Tag Archives: Suresh Raina

Eliminator 2 – Chennai Super Kings Vs Delhi Capitals

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Despite their indifferent season Chennai Super Kings will start as favourites against Delhi Capitals

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC) with take on each other at Visakhapatnam tonight for a spot in the IPL finals. They will be meeting Mumbai Indians in the finals on Sunday. Both teams had a good league phase as they both finished on an identical 18 points. Delhi Capitals who began the season with some inconsistent performances finally found their mettle towards the latter half to reach the play-offs after 7 years. By beating Sun Risers Hyderabad in the first eliminator they also completed another first by winning their first knockout IPL game ever.

Vivo IPL 2019 M50 - CSK v DC

Delhi Capitals will hope that they can show enough mental fortitude to pull one through against CSK

DC have a strong team. Their batting led by Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant has been firing and their bowling with Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada did very well during the league phase. Even though they are missing Rabada for the play-offs they have a world class replacement in Trent Boult who has had a good couple of games. The addition of Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford also has given them a good balance which they were missing early in the tournament. Prithvi Shaw who seemed checked out after a great start to the season came back some sort of a rhythm in the eliminator 1 with a fifty and Rishabh Pant looked in fine touch with a match winning 49.

For CSK though batting has been their achilles heel throughout the season. Their opening combination barring couple of games has struggled and Shane Watson on whom the team had put lots of faith hasn’t really repaid them with performances. Suresh Raina has once again done well without being spectacular and apart from MS Dhoni the rest of the batting has simply struggled. The bowling has done well especially on slow Chennai wickets but again they haven’t tried anything different even when they have been on the road except for few games here and there. For CSK to be competitive they need to have their batting firing for them to have a chance against a good DC unit.

Head to Head:

Chennai Super Kings have had the wood over Delhi Capitals over the years. They have beaten DC twice already this season and they have an overall record of 13-6 against DC in IPL.

Key Players:

MS Dhoni (CSK) – There isn’t a player who is more important to a franchise than MSD is for Chennai Super Kings. CSK have shown that during this season where they have struggled to win without their captain in the helm. MSD has been their best batter this season and has already scored 405 runs at an average of 135. He will once again be crucial for the men in yellow.

Imran Tahir (CSK) – Tahir has been the constant for CSK this season while they have rotated their other spinners around. Tahir has had a wonderful season so far and is currently second in the list of highest wicket takers behind Kagiso Rabada. With an economy rate of 6.62, he has not only picked up wickets but also has been tough to get away in the middle overs.

Shikhar Dhawan (DC) – Delhi Capitals have never been in this situation before. With a chance now to reach the finals and go all they way, they would his experience to guide them. Dhawan after an indifferent start has had a good season with the bat. He has scored 503 runs so far and will be expected to guide a young team in the all important clash.

Rishabh Pant (DC) – Rishabh Pant will always remain DC’s talisman in any game they play in IPL. He showed in a tight game in the Play-Offs how destructive he can be and how he can change the course of the game in a short span of time. He once again will be crucial in the middle overs against CSK’s spinners as he can easily break open the game with few big hits.

This will be a really mouth watering contest. Probably last season I wouldn’t have given DC any chance against CSK in a play-off game but again this time, the latter haven’t been at their best throughout. DC have the bowling and the firepower in the batting to pull this through but again I just feel CSK just has enough experience to pull this through.

Probable Playing X1’s:

CSK X1 – Shane Watson, Faf Du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C & WK), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Scott kuggeleijn/Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir

DC X1 – Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Colin Munro, Axar Patel, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Trent Boult

Quotes:

“We need to have more balance in the first six – around 40 would be nice. That may get you to a score of 150-160 which can be a match-winning score. We’re just falling behind at different stages but it’s the first six that’s holding us back when we lose wickets. Maybe in case we just throw the shackles off and have a crack in the next game and see if we can just get ourselves into form and confidence,” – Stephen Fleming

“It’s not about who we’re playing, it’s about how our preparations are. And we’re really looking forward to it and hope we do what we’ve done earlier” – Prithvi Shaw

CW2015 – India needs to decide on the team combination soon

The Indian team hasn’t had a great start to the ODI Tri-Series. After losing a hard fought game to Australia in the opener, they have been hammered by England in the second game. While the first game was marred by poor lower order batting, the second game had a complete batting failure.

With the World cup just a month away India seem to be having a boat load of issues with the team combination. Let us look at the problem areas for the team ahead of the marquee tournament.

The Openers:

India played 2 different combinations in the first two games and Shikhar Dhawan has struggled to score in both those games. After an underwhelming test series with the bat Dhawan seems to be struggling to put bat to ball in his favorite format of the game. It seems like India needs to take the harsh decision and give the Rohit/Rahane combination a chance in the remaining games. Rohit scored a hundred in the first game and Rahane looked good in the second before throwing his wicket away to a poor shot. The opening combination is the most important thing in Australia/New Zealand and it can make or break a team. India need to decide on what combination they are planning to field in the world cup and play that duo in the upcoming games in the tri-series and in the warm up games leading to the world cup.

 The Middle Order:

India has experimented quite a lot in this area as well. Virat Kohli who was India’s permanent fixture at number 3 has been pushed to number 4 for some strange reason. Ambati Rayudu was used at number 3 at the Gabba. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni complete the Indian middle order. Virat Kohli should bat at 3 in all games, as he is India’s best ODI player. Suresh Raina will bat at 5 followed by MS Dhoni at 6. So that leaves Ambati Rayudu at number 4. The positions of Raina and Rayudu can be changed based on the team situation but India ideally should play Kohli at 3 and Rayudu at 4. India does not have too much room for experimentation in this regard as they haven’t picked another middle order batsman. Rahane who can double as a middle order batsman may have to open since Dhawan hasn’t been scoring any runs.

The All-rounders:

This is a very interesting spot for the Indian team. India has picked potentially 4 all-rounders. 3 of them are spin bowling all-rounders and one a medium pace all-rounder. It will be interesting to see which combination India will play at the world cup. Stuart Binny did a decent job in the game at Gabba scoring 44 runs with the bat and picking up the only wicket to fall. Once Ravi Jadeja is fit, I don’t think India will be playing Akshar Patel in the X1. The tussle for the one spin all-rounder will be between Jadeja and Ashwin. India might play both of them in venues which might have some help for the spinners and play one of them in the combination of Binny in the other venues. Jadeja has been Dhoni’s go to man in ODI’s, so it will be fair to assume that he will be India’s first choice spinner in the world cup.

The Bowling:

This will be the most talked about combination for India ahead of the world cup. Looking at the squad selected for the world cup, it is pretty hard to imagine how India is going to take 10 wickets in the game. The bowlers as seen in the test matches don’t have any control over the scoring with the new ball, which is going to be crucial in the world cup. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami haven’t been the most economical bowlers for India and haven’t been that effective with the new ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has struggled in Australia and hasn’t been able to pick up too many wickets. This leaves just Ishant who hasn’t played in the on-going tri-series due to an injury and might not take part in the rest of the series as well. This will mean that India will struggle to find the right bowling combination for the world cup. Ideally India should play Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant and Shami/Umesh. India cannot play both Shami and Umesh in the X1. Even though Ishant and Bhuvneshwar might not get you too many wickets, they can at least give you some much needed control with the new ball building up some pressure. Shami is good with the old ball which might help Dhoni to keep him for the middle and later overs.

So all in all it does look like a very tall order for the Indians to defend the world cup in Australia and New Zealand. The Indian bowling has relied a lot on spinners over the last year or so but in Australia/New Zealand they wouldn’t be that effective. India did not pick a wrist spinner in their squad which might work against them in the world cup. The batting too looks unsettled and with players looking out of form. Things do not look great for Dhoni and Fletcher ahead of the world cup at this point. India needs to decide on their best X1 in the upcoming couple of games as they don’t have too much room to experiment anyways with the World Cup Squad. The non-selection of an additional middle order bat and an additional pacer might work against the team in the world cup.

Below is my X1 for the world cup. The below X1 is the best combination I feel India can put up from the squad selected for the world cup.

India X1 (WC): Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli (VC), Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C, WKT), Stuart Binny, Ravi Ashwin/Ravi Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

World T20 – Key players for team India

The 2012 World T20 is just few days away and the Indian team once again enters the competition with lots of hopes. The team though hasn’t played a lot of international T20 this year and will have to make the most of the two warm up games ahead of the competition. India is about to play first of their two warm up games in few days and let us look at few of India’s main players in this year’s competition.

Virat Kohli (M: 11, RS: 278, Ave: 34.75, SR: 134.29)

There is no doubt that Virat Kohli is India’s best player this year across all formats. He has been in scintillating form throughout this year and will be the key for India’s progress in the world T20. Kohli would be hoping to carry on his good form into this competition and will be hoping to make an impact. It was interesting to see Virat opening the batting against New Zealand and it is unclear if that is what the Indian think tank has in mind for the world cup.

Suresh Raina (M: 27, RS: 658, Ave: 32.90, SR: 137.94)

Raina is probably India’s most experienced player in this format. Considering that he has played in all 5 IPL’s for Chennai Super Kings and hasn’t missed many games, he probably has played the most T20 games by an Indian. His explosive style of batting with his amazing fielding makes him a very important member in the T20 squad. He also has India’s only hundred in the International T20 and will be again a key member in the top order. Suresh Raina also provides Dhoni with an extra bowling option. His strike rate and Average in this format is excellent and he will be a huge impact player for India again in 2012 edition of World T20.

Harbhajan Singh (M: 23, W: 18, Ave: 30.5, ER: 6.44)

Even though Harbhajan Singh hasn’t been seen in Indian colors for almost a year, he is expected to play a very important role in the world T20. Ravichandran Ashwin, who is a key component in the Indian ODI and test squads, surprisingly hasn’t done much in the 20 over format. Harbhajan who was part of India’s winning campaign in 2007 is still probably is India’s best spinner in this format. Harbhajan has the experience and his economy rate of 6.44 is brilliant over 20 games. Harbhajan seemed to be getting back to form in his last few games in county cricket and the warm up games will give us more information about his form. Harbhajan will be an important member in the Indian team and I expect him to play most of the games in this tournament.

Zaheer Khan (M: 13, W: 14, Ave: 25.28, ER: 7.75)

Even though Zaheer’s T20 record is nothing to write home about, he is still India’s premier bowler with the new ball. Zaheer’s presence in the team is for sure a great advantage for the Indian team. He is brilliant with the new ball and the Sri Lankan pitches help bowlers who can swing the new ball. He can be handful bowling under lights and India would be hoping for some early wickets from him.

Irfan Pathan (M: 19, W: 23, Ave: 21.60, ER: 7.88)

The return of Irfan to the Indian team earlier this year was a welcome relief. Irfan has been brilliant with both bat and ball since his comeback. He has got his swing back and has been bowling with decent pace. He was just involved in a series in Sri Lanka and the experience would help him a great deal. He has also been striking the ball beautifully with the bat making him the vital member of the team. He will be sharing the new ball with Zaheer and will for sure cause a lot of problems for the batsmen with his late swing.

Yuvraj Singh (M: 24, RS: 601, W: 8, BTAve: 31.63, BLAve: 26, SR: 150.25)

Yuvraj Singh can be called as the superman of cricket. When last year the news broke out about his cancer people were worried about his career. The man though has great heart and the way he has made a speedy recovery shows his dedication and courage. Even though people called the selection of Yuvraj as an emotional one, his presence in the T20 team is a huge bonus. He batted without much match practice against New Zealand and scored a brilliant 36 and it seemed like he had never been away from the team. He also gives Dhoni an option with the ball and also is a fantastic in-fielder. You cannot go wrong with selecting Yuvraj in any short format and he will be India’s trump card in this tournament.

Others players who could make an impact:

G Gambhir (M: 28, RS: 755, Ave: 30.20, SR: 122.56)

Gambhir was India’s premier batsman in 2007 victorious campaign. Gambhir has been struggling for form recently in all formats. He along with Sehwag has struggled to provide good starts at the top of the order. India would hope that both the openers come back to form in the T20 world cup. Everyone knows Gambhir’s expertise against spin and he can be devastating if he gets going. India would be looking to play both Gambhir and Sehwag in both the warm up games and would hope to see them scoring some runs. Gambhir has an impressive T20 record and would want to turn it on at the biggest scene.

The comeback man:

Lakshmipathy Balaji makes a comeback to the Indian team after 5 years. He would most probably be fighting for the one spot with Dinda in the X1. Balaji makes the squad due to his brilliant performance in the IPL 2012 where he was extremely economical and also picked up wickets for KKR. It will be interesting to see how he goes in this tournament. A good performance in the World Cup might give him a decent run in the Indian team again.

The rookies:

Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane will be the rookies for the Indian team this tournament. Extremely talented neither of them will be first choice pick in the X1. Rahane impressed one and all with his brilliant batting as an opener in England and Tiwary has done extremely well in the middle order in the limited opportunities he has received in the ODI team. Tiwary will be battling for one spot with Rohit Sharma and Tiwary has a difficult task of competing with Sehwag and Gambhir.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma form the rest of the squad who could make a huge impact. Both these players are extremely talented and have done very well for their franchises in the IPL. For Rohit Sharma though this might be the make or break tournament and would want to make solid contributions to the Indian middle order. Ravichandran Ashwin’s case is pretty confusing as he is India’s premier spinner in ODI’s and his struggle in T20I’s is rather perplexing. He has done extremely well in the IPL for CSK and it will one be a matter of time before he translates that success to T20I’s. For now though I guess Harbhajan might beat him to make the final X1 considering his experience and current form. MS Dhoni will be India’s captain and wicket keeper. He has struggled to make an impact in this format with the bat and would want to correct the same. His leadership in the shorter format this year has been brilliant and his calm demeanor on the field will be extremely important in a high profile tournament like this.

India has a very balanced squad and has a great chance of repeating 2007 success. So I wish the team best of luck and I hope they put up a good show in the World T20.

West Indies Tour – Time to test the bench strength

The Indian selectors were forced to sort of send an A team to West Indies under Suresh Raina as most of the senior players decided to either rest or missed out due to injury. The biggest offenders were Sehwag and Ghambir as they were already aware of their injuries but still decided to participate in the IPL. Sachin and Yuvraj also requested the selectors to be omitted from the squad to the West Indies. The funniest part is that these same players decided to play through the IPL even though they were exhausted after an emotional World Cup triumph. An international series treated with such scant respect is something hard to imagine.

Even though the seniors miss out from the series, this for sure gives us an opportunity to test out our bench strength. Suresh Raina who will be captaining the side will be aware that this isn’t going to be an easy series. No matter which team turns up for this series, India are expected to win both the test and ODI series comfortably against a weak West Indies side. This will be Duncan Fletcher’s first series as Indian coach and he will get the firsthand account of India’s bench strength. For the youngsters though this will be a great opportunity to showcase their talent at the international arena.

Players like Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, and Shikar Dhawan would for sure get an extended run in the 5 match series and they would hope to cement their places in the ODI squad. The ODI team tough would probably suffer the least as we still have Raina, Rohit, Parthiv Patel and Kohli in the team who has played quite a few ODI’s for India. The bowling also has lots of experience in the presence of Bajji, Munaf, Praveen and Ishant along with Ashwin and Mishra. So the ODI team in all probability should do reasonably well but the major issues will be with the test squad which is missing three major players in the top of the order.

The test team will mark the debut of Abhinav Mukund, the dashing opener from Tamil Nadu who has a brilliant domestic record. He will join Murali Vijay at the top of the order. Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and captain Dhoni will have to probably guide the middle order which might consist of Kohli/Badri/Raina in the mix. The bowling though will be at its full strength in the presence of Zaheer, Sreesanth, Ishant, Munaf and Bajji. The selectors have done a decent job with the team selection considering that they were left with no option.

The ODI series begins tomorrow and it gives a depleted WI team a great opportunity to challenge an under strength Indian team. The series for sure will be competitive and Raina will surely want a better series as captain than the one he had in Zimbabwe last year. The series will be important for few youngsters who would want to impress with some good performances. This series also gives us fans a peek into the future, a future without Sachin/Dravid and Laxman in the squad. This will also give us a chance to look at the options we have when the greats eventually hand up their boots. The series starts tomorrow with the one-off T20 game, which will be followed by 5 ODI games. The test series begins on the 20th of June for which Dravid, Dhoni, Zaheer and Laxman will join the team. An interesting series in the offing and in spite of the big names missing from the squad, team India should win both the series comfortably. Good luck to Raina and hopefully he can complete the ODI series with a win under his belt.

Calls to axe the seniors immature

“Heroes to zeroes” is the phrase which can be used to best describe the current status of the so called Fab Four. A dismal batting performance in Srilanka did not help their cause either. But the question everyone need to ask themselves is that “Are we ready to play test cricket without the Fab Four?” . If you asked me that question I would say that we are not. The Indian one-day team has its flaws but has been able to be successful most of the times. The credit for the same should actually go to Dhoni and the recent incredible form shown by Raina and Ghambir.

Even though we have done well in the shorter format, except for Ghambir, Dhoni and Raina none of the other batsmen have been able to be consistant. Yuvraj seems to have lost the plot and might not find a spot in one day squad when India play next, Rohit has been patchy, Sehwag is just making a comeback and Badrinath has just played 3 games. About 5 years back everyone thought that Sehwag, Yuvraj and Kaif will be India’s backbone in the coming years when the fab four decide to call it quits but thats not the case now.

Yuvraj is badly out of form, Sehwag has just made a comeback and kaif is fighting to get a chance again to play for India. The selectors need to be really smart about the transition in tests. India need to play Sachin, Dravid and Laxman in the middle order for next couple of years and rotate the youngsters in the squad so that they gain some experiance. Badrinath and Rohit Sharma seem to be the future of Indian middle order and they need to be gradually moved into the test team.

Replacing Sachin and Dravid in the Indian middle order can be a overwhelming experiance and a smooth transition from ODI to test cricket will help them a great deal. Sachin, Dravid and Laxman for sure have 2 more years of cricket left in them and calls to drop them from the test team seems immature. Sachin had a great tour to Australia and Laxman has never really been out of form. Dravid and Ganguly were the ones who would have been under discussion and it seems that the selectors have gone on with the overall ability rathar than the recent form.

The Indian team needs the experiance of Sachin and Dravid for the upcoming series against the Australians. Badrinath and Rohit sharma if selected can learn a lot in this series. The Indian selectors need to plan for the exit of the seniors by giving opportunities to the players whom they think would be replacing them in the future. I would think that Virat kohli, Badrinath, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma would form an excellent middle order for the Indians with Ghambir and Sehwag opening the batting.

The current series against the Australians will be very interesting and India would be hoping that they will be able to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. It will be interesting to see who would be replacing Ganguly in the test series which is about to start on the 9th of October. All in all the series would be a great watch and I am going for a 2-1 series victory for the Indians this time.

Calls to axe the seniors immature

The Fab Four under the hammer

The Fab Four under the hammer

“Heroes to zeroes” is the phrase which can be used to best describe the current status of the so called Fab Four. A dismal batting performance in Srilanka did not help their cause either. But the question everyone need to ask themselves is that “Are we ready to play test cricket without the Fab Four?” . If you asked me that question I would say that we are not. The Indian one-day team has its flaws but has been able to be successful most of the times. The credit for the same should actually go to Dhoni and the recent incredible form shown by Raina and Ghambir.

Even though we have done well in the shorter format, except for Ghambir, Dhoni and Raina none of the other batsmen have been able to be consistant. Yuvraj seems to have lost the plot and might not find a spot in one day squad when India play next, Rohit has been patchy, Sehwag is just making a comeback and Badrinath has just played 3 games. About 5 years back everyone thought that Sehwag, Yuvraj and Kaif will be India’s backbone in the coming years when the fab four decide to call it quits but thats not the case now.

Yuvraj is badly out of form, Sehwag has just made a comeback and kaif is fighting to get a chance again to play for India. The selectors need to be really smart about the transition in tests. India need to play Sachin, Dravid and Laxman in the middle order for next couple of years and rotate the youngsters in the squad so that they gain some experiance. Badrinath and Rohit Sharma seem to be the future of Indian middle order and they need to be gradually moved into the test team.

Replacing Sachin and Dravid in the Indian middle order can be a overwhelming experiance and a smooth transition from ODI to test cricket will help them a great deal. Sachin, Dravid and Laxman for sure have 2 more years of cricket left in them and calls to drop them from the test team seems immature. Sachin had a great tour to Australia and Laxman has never really been out of form. Dravid and Ganguly were the ones who would have been under discussion and it seems that the selectors have gone on with the overall ability rathar than the recent form.

The Indian team needs the experiance of Sachin and Dravid for the upcoming series against the Australians. Badrinath and Rohit sharma if selected can learn a lot in this series. The Indian selectors need to plan for the exit of the seniors by giving opportunities to the players whom they think would be replacing them in the future. I would think that Virat kohli, Badrinath, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma would form an excellent middle order for the Indians with Ghambir and Sehwag opening the batting.

The current series against the Australians will be very interesting and India would be hoping that they will be able to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. It will be interesting to see who would be replacing Ganguly in the test series which is about to start on the 9th of October. All in all the series would be a great watch and I am going for a 2-1 series victory for the Indians this time.