Category Archives: IPl

What a finish of IPL 9

There is no justice in this world; not for poor, not for deprived and especially not for a bowler in T20 cricket. IPL 9 was proving no different. It started with a bang for batmen and even scores of 170 and 190 were easily chased. Win the toss and chase the target was mantra of IPL 9. For the first time since the start of IPL, the team batting second won more than twice number of matches than the team batting first. Bowlers were playing part of villain who were supposed to be thrashed by heroes i.e batsmen. Even world class bowlers were toyed by rookie batsmen. Ashwin was honked for sixes by every batsmen who were supposed to be no one in cricketing world. How bad IPL 9 was for bowlers can be construed from the fact that Purple Cap holder of IPL 9 has least number of wickets compared to purple cap holders of all previous IPLs. SIxes and fours were raining, centuries were being made by batsmen and bowlers looked helpless and hapless.World seemed to be ending for bowlers. Pitches like Chinnaswamy and Wankhade were turned into graveyard for bowlers and then the final of IPL 9 happened.

IPL 9 final started on an unusual note, captain of Sunrisers disregarded the mantra of IPL 9 i.e win the toss and bowl first and it was even more surprising that he opted to do so on a Bangalore Pitch where any score can be chased. He didn’t care about stats screaming on his face that out of 59 matches played before the final, 41 has been won by team batting second. Everybody was surprised by Warner’s decision of batting first. Kohli even went on to say that Had he known that Warner would opt to bat first, he wouldn’t have come for toss. Amid all this, there was unflinching trust of Warner in his bowlers. He didn’t care that Kohli, the master chaser, is in ominous form, he didn’t care that RCB have most brutal batting line up waiting to pounce upon bowlers on a docile Bangalore pitch. He just didn’t care, he put trust in this theory of putting runs on scoreboard in knockout matches and then trusting his bowlers to defend it.

Soon after the start of match, it seemed certain that Warner’s decision to bat first will backfire as batsmen piled on runs and pitch looked yet another graveyard for bowlers. Although Sunrisers put 208 run on board but it was not safe considering the pitch and form of Bangalore batsmen. As soon as RCB started batting, it looked another day of injustice for bowlers. Gayle dispatched ball out of ground with ease and RCB completed 100 runs in just 9 over. Even after departure of Gayle, there was no respite for bowlers as Virat took the charge. When Virat Kohli departed in 13th over, RCB just needed 69 runs in 7.1 overs. It was by no means tough task in T20 cricket. This seemed just another day of injustice for bowlers, another day when bowlers are supposed to be playing role of villain and buried under the famous graveyard pitch of Bangalore. It seemed to be going all wrong for yet another day for bowlers and then something clicked, there was sudden change in momentum of game. AB de Villiers, the weapon of bowlers’ destruction was back in pavilion along with Watson and KL Rahul. Justice for bowlers seemed to be in reach and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur and Ben Cutting didn’t disappoint. In a pressure cooker situation, they kept clam and used slower balls, cutters and yorkers with precision. Their guile with ball was enough to stifle chase of RCB and cut short their dream of lifting IPL trophy in their backyard. Sunrisers’ bowlers grabbed victory not for only their team but also for all the bowlers who suffered at the hand of batsmen because of flat pitches; broader and powerful bats and the rules tilted in favour of batsmen.
What a day it was day to get the justice. On the big final day of IPL 9 , on a flat pitch, against most brutal batting line up, bowlers come triumph. Finally, in an era where bowlers are forced to carry only knives when batsmen have luxury of carrying cannons,  justice was being served for bowlers, at least for a day. What a finish of IPL 9 it was.

 

Indian Premier League : Changing the way cricket is being played

Indian Premier League has made a big impact on cricket and changed the way it is being played. T20 cricket, which originally started in 2003, was made an ICC tournament in 2007 but the popularity of T20 cricket came with inaugural edition of IPL that led to starting of numerous T20 leagues all over the world. IPL took T20 cricket to the center stage of cricketing world.

On 18th April 2008, Brendon Mccullum played a scintillating knock in inaugural match of IPL. He scored 158 runs in just 73 balls. That knock was just a glimpse to what was in the store for the future of cricket. That was the first glimpse of the changes that IPL will bring in the cricket. 9th edition of the IPL is about to finish and when we look back at all these nine seasons of IPL then we realize what massive changes IPL has brought in the cricket.

Earlier there were few players like Mccullum, Afridi and Sehwag who used to play fearless cricket while others stuck to traditional approach, even AB de Villiers was subdued at that time. After the introduction of IPL, it has unleashed monsters in cricket who know no fear. Now, there are umpteen number of cricketers who can hit the ball hardest: be it Russell, Miller, Maxwell, Butler, Smith or the new sensation Braithwaite and here we, still, haven’t talked about the big daddies of the game: Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni. IPL not only popularized Sehwag’s theory of “See the ball, hit the ball” but also ingrained this theory in the brains of every batsmen.

Effects of IPL has spilled over to ODIs and even to Test cricket. Let’s first look at the stats to know exactly how IPL is affecting ODIs and Test cricket. From the start of new millennium i.e from 1st Jan 2000 till the start of IPL i.e 18th April 2008, score of 300 was crossed 185 times where post IPL it has been done for 253 times. Similarly, between 1st Jan 2000 to 18th April 2008, score of 300 or more was successfully chased 19 times whereas post IPL this number has almost doubled to 35. Similar changes are seen in Runs Per Over (RPO) in the same comparing period. RPO, between 1st Jan 2000 to 18th April 2008, hovered between 4.5 to 5.0 whereas post IPL it has gone between 5.0 to 5.5. In 2016, it stands at 5.72. In list of fastest 100 in ODIs, 5 out of first 10 belongs to post IPL era. In fastest 50 list too, 6 out of first 10 belongs to post IPL era.

New millennium has seen many changes which have tilted game in favour of batsmen. Rules have been changed to suit batsmen; bats have become broader and more powerful; pitches have become docile; all these factors helped batsmen to improve their run scoring ability but the audacity to play unconventional and innovative shots, the ability to score at brisk pace have been provided by IPL. Some of that audacity has also been transferred into traditional test cricket.

In test cricket, 300 in 4th inning is considered very difficult to score. In the history of test cricket, there are only 92 instances when score of 300 and above in 4th innings were scored. Out of those 92 instances, 30 belongs to Post IPL era. If scoring 300 in 4th innings was considered difficult than chasing 300 was considered improbable and a target of 400 was considered safer than White House. In the history of test cricket, there are only 28 instances when a score of 300 or above was chased and out of which 6 belongs to post IPL era.

One perceptible change, that doesn’t need any backing from stat, is drastic improvement in fielding standards. The kind of acrobatic and superhuman efforts that we see in post IPL era was seldom seen earlier. Fielding, which was not regarded as important aspect of cricket, has now become a major aspect and important criteria for players’ selection. One of the recent example is how Sarfaraz Khan was dropped from RCB, even after good batting performance, because of his substandard fielding.

IPL has also made cricket a game where taking decision based on stats is more important than taking decision on what brain/intuition think is right. Game is now more about exploiting weakness of opponents than banking on own strengths. All thanks to, trend of computer geniuses sitting with their laptops in IPL franchises dugouts and pronouncing judgments based on their findings. Even if bowlers feel that, on the pitch, it would be judicious to ball a short-pitch ball directed at body of batsmen. They are forced to try to bowl a yorker in death overs as the stats say that yorker can’t be hit easily. This trend of bowling as per stats leads to mistakes which could have been easily avoided. Latest example of it is Ben Stokes’ final over in T20 world cup final. A bowler who is not used to bowl yorkers tried to do that and was hit for four sixes. A Malinga, a Bumrah or a Chris Jordan could have done it because bowling yorkers is their strength but not of Ben Stokes. May be, if Ben stokes bowled to his strengths the result could have been different on that night of T20 finals.

Cricket is fast becoming game of power hitters under the influence of IPL but on the flip side, it is gradually eating up traditional grinding skills of batsmen and patience of bowlers. Now a days, test matches are finished in two-three days not because of superior skill of batsmen or bowlers but because of lack of it. T20 cricket has forced players to alter their game and forced them to forget the skill of patience. Earlier, batsmen used to have patience and they gave due respect to bowlers in conditions that was adverse for batting but now batsmen neither have patience nor have skills to survive in adverse condition which results in finishing of match in 3 days on bowler friendly pitches. Similarly, bowlers go for plenty in ODI cricket where pitches are suited for batsmen. They also need conducive track to perform. Even best of the bowlers struggle on flat tracks, only few bowlers bring changes/variations in their bowling and become successful on pitches that are conducive for batsmen. Gone are days when we saw batsmen having last laugh on bowler friendly wicket or bowlers stealing the show in adverse conditions. Only old school cricketers like Malinga, Nehra, Hashim Amla are some of the exceptions. New generation of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson are few of the torch bearers of traditional cricket and yet successful in the generation of power hitters, rest of the lot have come far away from traditional cricket and made T20 style of cricket mainstream.

This article is also published here at brokencricket.com

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IPL6 : Journey Continues

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Cricket is played all around the world but it’s heart resides in India. Passion for cricket in India is unmatched. Inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 was won by India, so it was inevitable: Rise and Rise of T20 cricket. IPL satiated all it’s demand and was perfect recipe for Indian mass who were high on T20 success of India. IPL was perfect mixture of excitement, entertainment and money. IPL made cricket alive and kicking.
In it’s journey of 5 years, IPL left cricket behind. Cricket was lost somewhere. Controversies , Night parties , allegation of match fixing and money laundering took centre stage. Its popularity took a nose dive and post 2011 ODI world cup win it further went down with poor performance of Team India on international Arena. There was no fun watching Rohit Sharma hitting sixes in IPL when he can’t perform in Indian Colours. People wanted cricket back. IPL6 seem to start afresh with new vigour, leaving all the controversies behind. People are thrilled with Team India’s recent performance and are looking forward to find another Ashwin from IPL6 for Team India. They are excited to know that Ishant Sharma will have inputs from great Waqar himself. Indian players have to learn from these greats. Ask any South African domestic player they will die to have an input from Great Kallis on batting or bowling. Experience of Kallis, Sangakara, Kevin Peterson, Dale Styne is up for grabs in IPL. It’s now time for Indian domestic player to make most of it.They should realise money in pocket does no harm but money in head does it a lot. And at the end of the day money is end result of performance.IPL is meant to benefit Indian Cricket and its shouting “utilise me”.
India is looking forward to IPL6 to get another Ashwin, Kohli or Raina, to see whether Sehwag has some fire left in him, to see if Rohit Sharma can make it to another level, to see Sachin-Styne tussle, to see Gayle-Storm, to have some excitement and to have much of cricket. Come Home IPL6, India is waiting