Saturday, 12 March 2011

World Cup Jinx : Back to Haunt India ?? Part-5

There is a jinx associated with the world Cup that no team has ever won the Cup playing in the home soil over the years irrespective of how strong they were. The only team to play the final in their own backyard is England who lost to West Indies at Lord's in 1979. This time, India is one of the strongest sides but at the other hand is also hosting the tournament.  It will be interesting to see whether they will be able to break this jinx or not.

Stakes are high for them as they were evicted from the last world cup in the very first round thanks to the defeat against Bangladesh. They will definitely want to perform better this time. Thousand of fans who were laathi charged by Bangalore Police during tickets sale will cheer them. This world Cup is Sachin’s last World cup and Men In blue will definitely want to gift him the trophy which is the only missing achievement in his marvelous career.

They came close to win World Cup in 2003 under the captaincy of Saurav Ganguly but could only finish second. From the last couple of years India’s performance is constantly improving. They are top ranked test team and ranked 2nd in ODI’s. Their batting lineup is very strong and almost every batsman is among the runs from some time now.

They have started well in the tournament. They won both their practice matches quite easily. They won matches against Bangladesh, Ireland and Holland. Their match against England was a thriller where both teams ended up with same runs on scoreboard. Just some minutes before they lost against South Africa that was again decided in the last over.


No prize for guessing. They are very strong batting side. Sehwag is very dangerous batsman and can take away match from the opponent very quickly. Sachin is playing his best cricket from some time now. It will be difficult to stop him from making his dream come true. Yuvraj has also found his form. Gautam and Dhoni can play sheet anchor role whenever required. For them run rate is no worry till they have Yusuf Pathan.

They also have an advantage of home conditions. Since fast bowlers are not that effective in the subcontinent, lots of  teams have to stick with spinning options which gave an indirect advantage to India as they play spin best in the world.


Again no prizes for guessing, it is their bowling. They do not even look capable of defending 300 runs. If they persist with same performance in bowling, it will be very difficult for them to make place in top four. They had to sort out their bowling combination before knock out stage.

India has a habit of being succumbed in pressure situations especially when they are chasing. They may find it difficult to chase above 270 runs even with their great batting line up.

What I have noticed is that they have not yet decided the role of Virat kohli in the team. His batting order has been changed in almost every match. They should either define a role for him or give Raina a chance.

My Prediction: They will play Srilanka in the finals and will eventually win the tournament. They should play to Australia in quarters and  will meet Pakistan in Semis.

My Suggestions For Opposition :

Try to get Sachin and Sehwag early.

It was my last blog of the series “My Favorites For this World Cup”. I will try to write some more in cricket diary.

May best one win!!!!

Cheers J

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Srilankan Tigers : Will They Roar ?? Part-4

World Cup is back in subcontinent with its old format of knock out stages after 15 years. It was 1996 when this similar combination of hosts and format first appeared and in that Srilanka emerged as champions. Same stage is set once again for them to repeat the feat.
Unlike 1996 , this time they have started the tournament as the favorites to win the coveted title. They have some great skilled players who can lift them from any situations. They are also having a home advantage where they never lost a match in world cup except from Pakistan few days back.
In last world cup, Srilanka lost in final from Australia. Four years brings lots of changes in their side. They faced terror attack in Lahore in 2009. But they lifted themselves wonderfully to the world's most consistent performers overs the couple of years.
They  had some issues with their final squad. People back home want Vass and Jayasurya in team but their selectors had done a commendable job by preferring current form rather than stats and reputation.
They had a good series against West Indies at home just before the world cup. They have some top batsman in their batting line including Sangakara ,Mahela and Dilashan. They also have slinga Malinga who is arguably the fiercest bowler in today's world. And of cource  Murlitharan, best off spinner  we have ever seen.
They started well in the tournament with comfortable victories against minnows Canada and Kenya. They lost their way in between against Pakistan. But Overall they seems to be a good unit capable of winning. Their actual strength test will come up in quarters.
They are very good in home.  Unlike India they have few grounds which mean every player is well acclimatized with pitch and conditions. Their batsmen and bowlers have tremendous records in subcontinent which will certainly help them out in the tournament.
Their bowling line up seems very good in the presence of Malinga and Murlitharan. Malinga has already taken a Hatrick in his very first match of the tournament  Mendis’s carrom ball is still a mystery for many teams. Their Batting lineup is the best in world after India. Dilshan, Sangakara, Samarveera, Mahela and Tharanga are best in their business.
Their Captain Sangakara is in great form which could act as a motivating factor for them and may lift them in difficult time.  
They do not have regular fast bowler with Malinga if they persist with their three spinners strategy which could take the pressure away from the opposition. Kulasekara had done well in absence of Malinga but was not among the wickets. Murlitharan was economical but certainly lacking some wickets in his kitty.
Their batting revolves  around Sangakara and Mahela. If one of them fails to deliver , automatically pressure builds on the other. Lower middle order haven’t came good against Pakistan. Dilshan is also not finding this tournament as his best one.
My Prediction:
They may face England in the quarters which could be the easy task for them to go through. They look like as one of the finalist to me.
My Suggestions for Oppositon:
Beware of Malinga’s  Yorker as rest bowlers can be dealt easily.  Work out weaknesses against Mahela and Sangakara.
Next discussion will be on India.
Till then ….enjoy
Cheers J

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The C word - Chokers or Champions ?? : Part-3

South Africa have been tagged chokers from many years. This time around they will try to win this cup to remove this tag forever. We have to wait for this to happen for a while but in mean time SA once again choked against England to reignite discussions of them being chokers.Their performance in the previous editions of the world cups was not up to their potential.

South Africa  repeatedly proved that they tend to choke in tricky situations whether it be the semi final of 1992 & 99 or it be the group match against Srilanka in 2003. Sometime it is rain who spoil their party sometime Brian Charles Lara. They were not able to convert good starts. I remember they lost Titan Cup after winning all the matches to India.

Their recent performance against India was also satisfactory. This time they have come prepared with three front line spinners in the team well suited for subcontinent conditions. One of their spinner Imraan Tahir was in talks as he was being referred as the secret weapon of South Africa. They have a very balanced side under the captaincy of Graeme Smith who may be leading them for the last time in ODI's. 

They have started well with two easy wins in practice matches followed by two easy wins against WI and Holland. Till 30th over of the match against England it seemed that it is again going to be a easy win for SA. But then comes a word CHOKE in the equation and they ended up loosing marginally short of the target.

Strengths :

They look like the most balanced side in the tournament with some great batsman and great bowlers. They have two good fast bowlers in Steyn and Morkel. Their spin dept.had succeeded in taking wickets as well as in containing runs and looks formidable this time.

Their top 4 batsman have great record in Indian pitches. Hashim Amla ,AB de Villiers and Kallis are in good form from last couple of years. They are not completely dependent on single player to score runs. Duminy looks good in death overs.

By virtue of their bowlers and batsman they can defend and chase any total.

Weaknesses :

I can only recall single word as their weakness i.e. Choke. They tend to choke in big occasions giving extra advantage to their opponent.

Citing current situation their worry could be the form of their captain Smith. Their tail seems to be a bit long as F du Plessis and MN van wyk haven't shown any promise in either outings. 

My Prediction : 

South Africa should meet NZ in quarters which should not be difficult for them. They may exit in semis but I want them to play against India on 2nd April. :)

My Suggestions for opposition:

Try to bat first against them. If you play cautiously they wont be able to get you out. Counter attack Tahir, dont let him to make early inroads.

Sri Lanka is next on cards.

Till then ....enjoy
Cheers :)

View dismissal

Sunday, 6 March 2011

I dont want Australia this time:Part-2

I dont know how many are feeling like me but this time around I dont want Australia to win. It was way back in 1996  when team other than Australia won. My support is to every team who play against them.

Till early January  they were not considered as potential winners because of significant decline in their performance. They had horrible India tour and forgettable Ashes. Their top batsman were struggling for form and  their bowling department looked  faded because of injuries and retirement.Nothing seems to be going Australian way.

Just when talks of World cup started to make headlines, from nowhere they once again started playing like world champions. They were excited with the comebacks of Shaun Tait and Brett Lee. Their bowling once again  looked fierce after so many months.They thrashed england and raised the alarm of danger for other teams.

They lost their two practice matches but no one can deny the fact that they are still the strongest contender of this world cup. They started a bit slow against Zimbabwe but completely thrased New Zealand in other. I was eagerly waiting for their match against Srilanka which could test them as a unit but match could not finish thanks to the Colombo rain who once frustrated me when final of the Champions trophy could not be completed in two days.


They have the most fierce fast bowling attack with 3-4 bowlers who can bowl 150 Kmph. Their fast bowlers had shown how to bowl fast in Indian flat tracks. They all out India with a strong batting line up in their practice match well before 50 overs.

Shane Watson is a dream players for any team. He can bowl, he can bat, he can field, he can hit big sixes, he can take wickets, I dont know what he cant do in cricket field, very important for them.

They also have a good blend of players like David hussy , Smith and Johnson who can bat well and bowl well. They are also a world class fielding side.

In my opinion their strongest point is their mental stability.They are very strong mentally. Almost every player has the capability to deliver in big occasions which is very important in tournaments having knock out stages.


Right now their biggest worry is their captain's batting form. Ponting had been out of form from some time now. Pressure seems to be increasing on him which may affect his captaincy and ultimately Australia. They had also hit by some injuries to their key players like M. Hussy which could be crucial.

Their weakest link is their ability or I should say disability to play good spinners. They shown this in practice match against India and also with Zimbabwe where they struggled to make runs against Price. Oppositions like India, Srilanka, Pakistan and SA can very well exploit them as they all have some quality spinners.

Australia have Smith and Kreja as spinners but both had not impressed me till now. Their performance is very crucial for Australia.

My Prediction : I have a intuition that they will meet India in quarters and will lose there only.

My suggestions to their opposition: Bat first if possible and have some patience in starting overs against their fast bowling trio. Once you are set against them you can score runs freely.

Next writing will be on South Africa' s contention in this world cup.

cheers till then. :)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

My favorites for this world cup- Part 1

Well this is my first blog so it has to be related with cricket.

Its already two weeks since the start of the world cup but everyone is talking about off field happening more  rather than on-field action. Only England's matches were somehow succeeded to grab some focus mainly because of that epic tie with India and Kevin 'O Brien's superb knock.

Many are talking about its format with lots of games being played against associate countries which mostly ends in tame win. The main problem arises when these games didn't even contribute to the final standing of a particular group.There were also discussions on weather ICC should shift  its super six format to knock out format or not. There was lots of fuss being made on Bangladeshi fans when some threw stones on bus carrying West Indian players. Some people even suggesting changes in the venues.

In between all these what I have noticed more is that almost every country had played at least two matches. So lets rate the performance of probable contenders of this world cup based on these matches and their chances.

Questions being asked weather they can recover from the recent spot fixing controversy which resulted in a ban of their top three  players. Some considered them dark horses. But in first 3 matches  they not only proved that they have completely recovered from the controversy but also emerges as one of the strongest contender of the cup. They won all the three matches with one against another favorite contender team Srilanka.


They are very good bowling side with their captain leading from the front. Afridi's form is important for them as he is wicket taking as well as very economical bowler. He is the highest wicket taker of this cup till now which include 4 wickets against Srilanka. In subcontinent pitches nothing seems to work other than Afridi's pace variation.

They have very long batting line up with one of the best striker of the ball in world cricket at no.8. Their middle order has two very experienced players and  both are in  good form right now. Umar Akmal has shown some promise in two outings. Lots of crackers in their store. Afridi and Razzaq are the big hitters at no 7 and no 8.

The strongest point of Pakistani team is that they can defend any total.

It seems that they are too much dependent on Afridi to take wickets. This thing may heart them specially against team like India who can play spin well. They had opened their attack with Razzaq which is little bit negative for them as he didn't stood out as bowler in that matches. They may change this in latter stages.

Biggest worry of Pakistan is their opening combination. Both openers are out of form and are struggling to make runs. Kamran is also performing under par which leaves Pakistan to be extra dependable on Yunus and Misbah.They have the ability to crumble under pressure as seen in match against Canada. It reminds me of that match against Ireland in 2007 world cup. They have to sort this out.

Prediction :
They will top the group and will play either WI or England. They should reach till semis.

My suggestions for opposition

Try to bat first against them as they are vulnerable when batting second. Play Afridi as a fast bowler.

Next Blog will talk about Australia's world cup dreams.