Sunday, November 6, 2016

India England 5 Match Test Series Billed Up As #ScoreToSettle; Can They Live Up?

The last time England toured India (in 2012) for a Test series it was billed as a revenge series after India had plummeted to lowly depths of a 0-4 loss in England just months prior to the beginning of that series. England, then, grounded India into dust at their home with Cook, Trott and Pietersen playing the key roles in negating India's spin threat. England came unscathed with a 2-1 victory against a strong Indian side in their own backyard. India visited England again in 2014 and were bashed comprehensively once again with Kohli having a horrid tour as India capitulated against both the swing of Anderson and the guile of an unsuspecting Moeen Ali. England were victorious again by a 3-1 margin.

So much for a brief history between these two sides and more look ahead to what promises to be a mouth watering clash of 5 tests between India and England. While India are coming off a convincing win over the Kiwi's in which Ashwin and Jadeja played key roles, the English are coming off a loss to Bangladesh where they had a tough time negotiating the Bangla spinners.

This series is definitely going to be defined by how the English batsmen can cope with the dual threat posed by Ashwin and Jadeja and in Cook, Root, Bairstow and Stokes they do possess the batsmen who can take it to the Indian spinners. I also feel that England would be better served by dropping Gary Ballance and playing the dynamic Jos Buttler as Buttler is a much better player of spin bowling having played in the IPL in India. A left field choice can also be Sam Billings, who in my opinion uses his feet brilliantly and can slot in the crucial number 4 position.

Coming to the English bowling combination; with Anderson out at least for the first test, England can go in with Woakes, Broad, Stokes, Moeen and Adil Rashid. Root will also have to roll his arm over on a regular basis if the main bowlers fail to make an impact. The cooler conditions that will prevail in India in November and December should certainly help their fast bowlers in the morning session and also to stay fresher for longer periods of time. They also exploited reverse swing brilliantly in Bangladesh and will be looking forward to getting some of that in India as well.

India on the other hand looks quite a settled side apart from the opening position where quite a few of their first choice openers are injured but in Vijay and Gambhir, India has two brilliant openers with excellent records behind them. Indian bowling should feature two spinners and two fast bowlers but they might go in with three spinners if the conditions demand the same. Hardik Pandya might get a debut as he has improved greatly since he first began and he will hope that he can bag his chances and create an impact straightaway.

This will be series that will certainly show where these two teams are placed right now and there are a lot of questions that will probably be answered by the time dust settles on this long 5 match series. Will India retain its number 1 position in Test Cricket? Can Cook and co plot India's downfall in India for a second time running? Is Ashwin really as good as his figures up until now suggest? I am really looking forward to this series but not with a tag line of #ScoreToSettle; just sit back and relax and enjoy good cricket between 2 good and improving young sides!!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rangana Herath all set for a Captaincy Debut!!

Rangana Herath to Captain Sri Lanka for the first Time against Zimbabwe in Tests

Rangana Herath, the amiable slow left spinner will captain Sri Lanka for 1st time at an age of almost 39 and it could not have happened to a nicer guy! I wish him all the very best as he leads the Lankans against the Zimbabweans in a two match test series starting today!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

New Zealand and India to begin the ODI series Fight at Dharamsala

India blanked the Kiwi's comfortably in the three match test series; riding high on stellar performances by R Ashwin, Virat Kohli and Pujara; among others who also made notable contributions at important junctures. Now the focus shifts to the shorter formats of the game and the excitement starts at the picturesque locale of Dharamsala which is all set to host the first ODI of the five match ODI series between India and New Zealand.

MS Dhoni returns to lead a side high on confidence but also a side which will have plenty of new faces from the one which we saw in the test matches. Ashwin, Jadeja, Pujara are all missing while Raina will miss the first ODI with viral fever. The injuries to Dhawan and KL Rahul has opened up a slot at the top of the order and Ajinkya Rahane might well get an opportunity at the top of the order.

The spin department might not miss Ashwin and Jadeja much as Amit Mishra and Axar Patel are there to give cover and will be eager to perform and show that they are quality too. The fast bowling will be bolstered by Jasprit Bumrah who will be aiming to get his pin point yorkers working in the death overs.

Over all, this Indian outfit might be missing some regular players from the squad but still bears a very strong appearance and the Kiwi's will have to play out of their skins to emerge victorious in the ODI series. They will need Williamson and Taylor to fire in the batting department and hope that the returning Corey Anderson along with Neesham and Ronchi will do the job in the middle order.

The Kiwi's have plenty slow bowling options as they showcased at the World T20 earlier this year and I feel that the ODI's will be a keenly contested series. If the tracks are batting friendly than I don't see India beating New Zealand with this squad as the Black Caps have an explosive batting line up but if the tracks assist the slower bowlers and are sporting enough then it will be a fun series which will see various mouth watering battles over the course of the next month or so.

Who do you think has an upper hand in this ODI series? Any scoreline predictions?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

DilScoopExit - Dilshan Announces His ODI & T20I Retirement

Tillakaratne Dilshan, one of the most flamboyant cricketers of recent times has announced his retirement from ODI and T20I cricket at a ripe age of 39. He was a gifted stroke-maker and did all that was asked of him on the field. He is the inventor of the famed 'Dilscoop' and his booming cover drives were a treat to watch. Despite his age, he remains one of the best fielders in the Lankan side. With Sangakkara and Jayawardena already hanging their boots in the recent past, Dilshan's exit will surely leave a big hole in the Sri Lankan side.


He will play his last ODI against Australia on the 28th of August in Dambulla and will finally bow out after playing the two T20I's scheduled for early next month against the same opposition.

He was a brilliant batsman, a canny off spinner and combined with his panther-like reflexes anywhere in the field, he was every captains dream - Dilshan you will be sorely missed! Thank you for all the memories, All the Best for your future!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kusal Mendis - The Rising Superstar of Cricket

I first saw Kusal Mendis play when he made his debut against the West Indies late last year. He did not have a special debut but from whatever little I had seen about this young man convinced me that he would go on to represent Sri Lanka for a long time in all the three formats of the game. Crisp straight drives, steely flicks, venomous cut and a free flowing youthful technique made him a joy to watch.

He occupied the vital number 3 spot left vacant by one of the all time test greats, Kumar Sangakkara and has left his own indelible mark by first playing a couple of attractive innings on the recently concluded tour of England. Lahiru Thirimanne, another young man with oodles of talent but one who has failed to make the cut at the highest level made way for the young Kusal and he has grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

On a treacherous Pallekele pitch which afforded assistance to both the spinners and the quick bowlers, playing against the number one ranked team in test cricket and facing bowlers like Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, this 21 year old batsman played the innings of a lifetime as he lifted Sri Lanka from a precarious position to power them to a huge score. Considering that the Lankan first innings ended at a meagre 117 followed by 203 by Australia in their first dig and Lanka managed 177 (without Mendis's contribution of 176) and finally Australia in the last innings who were bowled out for just 161 - Kusal's 176 stands out like a beacon amidst havoc all around. He showed tremendous self confidence and assurance during his stay and got his runs at a fair clip. Yes, there was some luck involved here and there but on a pitch such as the one that the match was being panned out on, that is expected.

He reached his hundred with a slog swept six off the Aussie number one spinner, Nathan Lyon and did not celebrate like he had brought the house down. Measured and focused, he held his arms aloft and got back to doing his job again. The numerous post match interviews that followed displayed the same calm demeanour, and that was, for me, the hallmark of a great in the making. We see young men today celebrate like there is no tomorrow even after reaching a small milestone and here was this 21 year old kid having just led his team to a monumental victory displaying extreme maturity after having played one of the best test innings ever.

I hope that he can carry on from here and go strength to strength and delight cricket fans all over with his fluid technique and crisp strokes. At a time when Sri Lanka are struggling to find their feet as they cope with a slew of retirements of their all time greats, young men like Mendis and Sandakan must bring a smile to the Lankan supporters on whom the onus now lies to carry forward the legacy of the tiny island!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Anil Kumble - The New Head Coach of Team India

Anil Kumble - The New Head Coach of Team India will look to impart all his knowledge and expertise and hopefully will form a strong bond with the aggressive Kohli!!

Here's wishing Jumbo all the best in his new role!!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sunil Narine takes 6-27 on his Return, Helps WI beat SA by 4 Wickets!!


Sunil Narine mesmerised the South African batting line up as he snared up a Career Best 6-27 and helped West Indies beat South Africa by 4 wickets in the first match of the Tri Series also involving Australia!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hyderabad Bowling up against the Bangalore Batting in the IPL 2016 Finale

Royal Challengers Bangalore Vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - VIVO IPL 2016 Final, Match Preview

After a month and a half of continuous T20 matches being played all across India, the IPL finally has its two top teams ready to do the final battle in a quest to lift the trophy and be crowned the IPL 2016 Champions.

Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad have had two different routes to the final, Bangalore depending on their smoking hot batting fire power to get them here while Hyderabad have depended heavily on a slew of left arm fast bowlers along with the Fizz to steamroll opposition batsmen into dust. The two teams are led by two maverick batsmen, both in the form of their lives – Virat Kohli and David Warner.

The batting depth and the class of Virat, Gayle, De Villiers and Watson definitely gives RCB the advantage in addition to the fact that they will be playing at their home ground at the Chinnaswamy but Bhuvi, Mustafizur, Sran and Henriques might just be the bowling attack that can tame the beast of the batting line up that awaits them.

As far as the SRH batting is concerned, Warner will hope that either of Dhawan, Henriques or Yuvraj come into their own in this grand finale. Dhawan and Yuvraj, in particular might be crucial cogs in the Sunrisers batting as leggies Chahal and Abdullah have been two key bowlers for RCB and if the two left handed Indian stalwarts can take on the two bowlers turning the ball in to them, then it will put a lot of pressure on Virat in the field.

There is a small doubt regarding the fitness of Mustafizur but I guess that he will be fine for this big match. If not, then Trent Boult is an ideal replacement as he can swing the ball early and can nip Gayle and Kohli early.

Any big match will have plenty of pressure and expectations and both the teams will vie to lift the trophy for the first time in their IPL history. It is set to be a clash of a Batting Giant against a Bowling Machinery and a mouth watering prospect awaits us tonight.

Who are you supporting? Why?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

England Vs Sri Lanka, Investec Test Series - Team Sri Lanka Preview

While the IPL seems to be going on forever in India, England and Sri Lanka will lock horns in a three match Test series in England starting May 19th. The last time these two teams met, the Sri Lankans scripted one of the finest come-from-behind win with Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath playing the lead protagonists.

This time around, the Lankans will not have the services of their two talismanic batsmen - Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, both of whom had played a huge role in Sri Lanka being able to topple the English in their own backyard in 2014. But the Sri Lankan team can never be counted out and they do have some exciting young talent that they can look forward to. Kusal Mendis is a young batsmen and he already looks to be one for the future to me. He is compact, can score freely when he decides to and is pleasing to watch. He has made good start to his career and continues to impress and is the leading contender to take the number three spot. Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews will have to carry the middle order on their shoulders and both of them are well equipped to do so. Chandimal, with his aggressive mindset, can put the bowling team off if he can get into his groove early while Mathews has been there and done that for the Lankans since the time he broke into the team he now leads.

The start that the Lankan openers provide will go a long way in determining how the rest of their batting fares against a strong English seam attack comprising Broad, Anderson and Finn. Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva had a good series in 2014 and they will need to repeat those performances, if not better them for the Lankans to do well in this series. The key for them will be to blunt the new ball and tire Anderson and Broad as much as possible so that the middle order can breathe a little more freely.

I will prefer Dickwella at number 6 and Dasun Shanaka at 7 since both of them seem to be in good nick and can play counter attacking cricket if need be. They also provide the left-right combo lower down which might prove to be useful to put the bowling side under pressure in tense situations.

Sri Lanka has taken Lahiru Thirimanne with them and although he seems to be a fine young batsman, he has just been unable to step up as far as test matches are concerned. I hope that he is left out of the playing 11 and not given a free run while players who are in form are warming the bench. Milinda Siriwardena is another player who has had a tremendous start to his career in all forma but he seems to be woefully out of form and I would prefer Shanaka in place of him who played a few decent innings in the WT20 and made a cracking 100 against Leicestershire in the tour match. He can also be useful with his dibbly-dobbly medium pace in Headingly which is renowned for assistance under grey clouds.

The bowling attack of the Lankans might not be the most intimidating one on paper but it surely is reliant and capable of getting the job done with collective effort. Dhammika Prasad has been the stalwart and has carried the Lankan attack with pace, swing, guile and a smile on his face while Dushmantha Chameera has added that razor sharp edge which was missing from their pace bowling line up. With Eranga, Lakmal and Pradeep also in the squad the Sri Lankans have a good nucleus of fast bowlers to choose from. Rangana Herath is a master of his trade and there have been few spinners who have been as good as him with the limited repertoire that he seems to possess. He is a class act and can turn the match on his own. His clever variations of flight and nagging consistency have befuddled many a great batsmen and the young English batting line up might not be up to it if it comes down to facing him in the fourth innings on a track assisting him even slightly.

It will certainly not be easy for the Lankans especially with the retirements of middle order greats in Sangakkara and Mahela but it is a great opportunity for the youngsters to put their hands up and make a name for themselves and grow from boys to men during the course of this gruelling three match series against one of the best test teams going around.

My Sri Lankan XI for the First Test against England at Headingly, Leeds:

Dimuth Karunaratne
Kaushal Silva
Kusal Mendis
Dinesh Chandimal
Angelo Mathews
Niroshan Dickwella
Dasun Shanaka
Rangana Herath
Dhammika Prasad/ Suranga Lakmal
Dushmantha Chameera
Shaminda Eranga

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Highest Wicket Takers in IPL 2016 till April 30 2016

In the last post, we saw who were the highest Run Scorers in the current edition of the IPL up until the last game played between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad on 30th April 2016. Now let have a closer look on the bowlers who have had the most success in the IPL 2016.

Surprisingly, there is only a solitary spinner in the top 5 wicket takers while pace bowlers finding the going much easier this time around. As a matter of fact, Amit Mishra is the lone spinner in the top 10 thus far which is a big surpise to me. Kiwi quick Mitch McClenaghan leads the chart with 12 wickets while Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is second with 10 wickets. Both of these bowlers have found swing during the night and have thus troubled the batsmen. Umesh Yadav has been quick and accurate and has reaped the rewards. Thisara Perera is at the 5th place having picked up wickets regularly for the Rising Pune Supergiants team.

Given below is the table showcasing the Top 5 Wicket Takers of the Vivo IPL 2016 (table updated till the matches played on 30th April 2016).

Player
Team
Matches
Wickets
Average
Economy Rate
Strike Rate
5’fer
4’fer
Mitch McClenaghan
Mumbai Indians
8
12
20.66
8.1
15.2
-
1
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
Sunrisers Hyderabad
7
10
22.00
8.1
16.2
-
1
Umesh Yadav
Kolkata Knight Riders
6
8
14.88
7.9
11.3
-
-
Amit Mishra
Delhi Daredevils
6
8
16.87
7.1
14.2
-
1
Thisara Perera
Pune Supergiants
5
8
20.62
9.0
13.6
-
-


Highest Run Scorers in IPL 2016 till April 30 2016

I have not been a close follower of IPL cricket over the years, occasionally glancing over the scorecards or following the games in bits and pieces which concerned my favorite players and this year it has been almost the same.

On the batting front, David Warner has been in scintillating form after moving back to opening the batting for the SunRisers Hyderabad team. The Australian's must be feeling sick now having made the decision to move him in the middle order for the ICC WT20 2016. Virat Kohli continues his superb form while De Villiers has also been at his enterprising best. Gautam Gambhir has led from the front for the Kolkata Knight Riders and has been a major factor in them being the top ranked team thus far. Rohit Sharma, just like Mumbai Indians, has blown hot and cold but like every year, he finds himself amongst the top 5 batsmen of the IPL 2016 thus far.

Given below is the table for the Top 5 Run Scorers of the Vivo IPL 2016 (table updated till the matches played on 30th April 2016).

Player
Team
Matches
Innings
Runs
Average
Strike Rate
100’s
50’s
David Warner
Sunrisers Hyderabad
7
7
386
77.2
168.6
-
5
Virat Kohli
Royal Challengers Bangalore
6
6
381
76.2
140
1
3
AB De Villiers
Royal Challengers Bangalore
6
6
316
52.7
166.3
-
3
Gautam Gambhir
Kolkata Knight Riders
7
7
302
60.4
123.2
-
3
Rohit Sharma
Mumbai Indians
8
8
298
49.7
136
-
4

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ahoy Businesses! Content Marketing Now Easy-Peasy with IndiBlogger's IndiPR.com!


A couple of days back, IndiBlogger launched its brand new project  in the market – IndiPR.com, a self-learning engine that automatically targets the right publishers. What this simply means is that now businesses of various sizes, including start-ups, can now have their Press Releases published by relevant influencers viz. bloggers like you and me in less than 72 hours! Exciting isn't it? I think this initiative is going to raise the bar of content marketing to a whole new level.

Win-Win situation for both businesses and bloggers.

Clearly, it’s a win-win situation for both, the bloggers who are more than happy to spread the word around through their influencer platform called blogs and the businesses who are looking to drive their latest products across the internet.

The main point here, especially for bloggers is to be true to their blogs and pick only those drives that are relevant to their niche and loyal to their audiences. After all, the world of blogging today stands on pillars of authenticity and users all over the internet world trust blogs only because they are known for their voice.

For the businesses, it’s a piece of cake, literally!

Simplicity is the key.

IndiPR.com is built in such a way. It makes it extremely simple for a business to get their Press Releases published by top bloggers. All a business has to do is upload their Press Release and the ‘Automated Influencer Targeting Engine’, or ‘AITE’ for short, proceeds to accept applications and automatically shortlists bloggers based on various factors including internal ratings and rankings. Once short-listed, the influencers do their research and publish their articles and also rake in some much-deserved moolahSimple!


Anoop Johnson, Co-founder & Director of Marketing at IndiBlogger, summarized this best, “With a starting budget of just USD 150, a business of any size will be able to get their press releases published by influential bloggers with a few clicks.”

Time is precious!

The automated system is a real boon for people who are tired with all the office jargon of running counter after counters. For example, one of the main issues that most marketers face when working with influencers is the cumbersome process associated with identifying and targeting each Influencer. Karthik DR, Co-founder &Business Head at IndiBlogger says, “The amount of time that people spend in trying to identify and contact influencers is huge. With IndiPR.com, you don't have to worry about any of this as the system just needs your Press Release. The rest is history!”

Get ready to be a star!

What we see at IndiPR.com right now is just the tip, there’s still lot more to come. They say, Influencers will be able to get creative assignments, get invitations to attend the trendiest launch events and be privy to the latest news on the planet before the world wakes up to it.



Adds Renie Ravin, the Founder and CEO of IndiBlogger, “We believe that this system will help Influencers with fresh and new content on their site every day. In a way, you could be writing about the next Google without even realising its immense potential.”

Now, who would want to miss an opportunity like that?

Contact Information:
Anoop Johnson
contact@indipr.com
Phone - +91-9900-001655 or 0124-4891498

Sunday, April 10, 2016

#JeetegaIndia - A Unique Twitter Campaign by Gaana and Kailash Kher!!

The India West Indies clash at the WT20 2016 was expected to create frenzy on the field with fans lining up at the Wankhede to watch the epic semi final clash. India had got there after a bit of a hiccup, having lost their opening encounter to the Kiwi’s and then clinching a heart stopping victory against neighbours Bangladesh before a Kohli special drowned the Aussie’s.

West Indies on the other hand, with all their flair and easy-to-go style had captured the imagination of the Indian crowds and players like Gayle, Bravo and Simmons who already have a huge fan following here were all set to enthral the Indian public once again.

The Wankhede crowd did it’s best for the big occasion, turning up in huge numbers and supporting India to the hilt. There was color, fanfare and truly maddening love for the Boys in Blue!!

Off the field too, on various social media channels there was support pouring in for the Indian team, the whole nation was backing India to go through to the finals by defeating the Windies. Now, music and Cricket go hand in hand, especially when the Calypso Kings are involved, what with DJ Bravo having launched the much appreciated and adored #Champion song just before the World Cup began!

On this occasion, KailashKher and Gaana.com cheered Indian Cricket team like no one else!

Gaana roped in the singing legend for a unique social media engagement

India’s first Jugalbandi campaign on Twitter, caught the imagination of the entire nation. Gaana.com provided its followers an opportunity to applaud the ‘boys in blue’ along with KailashKher. Participants cheered for Indian team with their tweets while  Kailash turned those into a song live! Watch the activity here - http://bit.ly/1qmUWHW. The unique activity #JeetegaIndia twitter reached 14 million viewers trended for 8 hours and garnered over 278 million impressions. It was quite a unique and novel way to cheer for Team India and was a hit on the social media.


Although India lost the Semi-finals, they played really well and the fans had no reason to complain. From the music composer Sulaiman Merchant to news channels like CNN-IBN, journalists and eminent anchors, everybody cheered for India through #JeetegaIndia. Some really quirky and creative lyrics were shared for the maestro to execute. One of Kailash’s song ‘TootaTootaEkParinda’ was turned into ‘TootaTootaEk Wicket to AiseToota, KephirJudh Na Paya’. 

KailashKher enjoyed the gig to the hilt, and every song for him was like an anthem pumping the nation with energy and determination. This rare treat which perfectly amalgamated the thrill of an epic encounter, eulogized by one of the best voices in Bollywood made fans on social media go berserk. 

In less than five hours, over 17,000 tweets with song requests reached Gaana.com, turning it into a highly successful campaign. In a first time case, a campaign forged such an intense connection between sports and music. 

Some of the brands and celebs that used the hashtag - #JeetegaIndia
Radio City 91.1
SAB TV
AbhijitMajumder (Managing Editor, Mail Today)
Mohit Yadav IFS (Indian Dilpomat, Squash Player)
Sulaiman Merchant (Popular Indian Music Composer)
Lakme India
AkashSoni (Anchor @ IBN7)
Box Office Detail
ShivamVij
Kamala Sripada (Journalist @ IBN7)
Shweta Bhattacharya (Broadcast Journalist @ Network18)
Zee TV Middle East
Anchal Vohra (Senior Anchor @ CNN-IBN)
Telugu Filmnagar
Times Now
MrityunjoyJha (Journalist @ IBN7)
SumitAwasti (Deputy Managing Editor @ IBN7)
CNN-IBN News

A Snapshot of the Gaana.com Twitter timeline!!

Although India went down to the eventual World Champions, West Indies, this campaign showed that a cricket match can be best enjoyed and celebrated with music giving it a lovely touch! The celebrations of the West Indian players who sang and danced to the Champion song after their victory only exemplified the deeper bond between cricket and music!!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

West Indies England Clash to Crown the ICC WT20 2016 Champion

Final: England Vs West Indies – Eden Gardens, Kolkata 03rd April 2016 - ICC WT20 Match Preview

These two teams met at the Wankhede in the group stages where Gayle trashed the English bowlers to all nooks and corners of the hallowed Mumbai stadium and win them the game. Now these two teams will meet again, this time at the famed Eden Gardens in Kolkata, for the ultimate prize and to be crowned as the World T20 Champions.


Barring the Kiwi’s who were defeated by England in the semi finals at Kotla, England and Windies have been the teams to beat in this WT20. They have been consistent and different members of their team have had an impact on the team’s fortunes right through the tournament.

The English batting has been propped up by Hales and Roy at the top who are followed by a sublime Joe Root. Although Eoin Morgan has failed with the bat, but his captaincy has been impeccable. Buttler has gone about his business in his regular fashion, butchering the ball to the fence with gay abandon. Stokes and Moeen Ali have done reasonably well in whatever little opportunity that they have got. They also have Jordan and Willey who can give the ball a good tonk lower down the order.

The West Indian bowling is largely dependent on their spin bowlers in Benn and Badree and both of them have succeeded in stifling the opposition with their immaculate line and length. Badree has been potent in the powerplay overs while Benn after the completion of the same. Russel and Bravo have provided the seam bowling option along with Carlos Brathwaite and all three have been clever with changes of pace and use of variations.

The West Indies batting line up induces horror and terror in many a bowling line up getting ready to face them as it is littered with match winners and powerful strikers of the cricket ball. They have the Gayle force at the top and him having already destroyed the English attack once in this tournament, they will be extra cautious of him. Charles, Samuels, Simmons, Bravo and Russel have all won the Windies a game or made significant contributions right throughout the tournament. Sammy and Brathwaite are amongst the hardest hitters of the cricket ball and they can easily win games on their own on a good day.

The English bowlers struggled with dew in Mumbai when these two teams met at the Wankhede but they were literally blown away by the #UniverseBoss, Chris Gayle that night. Willey has swung the ball nicely in the early overs and he will pose a threat to Gayle if he can get his line and length spot on. Jordan started off poorly but has improved as the tournament has gone on and along with Stokes have been the go-to men for Morgan in the death overs. With the Eden pitch likely to assist spin bowlers, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will be key components of their bowling attack. There is also Liam Plunkett who provides a pace bowling option for them.

Both England and West Indies have won this tournament before and both of them will be raring to go at each other for what will be a thrilling finale to this hugely exciting edition of the WT20 2016. Both the teams are packed with belligerent hitters and powerful strikers of the cricket ball who can tear through any bowling attack in the world. The Windies might just have the slight advantage having already beaten the English just a few weeks ago and on account of possessing more versatile players in their squad.

I would love for this match to be a close one but want the Windies to win as they are a team that always plays for the crowd and their celebrations are one that clings on to your memory long after the game is over!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

India to Face Calypso Music at the Wankhede for a Berth in ICC WT20 Final

2nd Semi Final: India Vs West Indies – Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai 31st March 2016 - ICC WT20 Match Preview

Pre tournament favourites and hosts India will clash with the men from Caribbean in the second semi final of the ICC WT20 at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai tomorrow, the winner earning the right to play either England or New Zealand.

India stumbled against the Kiwi spinners at Nagpur but bounced back to trash traditional rivals Pakistan before securing a heart stopping victory against Bangladesh and then finally trounced Australia in Mohali riding on a superb innings by Virat Kohli.

West Indies, on the other hand started off by trashing the English in a high run chase before seeing off both Sri Lanka and South Africa with relative ease before being toppled by the impressive Afghani team.

The Indian batting has largely been a one man show with Kohli doing the bulk of the scoring. Rohit, Raina and Dhawan have failed in all the games and the patience must be running out especially when Dhawan and Raina are considered. Yuvraj might miss the game because of the ankle injury he sustained in the last match. Dhoni remains the only other man in form along with Kohli but he has stubbornly resisted to move himself up the order.

The West Indian bowling might not be as strong as their batting but it does the job in the shortest format of the game with it's variedness. Benn provides the perfect foil for Samuel Badree and these two have been exceptional for the Windies thus far. Bravo provides stability in the middle overs with his variations and Russell opens the bowling for them often hitting 145 kph. The fact that these two are also very good batsmen means that West Indies are served well.

The West Indian batting is almost a scary sight to deal with. With the towering Gayle starting the proceedings, one might easily miss the batsmen at the other end but Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons (drafted in for Andre Fletcher) can all win games on their own. Then comes their string of big hitting all rounders in Bravo, Russell, Sammy and Brathwaite - all of whom can give the ball a proper battering and on a good Wankhede track remain a dangerous proposition to deal with.

The Indian bowling has gelled well and that has given Dhoni plenty of confidence even though their stronger suit, batting, has not functioned as per high standards. Nehra has been exceptional with his line and lengths and has bowled intelligently on the slow Indian tracks. Bumrah has not started well in the power plays but his pin-point yorkers in the slog overs have been almost impossible to hit. Ashwin and Jadeja have bowled well in the middle overs while Raina and Yuvraj have provided alternate spinning options. Pandya has been getting wickets as well with his relative harmless looking bowling.

It will be a great game between two very good teams who are in form and at home in the T20 format of the game. I feel that if India chase then West Indies might lose this as India would prefer chasing wholly the West Indian bowling is not as strong as their batting. Dew might also play a part and bowling might be difficult in the second innings. So I feel that the chasing team will have a great advantage tomorrow and will in all probability go on to win the game.

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