Sunday, 3 May 2009

Unlucky Raina and the Lucky Parthiv Patel

When Suresh Raina raised his willow in the match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals believing that he had notched up a big hundred, I was reminded of the South African team led by Shaun Pollock way back in 2003 when the news from the dressing room proved to be wrong and South Africa had to settle themselves for a tie in the group stage match against Sri Lanka. The revised target from the dressing room after the Duckworth Lewis method was bought into play proved to be 1 run short than the actual target. Even Suresh Raina did the same mistake when he raised his bat thinking that his 100 was up, with the actual score being just 98.

Well it was not his mistake for, the electronic scoreboard had mis read his score to be 100 which was rather 98. And Suresh Raina had to pay the price for the mistake the elecrtronic scoreboard committed. This misled Raina to loft the very next ball high in the air giving Greame Smith a tough task which he completed with ease. However, Suresh Raina who is not known much with the ball was successful in taking a wicket. Well that in addition to taking two catches on the field I think would be equivalent to scoring a century. And what a match did Raina have, for he was the one who started it by scoring 98 and also ended the same by taking the catch of Trivedi.

This was not the way the Rajasthan Royals were expected to play, taking into account their heroics in the first edition of the IPL. As believed to be by most of them, it was not the Chennai Super Kings who finished the formality of taking the last wicket and winning the match but it was the Rajasthan Royals who completed the formality by losing their last five wickets for just 28 runs. None of the Rajasthan Royals' batsmen took the initiative to chase down the target imposed by the Chennai Super Kings whatsoever. The entire Rajasthan Royals' innings could produce just 2 sixes.

It is still not understandable for Shane Warne to opt to field first. If Shane Warne had taken the pitch to be a batsmen's paradise, it was equally amazing for the Rajasthan Royals' batsmen to succumb so badly and that too chasing a not so impossible target of 164. On the otherhand, even the Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is found to be lethargic with his team, for someone like Parthiv Patel who has been a 100% failure is found to make it to the playing XI despite all odds. Of course, the presence of big hitters like Jacob Oram, Hayden, Badrinath, Raina and Dhoni himself can make their batting look comfortable. But, I wish someone like Makhaya Ntini be introduced instead who could add strength to their bowling, with Dhoni keeping wickets.

Dhoni's strategy seems to be working right now, but, it is just unacceptable for anyone to have someone who's just a waste of money, slot in the playing XI and everything else. It would be a wrong signal for any team to have such players in the playing XI. However, Dhoni would be the best judge for that.

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