Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Umar Gul Retirement from International cricket

 Pakistan Pacer Umar Gul Annouces Retirement from Cricket

The pakistani pacer bids goodbye to his cricketing career after representing his country in 47 tests, 130 ODIs and 60 T20I. Umar Gul represented Pakistan in the Under 19 World Cup in 2002.The very next year in 2003 he was selected for the national ODI and test teams. Umar Gul has picked up 163 wickets in 47 tests and 179 wickets from 130 ODIs.
Umar Gul was particularly more lethal in the T20 format. He has scalped 85 wickets in 60 T20I at an average of 16.97. He was one of the mainstay behind Pakistan's success in 2007 and 2009, T20I world cup held in South Africa and England resprctively. In 2007, Pakistan reached the finals, but lost to arch rivals India in the final hurdle. Umar Gul was the highest wicket taker in the tournament with a tally of 13 wickets. In the second T20I World Cup, 2009 Pakistan became the champions, and this time too Umar Gul was the highest wicket taker with 13 wickets. In the list of highest wicket takers in T20I, Umar Gul is placed 5th. The list is headed by Lasith Malinga of Srilanka with 107 wickets from 84 matches. The best figures of the Pakistani pacer reads 5/6. The whooping performance came against New Zealand in 2009 ICC T20 World Cup. His figures of 4 wickets for 8 runs against Australia at Dubai was another performance which fetched accolades from the cricketing community. The toe crushing yorkers and reverse swing were the main weapons for Umar Gul.

In test he was often prone to injuries and at times it halted his progress. His best performance in test of 6/135 came against Srilanka at Gaddafi Stadium in 2009. In his first test match he could pick only 2 wickets. In the second and third match he picked up 5 and 8 wickets respectively against the same opponents. In ODIs his best bowling figures read 6/42. The performance came against England at Kennington Oval in 2010.

The Fastest Bowler in IPL 2020

 Anrich Nortje : The fastest bowler in IPL 2020

IPL 2020 has been not that bad for the fast bowlers. The shifting of venue from India to the UAE has provided them a better chance to showcase their art. In India the pitches are found to be more in favour of batsmen and spinners. Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult, Anrich Nortje, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumbrah all have found a smooth sailing in this year's IPL. The venues other than Sharjah haven't witnessed giant scores. The pitches in Abudhabi and Dubai have something for the bowlers. The 4 among top 5 wicket takers till now have been fast bowlers. Rabada with 19 wickets for Delhi capitals has been in the top spot. Jasprit Bumrah is in the second spot with 15 wickets. Mohammed Shami with 14 wickets is in the third spot and Jofra Archer of Rajasthan Royals with 12 wickets is in the 5th spot. Yuzvendra Chahal is the lone spinner in top 7. Delhi capitals and Mumbai Indians are in the top spot in the points table. These two teams have some fiery fast bowlers and that have helped them to reach the top spot. Mumbai Indians have the likes of Jasprit Bumbrah, Trent Boult and James Pattinson. Bumrah and Boult can be found in the list of top 10 wicket takers in this year IPL. Delhi Capitals have the services of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Rabada with 19 wickets is in the top spot among wicket takers , and Nortje is placed 6th with 12 wickets. T Natarajan of Surisers Hyderabad has been another find of the tournament. He has been excellent with the yorkers and has been a consistent performer for Hyderabad franchise. Till now he has taken 11 wickets from 9 matches.

Nortje has been a revelation this year's IPL. Last year he was a part of Kolkata Knightriders , but couldn't play because of a shoulder injury. This year when Chris Woakes of England pulled out of this year's IPL, Delhi Capitals signed a contract with the South African. In international level Norte has played 6 tests and 7 ODIs for South Africa. He has a tally of 19 wickets in tests and 14 of them in ODI. He is known for his raw pace in domestic circuits, and his team mate, Rabada was not at all surprised when Nortje bowled the fastest delivery in IPL 2020 in the match against Rajasthan Royals. The delivery clocked 156.22 km/hr. Jos Butler scooped the delivery for a boundary using the pace of the delivery. After two consecutive scoop Butler was bowled by an swinging delivery.In fact the top 5 fastest deliveries of this year's IPL has been bowled by Anrich Nortje. The slowest of the 5 deliveries is 153.72 km/hr. When most of the bowlers strive to reach the 150 km/hr mark, the South African pacer seems to go beyond the mark with ease at multiple times.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Valiant Heroes of 1999 World Cup



1999 World Cup held in England and Wales was a good one for African nation of Zimbabwe. Despite having some good quality players they were not able to showcase a notable performance in world Cups. But in 1999 edition they were able to have some sort of success, as they were able to advance to the second stage of super six. To a great extent, all-rounder Neil Johnson was instrumental in the success of Zimbabwe. 1999 world cup witnessed some great heroics of the likes of Lance Klusener, Wasim Akram and Shane Warne. Neil Johnson's heroics with the bat and ball often went unnoticed amongst them. Neil Johnson opened for Zimbabwe both, with the bat as well as the ball. Neil Johnson played only 13 tests and 48 ODIs for Zimbabwe . He retired from cricket in 2000 due to payment issues with his cricket board. In 13 test he scored 532 runs at an average of 24.18 with a top score of 107. He also picked up 15 wickets. In ODIs he scored 1,679 runs at an average of 36.50. He has scalped 35 wickets in ODIs.

1999 World cup was a great arena for the all-rounder. Their first match was against Kenya. Riding on a half century by Alpesh Vadher, Kenya made 229/7 in 50 overs. Neil Johnson picked up 4 Kenyan wickets for 42 runs in 10 overs. The second innings of match too belonged to Neil Johnson, as he top scored with 59 and took Zimbabwe to an easy win in just 41 overs. Zimbabwe then shocked India when they defeated the Asian giants by 3 runs. But Zimbabwe failed to repeat their success against England and Srilanka. They lost their matches against them. But Zimbabwe once again put up a great performance against South Africa. Batting first Zimbabwe managed to get 233/ 6 in 50 overs , once again Neil Johnson leading with a 76 off 117 balls. In South African innings, Neil Johnson dismissed Kirsten off the first ball. Again he dismissed Kallis for a duck. In total he picked up 3 South African wickets for 27 runs in 8 overs, including Hansie Cronje. The South African resistance ended up in 185 runs and Zimbabwe once again made history in World Cup. Neil Jonson was adjudged as the man of match for his glittering performance with both bat and ball. 

In Zimbabwe's match against Australia they had to chase a mammoth total of 304. Neil Johnson had picked up 2/43  in the Australian innings. With the bat, he scored a breezy 132 from 144 balls. Unfortunately Zimbabwe's innings ended up in 259. But Neil Johnson was once again awarded the man of match, for his great performance. Zimbabwe chasing a total of 271 against Pakistan could only muster up 123 despite a half century from Neil Johnson. The all-rounder made 54 runs, but never got any valuable support from the opposite end. Guy Whittall and Heath Streak were the only other Zimbabwean batsmen to get into the double figures. They had scored 16 runs before perishing. 


The memories of 1999 World Cup brings into mind the tragic run out of Allan Donald in the semi finals and the exit of South Africa from the World Cup. Lance Klusener made a valiant effort for the single, but Allan Donald didn't heard the call, and it was curtains for South Africa. South Africa as usual had begun the tournament in style, when they defeated India by 4 wickets. Lance Klusener was instrumental in the win, picking up 3 wickets and scoring 12 runs off 4 balls. In their next match against Srilanka, South Africa were in a non enviable position of 122/8. From such a position they reached 199/9 , thanks to 52 runs scored by Lance Klusener. In the Srilankan innings he took 3 wickets for 21 runs and the Lankan chase ended up in 110 runs. Lance Klusener was awarded the man of match for his contributions. In their next outing against England , South Africa made 225/7 and folded up English innings for 103 runs! Once again Lance Klusener contributed 48 runs with the bat and took 1 wicket. Again Klusener was the man of match. Klusener was having a dream run in the tournament.

Kenya was their next opponent in the tournament and chasing a target of 153, South African reached there in style with 7 wickets in hand and 9 overs to spare. Lance Klusener picked 5/21 to earn another man of match award. Lance Klusener was known for his swing bowling and the big hitting. Presence of Klusener and Pollock genuinely provided the batting depth for South Africa. South Africa's next game was against Zimbabwe and everyone expected South Africa to crush their opponent. But Zimbabwe and Neil Johnson had other ideas and chasing a target of 234, South Africa could only make 185. Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock made 52 runs each, but that wasn't enough to take South Africa home. South Africa in their next match against Pakistan, while chasing 221 were in danger at 176/7. Once again Klusener smashed valuable 46 runs with the bat and gifted South Africa with another victory. Lance Klusener was once again the man of  match. South Africa had won 4 out of last 5 games and in all the matches won by them, Lance Klusener had won the man of match award. In the next match against New Zealand, South Africa made 287 runs, and restricted Kiwis to 213. This time Klusener didn't contributed much with bat, but took 2/46 in the NewZealand innings. Australia was their next opponent in the super six stage. Australia registered a narrow victory with 2 balls to spare. Lance Klusener made 36 with the bat and took 1/53 with the ball. This failure cost them dear. South Africa once again faced Australia, and this time in the semi finals. Batting first, Australia could only make 213. Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock created havoc as they picked up 4/32 and 5/36 respectively. South Africa chasing the modest total, was in dire straits in 45th over as they were 175/6. It was then, Klusener came to bat and he took South Africa almost to the target with some big hitting. Klusener scored a quick fire 31 off 16 balls. 9 runs were required in the final over. Klusener scored 2 boundaries off the first two deliveries. Third delivery was a dot ball and the fatal run out came in the 4th ball. The cricket lovers all over the world, saw in despair the exit of South Africa from the world cup. Klusener won 4 man of match awards in the tournament. Jacques Kallis was the only other South African who had won the award in 1999 World Cup.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

CSK in IPL 2020 : Review

Chennai Super Kings is one among the IPL teams who can boast of a large fan base. The team has done fairly well in all editions of IPL. But this year it has not been great so far, for the Chennai outfits. MS Dhoni has been a great leader for the team and the wicket keeper batsman has to find some ways to take his team to the path of recovery after the initial setbacks in the current tournament. To the sheer delight of their fans, Chennai Super Kings managed to defeat the strong Mumbai Indians in the opening match of IPL 2020. But since then the team has managed only one win in the next 5 outings and are placed 6th in the table.

In the opening match CSK chased down the target of 163 set by Mumbai Indians with 5 wickets in hand, thanks to a 44 ball 58 from Faf Duplesi and 48 ball 71 by Ambati Rayudu.

The absence of Suresh Raina in the middle order has affected the balance of batting line up. The injury of Ambati Rayudu after the first game further dented the chances of CSK. Faf Duplesi has been a great form, but rarely he got any support from the other end. He  scored 37 ball 72 against Rajasthan and 35 ball 43 against Delhi. Unfortunately both innings went in vain. Rituraj Gaekwad who came in for an injured Ambati Rayudu failed miserably. So was Murali Vijay who struggled to get going. Fortunately for CSK, Ambati Rayudu has made a comeback to the team.

Faf Duplesi

Shane Watson seems to be back in touch, and that can be a great relief for the CSK camp. Sam Curran has been impressive with ball and with the bat. His small cameos has helped CSK raise their run rates in the last overs. Dhoni has been impressive in parts with the bat. He needs to reduce the dot balls in the middle overs. The dot balls in middle overs are further increasing the pressure in last overs. Everything is left for last 2 overs in their chase as we could see in their match against Rajasthan. Dhoni played quietly until the last over in that match. CSK required an impossible 37 runs in their last over after Jadeja gleefully left the last ball of the penultimate over. It was in the last over Dhoni tried for some hits and managed to hit a couple of huge sixes. But that could have been done a couple of overs before and the result would be different. Kedar Jadav needs to make some adjustments to his game as well. His slow run rate is mounting the pressure on the team in the last overs. Jhadav is playing as a specialist batsman in the team, as he hasn't bowled  in the tournament so far.

Sam Curran

 CSK may be thinking of finding a replacement for him in the upcoming matches. CSK bowlers have done reasonably well in the matches, but needs to take wickets at more regular intervals. Interestingly Sam Curran is their top wicket taker with 7 wickets from 6 matches. Dwayne Bravo was impressive in the match against Kolkata, especially in the last over. Kolkata batsmen failed to read his slow balls and perished. He gave away just 5 runs and picked two wickets in the last over. CSK hasn't made use of his service with the bat so far. The spinner Karan Sharma who replaced Piyush Chawla in the game against Kolkata was impressive.

CSK has the services of some great players, and leadership of an impressive captain. The cricketing fans can expect then to bounce back in the upcoming matches.