Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IPL Throws the Kitchen Sink Tonight...

Kamran Akmal took a jet plane to arrive in time for the Royals' match against the Punjabi Kings last night. Less than 24 hours before donning the keeping gloves for Warne's team, Akmal was doing the same for Pakistan against the Bengalis.

Following Akmal, the rest of the Pakistanis taking part in the Indian Premier League have also landed in India. Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Asif, Misbah Ul Haq, Younis Khan, Umar Gul, and Salman Butt have all joined their respective teams and are ready for IPL action.

Three of them - Malik, Afridi, and Asif - would possibly be seen in action as early as tonight when the Delhi Daredevils take on the Deccan Chargers.

Both the teams have extemely strong batting line ups and a high scoring match is expected unless the curators throw in another shocker ala the Eden Gardens. I doubt that though after what Laxman had to say about the Kolkata pitch.

While the Daredevils have an all Indian star cast in Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhiwan, Tiwary, and Karthik; the Chargers have the Aussie power of Gilchrist and Symonds to support Laxman, Rao, and Rohit Sharma. Add Styris in there as well.

If the Pakistanis play tonight, Malik will bolster Delhi's batting line up, while Afridi will do the same for the Chargers.

Afridi has already made his presence felt by announcing that he's eyeing Brendon McCullum's record of 158 and will have a go at it if he gets to bat up the order. He seems to be confident about his abilities with the bat, however I feel the Chargers' will benefit more from his bowling.

Afridi is currently the highest wicket taker in 20-20 international cricket along with Pollock and Bracken.

What to watch out for tonight:

  • Glenn McGrath opening the bowling with his Pakistani clone, Mohammad Asif - Its a dream attack and it gives the Daredevils the edge. Afridi's dream of batting higher up and breaking McCullum's record will have to wait.

  • Glenn McGrath bowling the 1st over of the innings to Adam Gilchrist! I wouldn't miss this for anything. How would Gilchrist fare? Would McGrath face the wrath bowlers world over have faced? Will McGrath be able to keep Gilchrist Quiet?

  • Sehwag handing over the ball to Asif and thanking God he's not the striker.

  • Symonds and Afridi batting in the middle. We could in for a treat if the 2 are on song. Will the Daredevils be able to stop them?

  • Asif bowling to Afridi - the last time I saw this was in the nets at the Sheikh Zayed cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi. I witnessed Afridi launch Asif into the stands on at least 6 occasions in the space of 10 deliveries. Will Asif know how to tame the crazy pathan?

  • Afridi bowling to Malik / Malik bowling to Afridi - till some time back there was tension between the 2 as Afridi felt he should be captaining Pakistan. Since then Malik has somewhat settled in to the role, and Afridi has back him to the end. Will the tension come out when they come face to face?

  • Daniel Vettori bowling to Styris - a battle of the minnows between the giants mentioned above. This could be interesting though.

  • Afridi to Gambhir - after their mini battle and a few verbal exchanges during Pakistan' tour of India last year, the two come face to face again.
The IPL is dishing out a cracker of a match today throwing out everything and the kitchen sink our way. I would advise everyone to block their schedules at 2:30pm GMT for this one. You won't be disappointed.

Make your pitch on this post...

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14 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Be geeves will make way for Asif and Vettori might make way for Malik although I have a feeling that might not happen,Styris will make way for Afridi, I dont think Afridi will do any wonders with the bat its all hype no hope, he will score a quick 15-20 and will then hit a skier which off course will get caught but yes he will take a lot of wickets.

  2. Q said...

    Yeah Malik might not play. I was reading Malik speaking to dawn or the news and he said he didn't know if Sehwag will choose him in the XI.

    Agree abt Afridi's hype. As i said he will be more useful with the ball.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Malik is friends with Sehwag I think Sehwag will not intentionally drop him it will only be done at Malik's behest who will try not to play this match just to avoid Afridi and all the hype this match will generate.

    Malik is in good form with the bat but his bowling is not even close to that Vettori.

    I hope that Malik Plays, it will be a treat to watch the battle between
    Malik and Afridi.

  4. Q said...

    Yeah I hope he plays as well. But its tough to choose Malik over Vettori esp when ur batting is quite strong, as Delhi's is.

  5. straight point said...

    great job you are doing Q!

    you surely are converting lots of people into IPL fans with your anecdotes...

  6. Q said...

    Thanks SP.

    That is my aim - to convert as many as possible over the next 40 days :-)

  7. Anonymous said...

    These contests in every match are precisely the reason why IPL is very very interesting..

    I do believe Deccan Chargers will win this match.. Personally expecting a great innings from Laxman today... Hoping to see him hitting fours after fours in McGrath's over...

    - Robin

  8. Q said...

    I think Delhi are slightly stronger cos of the bowling Robin. The Chargers dont have the bowlers to stop Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhawan, and Co.

    But Delhi with McGrath, Asif, and Vettori can restrict Hyderabad...

  9. Anonymous said...

    I don't think Asif will play todays match as Mahroof bowled beautifully in the last match and was quite economical.If they will make a change it will be Geeves making way for Malik.

  10. Anonymous said...

    Well I was wrong both Asif and Shoaib has been included and Asif has already removed Adam Gilchrist,we are in for a cracker of a match.

  11. Q said...

    I was surprised to see both Asif and Malik in the XI as well. I thought one would play. But there's a 2 fold strategy there I think: from the organizers point of view, Pakistanis are probably the 2nd largest crowd pullers after the Indians. And secondly from the team management point of view - Pakis are excellent 20-20 players.

    Sehwag did mention that something was wrong with Vettori. I didn't quite understand what he said.

    As expected Styris made way for Afridi.

    I hope Afridi and Sharma can score big from here. I don't want to watch a dull run chase.

  12. Anonymous said...

    Asif and Sehwag were the heroes of the match Sharma heroics did not proved enough in the end, Sehwag scored 94 of just 41 balls and three sixes and three fours in that Symonds over were a treat to watch, Afridi failed with the bat and the ball I wonder on whom his fans will put the blame now may be VVS for not sending him to open the innings, he can never build an innings or perform under pressure it will be always a hit or miss for him regard less of the match situation he does not know what match awareness means he will never change his game to adapt to the match situation he came in to bat in the 11 th over with plenty of overs left and lost his wicket on a nothing delivery to the weakest bowler in the Delhi line up.
    Symonds have also disappointed me a lot.

    Delhi has won both of their matches quite comfortably and are the new team to beat, Deccan Chargers will find it very hard to make a come back from here.

  13. Obaid said...

    I agree with Q that Pakistani players are crowd pullers. The janta is curious to see how the players they have seen in highly charged Pakistan vs India games now perform within the IPL... all very intriguing from a spectators standpoint

    It must have been amazing to see Asif and McGrath open the bowling... I wish there was an easy way for me to view the games

  14. Q said...

    I think there are some packages available Obaid on some cable..

    It was quite interesting - the commentators were comparing the lines and lenghts that McGrath and Asif were bowling and it was very similar... Rameez talked about how it was a dream for Asif to share the new ball with his hero and how Mahroof mentioned once that hes playing the game only cos of Mahroof.

    Dreams come true for these people..

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