IPL2 – much better time?

Maybe having the IPL2 in South Africa was a blessing in disguise for us in the US? The games are at 3.30am and 7.30am Pacific time and I am able to watch a bit of it every day just before leaving for work and then just after reaching the office.

The games have been mostly good, and Rajasthan Royals have struggled a bit as defending champs. I was not happy to see Mumbai Indians’ game getting rained out.

Still don’t know who the favorite is because T20 is so unpredictable. Delhi seems ok, but I do hope this is Mumbai’s year.

Australia deserving winners

Australia won the World Cup convincingly, and they deserve all the praise for doing a marvelous job, going unbeaten now for two entire World Cups! What an achievement that is! Granted, the team is almost the same, but to do it and that too without a key bowler, is fantastic.

It was always going to be an uphill climb for Sri Lanka after Australia, riding on Gilly’s masterful knock, got to 280+ in 38 overs. Speaking of a masterful knock, how amazing is it that Australia always finds a way to have one or two such brilliant performances in the big games? They are just too good.

Jayasuriya and Sangakarra gave me some hope of a Sri Lankan fightback, which there was a hint of. But I also knew that once one of them got out, the momentum would be stopped and it would be the end of the chase.

And that is exactly what happened. Sri Lanka ultimately could not keep up with the required run rate and Australia had another final wrapped up.

The question now is, who can challenge Australia? My thought is Australia A. I think Australia’s A team would be better than most, if not all, international teams. Australia/Australia A would be boring to watch for people who follow stars, but would be very exciting to watch for the true cricket lovers.

Just my thought.

One ball to go, 3 runs to win

Recently I have started playing some cricket at work with some of the guys who try to play every week. I have played for 3 weeks now. Last Friday, the team who we play against (a neighboring company), chickened out at the last moment and so we decided to play an internal friendly.

We split the 11 of us into two teams of 5 each and the 11th person being the “jack” who bats and fields for both the teams. Everyone fields all the time except for the two batsmen.

We were able to play two matches – the first one was 8 overs each and the second one was 6 overs each.

In the second one, I opened the batting needing 32 to win from 6 overs. It came down to 7 off the last over and I was on strike.

I got 2 off the first ball to make it 5 in 5.

The next ball, I gave it a mighty heave and got the ball on my leg and because of that, I missed a wide ball. 5 in 4.

The next ball I got another 2. 3 in 3.

The next ball was sadly a dot ball, with me trying to do something unnecessary. 3 in 2.

The next ball was another dot ball, and now I could not forgive myself for the missed opportunity in the previous ball. 3 needed off the last ball.

I had made up my mind to go for it no matter what. Luckily for me, it was a Chetan Sharma-style full toss on the leg stump which I swung over mid wicket for a four.

A FOUR OFF THE LAST BALL! To win the match!! Yay!

Granted, the game was rank amateur level, and the seriousness was half of what we show when we play a true “match”, but still. A game is a game and I was playing the captain of our team in that final over.

Felt good to end the Friday on that note.

And so the semis are set

Finally, after what seems like ages, the round robin crap is over and the semi finals are set in the Cricket World Cup 2007.

I pick South Africa upsetting Australia (have to stick to my earlier prediction of South Africa winning and Australia not even making it to the finals!) and Sri Lanka beating New Zealand.

I know I am going against the tide by picking SA over Australia. But it is a matter of one day’s play. And I think SA will play to win whereas Australia will play with their minds set on the finals and lifting the cup again.

New Zealand will lose to Sri Lanka on the mental front. Once again, I have to stick to my perception of the New Zealand team – that it is great one day team on its day, but it has very few days on big game days.

So, Sri Lanka-SA will set up a repeat of the exciting game that happened earlier, with Malinga creating a riot!

SA will win …

What is the Indian team’s think tank doing?

I noticed that they chose to go with 2 pace bowlers and 2 spinners. That’s fine. But why Zaheer? Why not Nehra?

Nehra has not done anything wrong this series. Zaheer has been injured and even when he played, he has been pedestrian. Why choose him?

He has already proved to be expensive. Wides and boundaries. Quite pathetic.

Unless of course, the team has yet another injury – Nehra 😦

So we got a bonus point

And that means we have to just beat Sri Lanka. Not necessarily with a bonus point.

But the way the Indians played today, it does not seem like they are going to be able to win against SL.

A lot has been said about this team of late. The consistency being the main point of conversation. But in this tournament, they are hardly consistent. Hopefully this is the first tournament and hopefully they will only improve.

Fingers crossed.