Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting it right

Stephen Fleming made the point during an innings break, in the recently concluded IPL2. When teams have only one way to play, they become dangerous. Chennai had set Mohali a target of about 10 RPO in 18 overs and Mohali came within a whisker of winning. A few days later, KKR took a similar approach and surmounted 190 in 19 overs. A decade back Saurav Ganguly led India to a famous chase in Dhaka for a cup-final win over Pakistan (the first after several years). More recently South Africa surpassed 434 against the Aussies. The sheer magnitude of the task fires up the chasing team and if they get off to a flier, fielders become jellies and hope that the next steepler does not come their way.

As for teams, so for individuals. I have earlier written about Yusuf Pathan being a 'game-breaker'. The trick lies in giving him an environment to express himself and finding a role, wherein if he comes off, you win in a hurry and if he doesn't - well, there is a 'real' batsman to handle it from there on. 20-20, we can see is not all crash bang and wallop. There are ebbs and flows here too, though the duration is much shorter. With Pathan in the mix, with the right role to play, the battle-weary Indians be a bigger force to reckon with.

Dhoni would almost always be tempted to leave Yusuf as the last 'specialist' if he makes it to the playing 11, just above the bowlers/allrounder. It would make better sense to sandwich him among the batsman, perhaps at no 5 between Yuvraj and Rohit, moving him upto 4 in case of a strong start.

That way, Yusuf will almost certainly walk into the middle overs with the spinners/ trundlers in operation. He can play in the mode Fleming mentioned. In case the top order is blown away Rohit can be sent up or even Dhoni can come up and nurdle away as he is prone to doing over the last one and a half year, and hold back Yuvraj and Yusuf a little bit. In almost all other cases, though, Yusuf can be allowed thrill us with his abilities. The think tank must resist the temptation to open with him or send him at 3, which I believe are a slot too high for him even in T20. 

Talking about opening, we have two big guns, badly misfiring and threatening to blow holes in their own camp (enough battle imagery). Problem is there's no backup for them or for the Skipper/Keeper. Funnily enough Dhoni had Parthiv in CSK to keep wickets, open, run around in the outfield, drive the team bus, double up as masseur, do the souvenir shopping etc but no standby for the 'title defence'. 

How about the boffins at BCCI showing some foresight, spending a few pennies and keeping Dinesh Karthik on standby. (Not banking on them to) The obvious counter argument is that DK shone as a late middle order finisher and he may fail as opener. I submit the following reasons.

Outside the current squad (and the 'seniors') let's do a top of the mind recall based on proven ability and promise. T Suman, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar, S Badrinath, Virat Kohli come to mind. Filter them through the following four criteria. 

  1. Experience of a world cup
  2. Reasonably good form and showing in the IPL
  3. Big match temperament/ spunk
  4. Reasonable technique/ opener mindset


DK and Pandey come through. Kohli comes close for his 50 in an ODI in SL. 

DK makes the grade for keeping and his versatility in batting. He opened in England with distinction, yes yes in Tests, I can hear the howls of protest. Point being, he is an adaptable cricketer, feeds on confidence and responsibility and undoubtedly has the nous for the job. 

Let's wait and watch...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

6 and 20 thoughts on the IPL T20

The thing with such a format is that the business end is over in an action filled blur - one has to think really hard to find moments that linger.

As such the organisers have not learnt from the 2007 world cup T20 where 'less was more'. Meanwhile Lord Lalit has threatened to inflict two IPLs in a year upon us. In addition to the Champions League and the ICC World T20 once in two years. The shark has tasted blood.


AKA Anil Kumble. I know, I know. This is cliched, but it suits the man to a T. While Saurav sulked, VVS faded, Dravid was off and on after a bright start and Sachin chewed nails, tough as nails Anil backed his strength and showed the youngsters the way. Making Jacques Kallis, Ross Taylor and Boucher find their groove after indifferent starts, while Manish Pandey stepped up and Vinay Kumar punched well above his weight (while staying under the radar of wheezing Kiwi commentators). In BRC's last five matches Anil bowled 4 spells of an over each. Opposition off to a start, runs leaking, need wickets - look for him. Certain things never change, even after 17 years. If only Dravid had got a 50 and took them home...both of them could have shown their beer swigging owner his place.

Lasting images – The Finals - celebrations after getting Gilchrist for a duck and giving a mouthful to Robin Uthappa for yet another (failed) paddle shot in the last over.


Is what Matt Hayden does well and he was at his bulldozing best in the league phase. Freed of pressures of retaining his Test spot, Hayden batted of vintage 2001 and world cup 2007. Chennai has adopted him as one of their own and the rumour in government circles is that Karunanidhi may honour him with a 'Kalaimaamani' and a plot of land in the suburbs. Lead CSK to the title next year and the granite relief on Beach Road next to greats of the Tamil pantheon may be him.

Lasting image - moving inside the line and a one handed swipe for six over long leg off the bowling of you know who...


What is a carnival without one (or more) of them? If the IPL was a carnival, Messrs Shastri/Raja/LS/Morrison/Coney were the clowns. Singing Modi's praises whenever he was shown on the screen (with a phone on a ear and a blackberry on another), which was about a dozen times per over, hawking the IPL 20/20 Magazine (it is a good read, it has good articles and good photographs they informed us unfailingly), added theatrical whispers a few yards from dugouts and generally made us understand the value of mute buttons.

Honourable exceptions - SMG who, for once, shelved his parochialism, Harsha Bhogle - as good as ever, Kepler Wessels - no frills no nonsense, like his batting. Morrison was ridiculous, but took Shastri's and Rameez's personal jibes with a cool smile. Rameez took the cake. The batting team required 4 runs to win from 5 balls. Rameez revealed "Its easy. Just 4.8 Runs Per Over needed now." Subcontinentals and Asiatics were always good at math, but this was between WOW and WTH.

Memorable moment - Highlights of Gilchrist 85 in SF1 being shown. Harsha Bhogle says " Let me just keep quiet here". C could be Class too.

Donkey Drops

Is what Yuvraj bowls. Minimum turn, slanting in, at the pads, doesn't show much enthusiasm while doing it, quick to glare at his fielders. Does that remind us of Harbhajan - indeed Bhajji is a right handed Yuvraj minus batting, fielding and of course the hat-tricks.


Not the wide and no-ball kind, but of the Bollywood kind. Only, one was Australia's best fast bowler of all time, another was South Africa's leading fast bowler sometime back and the third was captaining England not too long ago. They came, sat on the sidelines, gave polite TV interviews about great atmosphere in the dressing room and did little else. Not suggesting that it was ever their fault. But the men who led them needed to think long and hard. Incidentally, their teams failed at the penultimate hurdle.

Fake IPL Blogger

Hundreds of comments and thousands of followers. Doubt if writings of Jefferson/ Voltaire/ Gandhi/ Mandela had apostles of such unwavering zeal. I read (and re-read) each one of his posts. Losing his nerve, this pseudo player (who looks like a mix of Rohan Gavaskar, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Bose) reneged on his promise to his fans.

Everlasting contribution to humanity comparable with Penicillin and Pasteurization - Nicknaming Sreesanth.


12 per over in the last 5? Enter Yusuf Pathan. Predictable shots and predictable results. What was amazing was the sucess rate and the apparent ability to clear the field at will. Raw talent. Credit to his captain for using him well in the early stages of the tournament, like a Kamikaze pilot in neck or nothing situations. Hope Team India could use him in the same way in the ICC World T20. Imran did it with Inzamam in WC '92 using him for a burst of quick runs over a short span of overs, as opposed to sustained big hitting.

High Catches

If Cricinfo keeps the stats of catches that were put down in the tournament, I would want to see how many of them were steeplers. High altitude, they said. Rarer air and different momentum they expounded. Now, if only the pundits told us (and the hapless fielders) how to counter this...


Indian, (trans)Indian Ocean, Indi-pop, Invade, Infest, Infect, Irk, Irritate, Intimidate, Insufferable, Intolerable, Impudent, Ignoble, Importune, Invidious - all right, all right, I admit I opened for the last three.

Joker in the pack

Jacob Oram would have looked more at home at a benefit match with Madan Lal, Kirti Azad and Roger Binny. Enjoyed a wonderful paid holiday in South Africa and failed to justify his billing and continued presence in the playing 11.


Cyber-coach derailed their campaign even before it could start chugging. Then the badshah fled abandoning his 'happy family' . Bengal Tiger wore a perennial 'I told you so' expression, forgetting perhaps, last year's result (6th out of 8 teams) and generally managed to shock themselves everytime they stepped out - their wins against last years finalists, included. Gladiator helmets, Team Songs, Golden Pads and Designer outfits. If only they could pay some attention to the cricket...

Lalit Modi

Who else? Smiling benignly at lesser mortals, signing autographs for the ardent, thanking President Jacob Zuma (and his own wife and children in the same breath), with all the humility of a Churchill addressing the House of Commons after victory, with the finesse and tact of Karan Thapar, chorusing with Eddy Grant and Shiamak Davar (why him for such an iconic song) for Gimme Hope Joanna - a man of very obvious talents. He has also deigned to give an interview for the IPL 20/20 Magazine. (The same one which is a good read, with good articles and good photographs) Oh! How I would like to part with my money to grab a copy and read what he has to say. In fact I would kill to get hold of one...

He reserved his best for the last. After witnessing an absorbing finale, viewers all eager to listen to the players in their moment of triumph and defeat, were made to wait for an hour, forced to watch a show ( not talking about the merits of which here), not to forget the heroes of the event, themselves shunted to the sidelines. Man, you got to hand it to Lord Lalit. I doff my hat to him.

Honest feeling – the game would be better off when such types stay in their limits.


Two bowlers. One of them is Planet Earth's top wicket taker and another is South Africa's second highest wicket taker in Test history. Between them they shared enough wickets to bowl out a Test side 60 times over. Captain Marvel keeps one of them on the bench for 15 matches in a row and berates his teams bowlers without fail at every opportunity. Man to man Shane Warne has the weakest team, Sachin has the biggest underperformers, McCullum this year and Gilchrist (and VVS) last year kept their chin up after every defeat - yet they did not complain or cry foul. Gilchrist won the (ugly) trophy with a RP and Ojha (certainly no Murali and Ntini) Get a life, jerk!!! You may win a world cup or three. But hell, you can never be a true leader like Saurav.

He is not done yet. Promoting himself ahead better people, he makes 28 runs (no fours and sixes) using up exactly 25% of his team's available overs. Had Dravid or Ganguly done that, they would have been flayed/ crucifed/ quartered/ garroted on the spot by the experts. M is also for Manipulative Misguiding Media Men.

Ness, Priety and their little Nest

Hard to fault them, the poor dears.They spent big money all right. Got the team they wanted. T20 king Yuvraj, classy Lankan duo, the won and wonlee Brett Lee, nerveless finisher with bat and ball Irfan, Sreesanth, Chawla, Powar, VRV - all India internationals. Strong Aussie group, super coach Moody.They thumped all comers last year came unstuck at the first do or die encounter. Overcoming another bad start they won a few close matches but failed to seize their moments and lost their nerve when it mattered. Dhoni and Murali sensed the fear and moved in for the kill. After 2 seasons the score is Dhoni 5 Yuvraj 0. What could Ness & Co possibly do? Cheerleaders from Rio perhaps???


Beauty contests without one coloured participant out of 50, treating South Africa and its people in the way US would treat Congo/Surinam/Western Samoa under the garb of 'giving back'. The game itself was an afterthought for these plunderers. There were reports of how they literally invaded the offices and premises of South African domestic cricket establishements like Natal and Western Province.

Ole!!! the unfailing roar of the crowd every time the bugle sounded. To survive this Indian rampage and still find motivation to pay and turn up match after match, salute the South African public. True sport lovers and true sports.



Quest for redemption...

DC's finally ended last Sunday. A team finishing last and winning only 2 out of 14 (that is one less than even KKR's tally this year folks) should win the (ugly) trophy this year. Not many changes in personnel, except that they didnt hesitate to bench non-performers (Read- No room for the likes of Arjun Yadav). Afridi's non availability was a blessing in disguise, as was Symond's return for the business end. All said and done, they did not blast the opposition out of the place , except for Gilly in the semi-final. Most of their important wins were hard fought, scrappy affairs. Goes to show that they were NOT head and shoulders above competitors and perhaps a middling team.

Memorable moments

1. Gilchrist smiling, clapping and encouraging Harmeet after the bowler concedes 10 runs from his first few balls. We know what Harmeet went on to do.

2. Gilchrist acknowledging Kumble /BRC and also thanking Hyderabad fans , hugging sundry DC officals during the victory lap.

He may have written about Sachin in a poor light, he may walk only when he suits him, but he is the biggest matchwinner of our times. Go well Gilly.

Rohit & Raina

Raina & Rohit. A few years back some of us thought Kaif & Yuvraj could be the next Dravid & Ganguly. We have gotten no closer to finding people of similar class and ability who can serve Indian cricket similarly for a similar tenure. Bat them at 3 and 4 for 25 ODI's at a stretch and come to a judgement. Dhoni must be told to put 'flexibility' in the trash bin and bat no higher than No.6 in any form of cricket. I am willing to wager that these two will come good. Tests, well, there is hope.

Different styles. Rohit seems to have that extra moment for everything. Defensive shots are soft touches as opposed to hurried jabs. Raina uses his reach and pivots on a firm base for big hits on the on side. Plenty of loose ends in the latter's game (a bit of a flat track bully), while Rohit's bane has been lack of concentration. If only they had come through in Saurav's time...


Hard to see him returning next year. The Icon thingie hangs like a millstone around his neck. Much like it did with Dravid. Taking defeats too personally, following results with batting order changes, and perhaps being too nice with his local bunch of Rahanes, Rajes and Kulkarni's. Zaheer's injury came at an inopportune time, but by then they had started their campaign well. Since SRT can do no wrong, lets call Shaun Pollock names for shunting JP Duminy up and down. He was all grace in defeat though, unlike some of the poster-boys. His unquestioned acceptance of Harbhajan irks me though...(I am biased here, but what the hell, its my blog)

Test Cricket

Can't wait for it to begin

Teja - Dwaraka Ravi Teja. Not a performance to shout from rooftops. I dont know/care how many runs he made. From his batting I can see that he is a supple and athletic individual with quick hands. One runout against the Rajasthan Royals stood out. The ball was played in front of point into the gap and the batsmen set off immediately. With one fluid movement, Teja ran, gathered wound up and caught the stumps at the bowlers end in the top 1/3rd. All sleekness and feline grace. To stand out in a team that fields Gibbs, Symonds and Rohit...that is something in itself.


They went largely unnoticed, except for a handful of decisions. Well done, gentlemen. Some were a little harsh on the wide calls, but never mind, bowlers, like the dancing girls are meant to entertain. The 60 yard ropes are the main course. Did Bucknor retiring have something to do with the lack of glaring errors.


With all those mandarins hogging the stage, Adam Gilchrist skirted the perimeter, Rohit and RP looked dazzled by the glittering eminence on view. Only Kumble looked at ease in the intense glare.

Walking Wickets (except for a game maybe)

Jesse Ryder Parthiv Patel Swapnil Asnodkar Sunny Sohal Graeme Smith  Viru Sehwag Gautham Gambhir Robin Uthappa, take a bow gentlemen.


That xtra something to make things happen, just by striding out into a situation or taking the ball in hand or sometimes a stunning catch out of nowhere.Step up Anil Kumble, Suresh Raina. Andrew Symonds, Yuvraj Singh and Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Tillekeratne Dilshan


There were a few who impressed.Pragyan Ojha - Many were convinced that he slimed to the Indian team courtesy a selector, but he has proved himself in the few international opportunities he got. Fielding needs improvement. Here he took the burden of being the lead spinner very well and got a number of crucial wickets.Manish Pandey - In a tournament full of superstars, the least known kid walked away with two of the best knocks played one of them the highest score for the year. 

He stays still, doesn't commit himself on either foot and delays the shot by a moment. Well placed twos stood out in his hundred apart from the classy shots. His square driving in the semi final stopped CSK in their tracks.Among others, Sudip Tyagi, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane had impressed. As had Ravindra Jadeja,  Amit Singh and Vinay Kumar. 


The newly elected president thanked Modi, thanked Shakrook Khan, Preity Zinta and engaged in keen conversation with Shilpa Shetty. Ah!The duties of a host...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cometh the hour...

To beat all comers in an exacting league phase of 14 matches, to top the table comfortably, to have perhaps what was the most balanced team with everyone performing, and to run into Adam Gilchrist in such form. Cruel these knock out matches are.
WC 92 SF1 - Martin Crowe - New Zealand - Inzamam...
But if there is ever a big match player, it is this man.WC Final successes in '99 (54 from 36 balls),'03 (57 from 48 balls)and '07 (149 from 104 balls). Who can top that?
It would be churlish to comment now that DD must have used the slower bowlers in the beginning, or maybe made 25 runs more. It did not matter in the end. Chin up viru.Take it out on Australia in the ICC T20.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Indian spinners and the IPL

Yesterdays thriller between Punjab and Deccan further reinforced the need for good spinners in the team mix.
Undoubtedly, Pathan delivered the killer blow by removing Rohit (who is beginning to show his mettle over the last couple of matches)but the game had been set up by Powar, Piyush Chawla andYuvraj.
Powar is easily the craftiest spinner in the circuit. He is an artist from another era - I am not referring to his girth, but the way he enjoys flighting the ball. Yuvraj has bowled him (and Chawla) within the powerplay, and how have they responded. Unlike dart thrower Harbhajan who needs to be cossetted - he cannot bowl in powerplay overs, he needs a large bank of runs, he "needs a wicket early in his spell" or else the shoulders droop, leg stump line becomes more pronounced, glares,scowls and swear words soon follow - Powar seems to enjoy matching his wits with the batsman. It is a travesty of justice that this bowler continues to be ignored by the powers that be. Instead they have persisted with a has been and a dead weight for far too long. Why, Amit Mishra comfortably outbowled Harbhajan in his debut series.
Chawla is the bulldog of his team, not the most athletic of figures, he is arguably the best fielder among Indian bowlers. Good anticipation, speed, safe catcher and a good throw. I recall one catch he took in the first final of the VB cup last year, charging in from deep midwicket to a ball dying on him. His anticipation was so good that he didn't need to dive. Ian chappel was hugely impressed. Bowling wise, he has been Punjab's go to man when the opposition batsmen have got a flier - both in this IPL and last. Unafraid to flight, he has very good control for a wrist spinner - could do with more turn, but he is very young and will get it. Batting - can keep his head in tense situations. Make no mistake, he is an asset. Off season tutoring with Shane Warne (strictly in bowling, please) perhaps. His Modiness Lalitji, with his cheque book can ensure it.
To Yuvraj, bowling appears to be a chore, something like post match ceremonies. He, like Viru, is a smart operator, with a good sense of line and length. Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina are in this mould.
With Mishra and Ojha doing exceedingly well and Murali Kartik (in my opinion the best spinner in India after Kumble) still in the mix, and Ravindra Jadeja and Jakati coming to the fore,Ravichandran Ashwin doing well domestically Indian spin bowling is in good health.
The current IPL has underlined that. It is time for the wise men to shed their blinkers and change perception and put a premium on performance and attitude.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Winning is a habit

And by extension, losing too. Despite their internal strife, obvious troubles in team composition, negative pulicity arising due to the coach and not to mention the fake IPL blogger, KKR have, in the last few matches managed to put up respectable totals, only for the bowlers to lose the plot in the end.
The no-ball and the resultant boundary had brought the equation to 16 off the last over. Certainly gettable by Deccan but by no means impossible to defend. This is where KKR lost the plot, especially the captain, who worked himself up into a frenzy against the umpires. When the captain loses his cool, the team also panics. Did the bowler Mortaza panic, or what?
He had earlier provided the spark in the 18th over by running out the dangerous Symonds with a direct hit and bowling a tight over . Agarkar got his yorkers and direction (surprisingly) right conceding just five. What was obvious by its absence, was an effort by the captain or any senior pro to slow things down, which would have allowed hapless Mortaza to get his wits back. It all happened in a blur. Till about an over back, they were buzzing, now they seemed deflated. The no-ball was a sort inflexion point - once it happened, KKR seemed to think it was inevitable that they would lose and were waiting for it to happen.
Mumbai Indians, too flattered to deceive today. There is much to like about this team. World class players, supportive owners, good domestic talent - right ingredients for this competition. However, their response to a defeat seems to be predictable - change the batting order yet again. T20 ganes are won by 2-3 batsment in good striking form and a couple of batsmen in the support mode ( prime examples, DD, CSK, DC). The idea is to provide that kind of space to the inform bastmen. MI have missed it time and again. This time Jayasuriya went back to the top. The routine fifty we have come to expect from JP Duminy happened and 147 seemed a good score to defend.
When Chennai chased, the walking wicket Parthiv left first ball this time. Excellent first spell by Malinga and good support by the others ensured Hayden had not got away. But overall, Mumbai remained flat in the field in what was a do-or-die fixture for them, unlike Rajasthan, for instance, who were charged in the field, creating wickets by sheer pressure.
The difference between a good player and and exceptional one is how they make it count. It would have been easy for Hayden to throw it away, but he took the difficult route and that alone made the difference.
Looking forward to the crucial DC vs Punjab tie and also the top of the table DD vs RR which I expect to be another good tight game.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Batting order blues

While work kept me held up until late into the night, I checked yesterday's double header (BRC vs CSK and MIvs RR) on cricinfo time to time and can speak only in broad terms.

That the BRCs made a meal of a simple chase should obscure the main issue which is - no point in fixing what is not broke.

You have a team running hot with five wins on the trot. The men in yellow are the most feared batting unit in the fray. In this mix, you have a batsman, who got 29(27),45(34)and 59(41)* in three outings at no 4, the last being an MOM effort. This has come after of being shunted 1,6,7,8 in the other matches. So what does Captain Marvel do. He pushes himself ahead of Badri at no 4, goes in at 6th over and makes 18(20), gets out. And wait...pushes an out of touch Oram in next and Badri at No 6. Perfect. Instead of one confused batsman you have three. Once Hayden fell, it was game, set and match. Way to go Skipper. One might argue that it is harsh criticism on MSD, but when you are praised universally for moves such as the Suresh Raina over against Yuvraj n co (Raina himself being mentioned only as an afterthought) it is fair that you should be panned for dumb moves. Simply put, CSK lost an opportunity to secure two points against a middling team and get into the last four.

Sachin too, made batting order changes with predictable results. Against the Rajasthan Royals,came Jayasuriya at 4. What worked for Mumbai is class of Messrs S & J at the top, consistency of Duminy in the middle (Rahane coming good now is a bonus) and the muscle of Bravo and Nayar to round off. Backed by a well balanced attack.

CSK - road roller Hayden backed by strong Indian core Raina, Badri, Dhoni, followed by the all rounders.When you improve/muck around/tamper/'innovate' with your strength, its a recipe for disaster.

Second- While it is good to see new talent come good, what gives greater pleasure is seeing the likes of Kumble, Dravid and Sachin showing their class every now and again and teams who underestimate them eat humble pie year after year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Jeremy Coney called it "curate's egg-ish", meaning good in patches. I thought it was more like a pendulum, swinging to one side and then the other.
The DD batting effort went in fits and starts. For the best part of the first innings neither Delhi Daredevils nor Deccan Chargers could claim to have run away with the match. Just when the DD batsmen had looked like making it count, they threw their wickets away (despite the DC fielders largesse).And just when DC looked like pegging things back, a last ball boundary or a dropped catch would alter the balance.

Rohit Sharma has an air of effortlessness about things he does, whether its unhurried strokeplay or bowling his offspinners or making those diving stops at point. Shades of Mark Waugh and Carl Hooper here. There is also, however, a lack of intensity (Suresh Raina scores here and has become the first among equals). The catch, when it came, was too simple to put a visible effort in. He would take it blindfolded/in his sleep/one hand tied behind his back. But today he fluffed it. He will take blinders in future, but this will hurt. Batting wise, he could have made amends, coasted in Gilchrist's slipstream, scored 50 from 40 and made this a canter for DC. He hit one gorgeous backfoot off-drive (to remind us of his obvious class and make us want more of it) and hit the first ball of the next over to cover. Pretty twenties and sweet sixteens will not win a place in the Test line up.

Dilshan's cameo and AB's neat effort happened and still DD was on 131/6 when Rajat Bhatia left first ball. This was the time DC bowlers should have regrouped. Instead we saw a couple of short ones from Ojha which Dinesh Karthik put away for fours. Still they could have kept it to about 150. RP Singh, after clunking DK on the helmet delivers a leg stump full toss of the last ball of his spell(and 19th over). DK was composed enough to smash it over deep mid wicket. RP! RP! Could you not get it right for one last time in the match? Lack of concentration in crucial moments(more of the same to follow). This is why I feel DC won't go beyond semis. The carnage in over no 20 was but inevitable. 47 runs in overs 6 ( more of it some other time) and 20 alone. Only one winner after that.

But who would expect Gilchrist and Symonds to fire on the same day. Pradeep Sangwan kept his head while the sixes and fours kept coming. Despite Suman and Rohit throwing it away and Gilchrist falling after the break, it was a stroll for for DC with Symonds opening out (frightening power, canny bowling, ace fielder, a lesser version of the King minus the chewing gum and swagger ) It was 29 from 24 at one point with 7 wickets in hand.Ravi Teja had to only put bat/body/whatever to ball and get across, instead he allowed himself to be psyched out.

Still Symonds and Dwayne Smith in and the match could end in this(18th) Rajat Bhatia over. It did. Spectacularly. Gentle full tosses and slower ones undo two of the hardest hitters in today's game, swinging the pendulum irrevocably, this time and showcasing the importance of strong domestic picks. Badshah Khan, Cyber Coach, Booze Baron are you guys listening?

Finally, it was heart warming to see the excitement in Bhatia's eyes during the MOM (like Badri the other day) and Viru's broad grin when his long time Ranji mate received the award. 15 mins of fame - despite its excesses and ills, the IPL does have something going for it. Let the show go on, if not for anything else, at least for the unsung Bhatias of domestic cricket.