Tag Archives: Mumbai Indians

Rebut To “Chennai Super Kings Fans vs 1.230 Billion Indians”

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For me the IPL was over the moment Mumbai Indians won it and the trophy was given over to the winning captain. A Chennai fan though Anuj Chennai, wrote an unnecessary article on why Chennai fans are subject to global criticism and why they are the best side in any case. A rebut point by point was needed and here it is.

1. Most consistent team: Go find out how much your team was brought for, how much was paid for some marquee players and how much someone like Sir Ravindra Jadeja got. Now let’s compare it with spends by some teams like the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. If with that kind of spend, those teams can win and reach best four, its a shame for teams like CSK and MI if they do anything less than winning. On the same yardstick, don’t compare a franchise based model with a national model (Australian cricket team). Here if you can pay and you have deep pockets (by now we all know where the deep pockets were coming from) you can buy the best, in Australia it’s not money that players are bought for. I hope you are getting the point drawn.

2. CSK fans and Madness: This is something I would somewhat agree to. Even an auto-rickshaw driver in that state and city comes down to exploitation of anyone who he figures out cannot speak the language. That’s how they border everyone and chuck them out. As far as praising Pakistanis are concerned, this is a serious case of split personality disorder.

3. Yeah, You Alienate Others: Anuj again makes a great point in number three when he says it can be frustrating for a fan supporting any other franchise in the stadium. The entire idea of IPL was to divide and if the so called literati of Tamil Nadu is being fooled by it, hats off to Lalit Modi, what a proof of concept this is.

4. The Anthem Is Pathetic: Frankly, I would not mince words in calling the Anthem as poor as it can get. Korbo Lodbo Jeetbo and Halla Bol are far better in lyrics and Music qualities. Just adding jingoism is not creating an anthem. Probably ‘Kolaveri Di’ best explains the music there.

5. No One Has Alienated Chennai: No hard feelings bro, your state and land is as much a part of this country as any other. Don’t feel alienated. This feeling of yours leads to the people there thinking everyone is an enemy around. Change the thinking, embrace others, believe me the feeling will be mutual.

This article did not mean to hurt anyone. It only meant rebutting a few erring points laid out in the one by a fanatic fan. 1.230 billion people love when AR Rehman wins an Oscar and when Sridevi gyrates her body to the tunes of Mr. India. We are proud of the Kamal Hasans and Rajnikanths of Tamil Nadu. We are proud of a Tamilian Muslim President called APJ Abdul Kalam but we do not like when someone proudly rants that he/she is more important because of their lineage and state.

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Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings: The Grand Finale

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As the cricketing fraternity all over  is shockingly disturbed over the fixing theories going around the IPL, the 76th game and the most important is about to commence in the next few hours.

Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super King are undoubtedly the two strongest teams of the tournament and it makes tremendous sense for the two to make to the finals. At least this could have been natural and without much external influence, you know what I am talking about.

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Not only did Chennai win most number of games and qualify on the basis of winning the first qualifier, they are also the only team which has won more games outside their home strip than any other. With both the highest run-getter (orange cap – Mike Hussey) and hight wicket-taker (joint Purple Cap – Drawne Bravo) in this unit, they don’t lack a punch for sure. Their fielding is what sets standards for other teams and their batting order can send any bowling attack a shiver down their spine. Mumbai is no less though in fielding and the fact that three out of top 5 catches this season has been held by the jumping Pollard speaks volumes of Jonty Rhodes’ efforts as a fielding coach.

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Mumbai on the other hand are a team built with strong people as well. The way they actually dropped an out of form Ricky Ponting (yeah really) and made Rohit Sharma the captain made one clear sound, and that was that they are here to win the tournament. The chopping and changing has worked for them this time and they have been another franchise, alongside Rajasthan, to win all games at their home venue. Unfortunately, the final is at a neutral venue and Mumbai’s record abroad is not as great as Chennai.

Comparative Analysis: 

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While Chennai Super Kings bat deep, Mumbai Indians batting has never let them down this season. With Ambati Rayudu coming into form in the last game, their batting looks an in-form line-up with Dwayne Smith, Rohit Sharma, Keiron Pollard and Dinesh Karthik making a star-studded line-up. If Sachin Tendulkar is fit, this will probably be a test for the Chennai bowlers who have leaked runs in some important games. Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson have led the Mumbai bowling well and if they have a good day together even CSK batting will look a little less strong.

Chennai batting is no less. Murali Vijay is is top form, Raina is probably batting as best as he always does in the IPL, Hussey is orange-cap holder and we all know what MS Dhoni can do in crunch games. With Badrinath adding the much needed stability to the side, this team does not look any less than the opposition. The bowling though is of concern to Chennai. They do not have match winners in their like a Malinga as the Mumbai team does. There might not be a weak link but at the same time all of them, the Bravos and the Sharma’s we know could leak runs in dozens.

Players To Look For: 

Chennai: Hussey, Dhoni, Bravo, Raina

Mumbai: Smith, Pollard, Rohit Sharma, Malinga and Johnson

Pitch and Ground conditions: Except for the rain impacted last match, the pitch at Kolkata is notoriously famous for being slow and spin friendly. This would assist both sides as they are packed with good spinners. Unfortunately unless it rains again, the team winning the toss might hold a massive advantage batting first.

Mumbai might be a tad more confident winning 2 out of the 3 games played this season between the two sides. The way though they lost the first qualifier would be a cause for concern. Both the teams have a super record at Eden and overall this should be a grand finale for an otherwise controversy prone tournament. Hoping the best team on the day wins, other than the bookies.

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Rajasthan Royals: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

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Having had its best year in the last five years, the Rajasthan Royals definitely won many a hearts during IPL 6, even with Spot-Fixing allegations initially surfacing from their own premises. 

Rahul Dravid was very clear from the outset that they were the underdogs and moneyball team in front of the mighty Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier. The fact that his team actually stretched the game to the last over from a position of losing it says much about a side which on paper look rank underdogs in front of the might of some teams in the tournament. There had to be some highlights of the team, some good and bad. Let’s look at them one by one. 

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1. Home Advantage: If there is one team which actually took the home advantage seriously, it has to be Royals. With that kind of a team winning 8 out of 8 at Jaipur is phenomenal. No matter how much we stress on home conditions, to be fair, no ground except for crowd support, which we know is how hollow sometimes during the IPL, can actually be called home to any team. All the teams being Indian and most players coming from India, makes real advantages like knowledge of pitch, weather etc redundant. Rajasthan though played like they know Sawai Man Singh more than any other team, any other captain. The results are there for all to see.

2. Inspiring Captaincy: Frankly if you ask me one highlight of the IPL, it has to be seeing Rahul Dravid cross bat and heave deliveries over mid-wicket. No one could have made him do that in his international career and he actually customized himself to suit the format. He came out at the top like a role model to his players as to how to take the challenges front-on. He created stars like Share Warne did and am sure players like Sanju Samson will be indebted for life to him. His strategies where-in he made his superstars wait till the threat of new ball was off paid off more times than one. All-in-all we know his was a stint cut-to-made to suit an underdog side.

3. The Good Things: Start counting 

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– Sanju Samson: Fabulous batting and what a find

– Stuart Binny: No one thought he is a threat, he proved everyone wrong

– Dravid’s tactics: Wrote about that above

– A brilliant seam attack – That came out of nowhere.

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– Team Effort: Someone or the other stepped up, raised his hand and did it for them. Kemon Cooper, Brad Hodge, Samson, Binny and even Trivedi.

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– Shane Mighty Watson: Do we even need to name him. He is one rockstar that always proved his mettle for the RR.

4. The Bad Things: A few of them are here

– No quality spinners: They always lacked one and especially at the business end because of wrong reasons. In fact in their last two games, on spinning tracks they actually went in with an all-seam attack and actually won one of them. Speaks some thing about confidence, doesn’t it. To add to this RR lacked a very threatening bowler and though Shaun Tait was in the squad, it would be correct to assume he is well past his prime.

– The rate of scoring: This is one area that the Royals struggled all-through. Except sometime when Watson got going, they hardly had a net run-rate of 8 plus to boast of. Even Rahane who otherwise has been seen as someone with a more than decent T20 strike-rate looked like playing safe this time more often than not.

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5. The Ugly: Enough has been spoken of the spot-fixing saga and for the sake of Rahul Dravid, let’s keep the ugly to only the three of the so called “Rotten Eggs”. We hope and pray not any other of that side is involved in the rut.

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6. Best Player: Without a doubt this could have gone to either Watson or Hodge. While Watson kept playing good cricket through, it was Hodge who proved what he is capable of in the all important eliminator when he took upon the mantle of cracking down on the best bowling attack on display and winning the game for his side, all this after his name was also being discussed in the fixing saga. Some mettle these Aussies are made up of, isn’t it? And yes, while we keep talking of the batsmen because of the format, we should not forget, it was James Faulkner who won all our hearts with some supremely good bowling in the tournament. Not many end up with two five-fors in the same IPL, do they? Faulkner actually did it. My prize for best player goes to the Purple Cap holder Faulkner.

This team has always been a surprise package and it would be extremely interesting to see what and who they buy next year when everyone goes under the hammer for only the second time. They though cannot afford to let go of the fact that they first need an inspiring captain to lead them like Warne and Dravid have done. 

 

 

Mumbai Indians And The Problem Of Resources Vs Resourcefulness

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Mumbai Indians have a great team but a very poor resource utilization strategy. Venugopal Rajagopalan writes about that and more in this insightful piece.

Resourcefulness is optimal utilization of resources of a resource. From a corporate perspective, it is not cash that fuels the journey to the future, but the emotional and intellectual energy of every employee.

“A firm can sit atop mountains of cash and command legions of talented people, and still lose its preeminent position. Likewise, a firm can sometimes overcome enormous resource handicaps and successfully scale the heights of industry leadership” – Gary Hamel & C.K.Prahlad

Quoting another excerpt from the book Competing for the future – “Too often companies are judged in terms of resources rather than resourcefulness. Resourcefulness stems not from an elegantly structured strategic architecture, but from a deeply felt sense of purpose, a broadly shared dream, a truly seductive view of tomorrow’s opportunity.”

Now, relating this to Mumbai Indians’ case in the IPL, you can draw the same parallels. They have some of the biggest names in the business in the form of both players  and support staff. The likes of Sachin, Ponting, Pollard, Rayudu, Johnson, Oram, Harbhajan, Rohit Sharma etc prove that talent is there in abundance. In the coaching and support staff, we have people like John Wright, Anil Kumble, Robin Singh and even Mike Horn as a motivational speaker.

However, the point here is, you might have the best of resources and money power; however it’s of no use if you do not know how to utilize them. That’s what one can make of the performance of the Mumbai Indians team in all editions of the IPL. What’s the point in having spent so much to buy and retain a player of the pedigree of Kieron Pollard, if he gets to only face an average of 5-10 balls a match? In yesterday’s game against RCB at Bengaluru, he faced only 2 balls and that too at a stage where he hardly had any time to play himself in. You can’t possibly expect a man to come in to bat and hit an imaginary 30 runs in 5 balls and win you a match even he is Sir Vivian Richards.

MI has faltered in the area of strategy since the time IPL started. They lost the finals of the 2010 edition to CSK because of the very reason of not giving enough balls for Kieron Pollard to face and chase down the total. Their team management has not learnt from their mistakes in the previous editions at all. Any cricketing pundit would bat Pollard at #4 if not higher to give your match winner and best T20 player maximum time at the crease. It is not rocket science to understand that just giving him solitary 5-10 balls to face every innings is a waste for a player of his caliber.

Just imagine if Chris Gayle was asked to bat at number 6 by the RCB. Would RCB be the same force? The answer is a clear cut NO! T20 is a different ball game all together and the needs are different from the batsmen. However mouth watering the sight of seeing Sachin and Ponting opening the batting might be, the fact is that both are well past their prime. Either one of them, (ideally Ponting) should be batting at 3 or Rohit Sharma should be opening the batting for their batting order to be more effective. Pollard should be batting no lower than #4 or #5 to be effective in this format. Ideally, he should be coming in to bat not later than the 12th over of the innings to have maximum impact on the outcome of the match. If he fails to deliver or if there is a top order collapse, the Ambati Rayudus and the Dinesh Karthiks can surely resurrect the innings and get MI to a respectable total.

Will MI learn from yet another mistake or not, only time will tell, however it would be interesting to see if any other team would use this failed strategy to their advantage. Having said that, full marks to Vinay Kumar for bowling the perfect Yorker on that last delivery to Pollard under extreme pressure in that final over.

RCB Vs MI at IPL6 in Bengaluru

5 Reasons To Watch IPL Season 6

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Like it or hate it, Indian cricket’s biggest extravaganza is back and no matter where you try and run away to escape, some form of it will catch up. So better fasten your seat belts and enjoy the action. Here are my five reasons for this year.

1. This Would probably be the first time and maybe the last when I would see Sachin Tendulkar playing under an Aussie captain, that too none less than Ricky Ponting. Even if Sachin has not captained this side in one season (MI played under Harbhajan Singh then), the master blaster had always been in the forefront of things. Will we see the same this time or with Ponting at the helm, the Indian champion will take a backseat, only time will tell.

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2. This IPL could very well be the last one for many Indian and Foreign stalwarts. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey and many others could actually call it a day from this tournament. So this will be a last chance to see some of the biggest heroes in action for the last time.

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3. Hyderabad has a new team and an exciting one at that. They have been one side which has always done the extremes. In season one, when they probably had the best team they turned out to be the worst performers and in season two and when nothing was expected from them, they actually lifted the trophy. They have a new look team this time with different owners, definitely something to look up to.

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4. If there is one justification IPL gives for its existence and help towards developing Indian cricket, it is the talented youngsters it throws up to the fore. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are without an iota of doubt the products of this tournament. It would be exciting to see who this season of IPL throws to the main league.

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5. And finally, one of my biggest reasons to look on for the IPL is none other than the West Indian great Chris Gayle. It’s his batting and spanking bowlers all and sundry is what makes the tournament just so extra attractive. The art in the manner he butchers bowlers of all statures is so much delight for the visual senses. I hope, this turns out to be another rollicking season for him and courtesy him, Vijay Mallya actually ends up winning something in an otherwise losing year on all fronts.

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