with reports in India suggesting his wage this year has hit an astonishing $1.7 million.

The highlight: Faulkner was the IPL’s second highest wicket-taker in 2013 with 28, trailing only Dwayne Bravo’s 32. He boasted a superior average (15.25) and economy rate to Bravo (6.75) and claimed two of the three five-wicket hauls recorded during the tournament. His figures of 5-16 and 5-20 — both against the Sunrisers — were the best individual spells of any bowler in the IPL last year.

The stats: Faulkner has played 19 matches in the IPL. He has taken 32 wickets at 15.88 with an economy rate of 6.99. He has scored 71 runs at 11.83 with a strike rate of 101.43.

The quote: “(The Royals) have … explained how each wicket is going to be. They have taught me some of those key aspects and facts of Twenty20 cricket in India. The pitches are obviously a bit slower than back home, so I have been working on different variations.”


Kings XI Punjab ($1.1 million)

Mitchell Johnson won the 2014 Allan Border Medal.

Mitchell Johnson won the 2014 Allan Border Medal. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Johnson freely admits that Twenty20 is not his favoured format and the Australian paceman cost himself millions by declining to nominate for previous IPL auctions to focus on Test cricket. That changed last year and his efforts caught the attention of IPL recruiters.

The highlight: Johnson won the IPL at his first attempt last year with the Mumbai Indians. He was the franchise’s equal leading wicket taker with 24 alongside veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh. His performances were rewarded with a massive payday at the 2014 auction.

The stats: Johnson has played 17 matches in the IPL. He has taken 24 wickets at 19.12 with an economy rate of 7.17.

The quote: “One of the. things I got out of it was to come across different cultures in the side. So, you can get a bit of an understanding as to how other teams and other players go about it. And all in all, the IPL is just unbelievable. It’s a bit of a circus, the crowds are massive and get right behind it … And it’s just so full on.”


Kings XI Punjab ($1.06 million)

Glenn Maxwell will earn quite a paycheck for his IPL appearance.

Glenn Maxwell will earn quite a paycheck for his IPL appearance. Source: AFP

The backstory: Maxwell has netted more than $1 million at the last two IPL auctions. He was snapped up by the Mumbai Indians amid great fanfare in 2013, but ended up warming the bench for the majority of the tournament and played just three games. Popular Indian website Rediff labelled him a “million dollar waste”.

The highlight: Maxwell was used sparingly during Mumbai’s charge to the IPL-Champions League double last year.

The stats: Maxwell has played five matches in the IPL. He has scored 42 runs at 14.00 with a strike rate of 110.53. He has taken one wicket at 45.00 with an economy rate of 9.00.

The quote: “There was a big chunk that arrived in my account one day. My manager called me and said, ‘I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but Mumbai’s paid you 65 per cent.’ I said: “Yeah, that did cross my mind when I tried to get 20 bucks out at the ATM the other day. I’m still a bit shocked it all happened so quickly.”


Sunrisers Hyderabad ($978,000)

A sweet striker of the ball, Warner should continue his excellent form.

A sweet striker of the ball, Warner should continue his excellent form. Source: Getty Images

The backstory: Warner is entering his sixth season in the IPL, having played the previous five with the Delhi Daredevils. Warner ascended to the role of vice-captain with the Daredevils, but was part of the clean out after an unsuccessful 2013 campaign. He will be joined by compatriot Aaron Finch at Hyderabad this season.

The highlight: Warner smashed an unbeaten 107 from 69 deliveries against the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2010. He followed that with 109* from just 55 deliveries against Deccan charges two years later. Only Chris Gayle has scored more IPL centuries than Warner.

The stats: Warner has played 55 matches in the IPL. He has scored 1435 runs at 28.70 with a strike rate of 133.12.

The quote: “I am looking forward to playing for the Sunrisers. The team looks very good and there are a number of match winners in the side — Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra. But most importantly I will be opening the batting with Shikhar Dhawan. They had a clear strategy going in to the auction and the team reflects that.”


Mumbai Indians ($889,000)

Mike Hussey was a huge success playing for the Sydney Thunder.

Mike Hussey was a huge success playing for the Sydney Thunder. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Hussey is entering his seventh IPL campaign and his first with Mumbai. He had been an integral member of the most successful franchise in IPL history — the Chennai Super Kings — helping them to back-to-back titles in 2010-2011 and three more finals.

The highlight: Hussey was the leading run-scorer in the IPL last year with 733 runs at 52.35, eclipsing the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Koli, Suresh Raina and Shane Watson. He was the second player ever to score an IPL century after New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum. Hussey smashed an unbeaten 116 from 54 balls against Kings XI Punjab in 2008.

The stats: Hussey has played 46 matches in the IPL. He has scored 1691 runs at 44.50 with a strike rate of 124.34.

The quote: “I am really looking forward to spending time with (Sachin Tendulkar) and talking about life and cricket. He will probably be sick of me by the end of the IPL. It will be different but I am excited by the challenge of joining a team that I have admired and respected over the six years.”


Royal Challengers Bangalore ($889,000)

Mitchell Starc could set himself up for a fine IPL future should he do well in his debut

Mitchell Starc could set himself up for a fine IPL future should he do well in his debut season. Source: AFP

The backstory: Starc will make his IPL debut this season. He made international headlines in 2013 when he withdrew from the auction — costing himself up to $1 million — to focus on the Ashes series.

The highlight: Starc picked up close to $1 million at the 2014 auction. Ranked No. 2 on Cricket Australia’s central contract list last season, Starc has fallen back in Australia’s pace pecking order after a summer blighted by injuries. But Royal Challengers Bangalore feel he is poised for big things, and rewarded him with one of the biggest contracts for an overseas paceman in 2014.

The stats: On debut.

The quote: “In the past I have turned it down but with no cricket scheduled for Australia until September, this is a perfect chance”.


Delhi Daredevils ($755,000)

Coulter-Nile was shocked he was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for so much money.

Coulter-Nile was shocked he was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for so much money. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Mumbai engaged in a bidding war with Rajasthan and ended up shelling out $500,000 for the then little-known Australian all-rounder in 2013. He played only one match, but his subsequent form in Australia prompted Delhi to splash the cash this time around.

The highlight: Coulter-Nile’s only IPL scalp was a big one. He bowled Adam Gilchrist — a legend of the IPL who was named player of the tournament in 2009 — in Dhamasala last year. H can expect much more game time with the Daredevils this season.

The stats: Coulter-Nile has played one match in the IPL. He has taken one wicket at 29.00.

The quote: “I went away to get some money to pay for dinner (in 2013), came back and all the boys were at the table and someone had the auction up on their phone. I came over and looked down and I remember thinking, ‘What? This must be a joke’, because it was up to $US250,000 at that stage and I was in shock, I just couldn’t talk.”


Sunrisers Hyderabad ($710,000)

Aaron Finch is known for a high strike rate.

Aaron Finch is known for a high strike rate. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Finch is entering his sixth season in the IPL, having represented the Delhi Daredevils and now defunct Pune Warriors before being required by the Sunrisers this year. He paid alongside Warner with the Daredevils and will link with him again in Hyderabad.

The highlight: Finch had limited game time in his first four IPL seasons but broke through for 14 appearances last year. He belted four half centuries during that span, including a personal-best 67 from 45 balls against Chennai and a man of the match-winning 64 against Rajasthan. He was Pune’s highest run scorer last year.

The stats: Finch has played 23 matches in the IPL. He has scored 579 runs at 25.17 with a strike rate of 127.53.

The quote: “Sehwag told us that the important thing about playing in the subcontinent is that at times you can try and capitalise on the new ball when the field is in. The ball is at its best for batting and that’s when you get the opportunity to get ahead in the game.”


Rajasthan Royals ($710,000)

Steve Smith was a star player for the Sydney Sixers in the KFC Big Bash.

Steve Smith was a star player for the Sydney Sixers in the KFC Big Bash. Source: News Limited

The backstory: Smith had to wait longer than most to experience active duty in the IPL. He was picked up by Bangalore in 2010 as a replacement for Jesse Ryder but was never called off the bench. The now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala spent $250, 000 at the 2011 auction but he missed the tournament due to ankle surgery. He enjoyed two productive seasons with the now defunct Pune Warriors in 2012 and 2013.

The highlight: Smith was named man of the match in his debut IPL match against Mumbai Indians last year. He hit 39 from 32 balls to guide Pune to victory on a low-scoring affair in Mumbai. He can expect much more game time his year under the captaincy of Shane Watson, having impressed as skipper of the Sydney Sixers in the BBL.

The stats: Smith has played 22 matches in the IPL. He has scored 521 runs at 40.08 with a strike rate of 130.58.

The quote: “I’m happy with the results I’ve had recently and just being able to win games for Australia at the moment is my aim. You never know what’s going to happen down the track. That extra bit of responsibility and captaining this (NSW) group here is amazing.”


Kings XI Punjab ($577,000)

George Bailey will have his T20 skills tested in the IPL.

George Bailey will have his T20 skills tested in the IPL. Source: Getty Images

The backstory: Bailey has had limited exposure to the IPL, having played just four games for the Chennai Super Kings in 2009 and 2010. That will change this season when he leads Kings XI Punjab.

The highlight: Bailey has divided opinion across India since being named Kings XI’s captain for 2014. A limited IPL record and a relatively modest auction price did not dissuade Punjab management from installing Australia’s national Twenty20 captain to the top job with the franchise. He will have a. Large Australian contingent to call upon this season.

The stats: Bailey has played four matches in the IPL. He has scored 63 runs at 21.00 with a strike rate of 96.92.

The quote: “(Sehwag) is going to be a leader in the team anyway with his experience and talent. I’m sure he will pass that to the youngsters and motivate them. I am equally excited to play with Virender as much as everybody. I also love the attitude of the people in Punjab, it will be great to get back here for the second-leg.”

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