Go Gujarat & Delhi Darkhorses

dhoni-raina-m.jpgThe IPL is back and this season it seems better than ever. With the top players already starring, new teams and new young players this is getting good. The most impressive side so far are Gujarat Lions, while I also have a great liking for the way Delhi Daredevils have improved this season.

For years on end it was said that Suresh Raina was being protected by MS Dhoni, being one of his guys that always played if he did. This season has shown that Raina has come out of the shadow of his national skipper and the result has been fantastic to watch. Showing strong leadership on the field, making important fielding decisions. It is clear to see that Raina is an intelligent cricketer. Not saying that he will ever be India’s captain but its nice to see a guy proving people wrong.

His side on the field can only be an asset to his captaincy, having McCullum, Finch, Faulkner, Dwane Smith and Bravo in his side its hard to see a weakness in the batting or fielding. It will be very interesting to see if GL can continue the form throughout the rest of the tournament.

The other new boys Rising Pune Supergiants led by MS Dhoni, have struggled. It is a surprise to me that they have struggled so badly when we look through the team line up. Kevin Pietersen is a miss for them though.

The dark horses for me have to be Delhi, after a poor start they have come back really well. The batting is well marshalled by Quinten De Kock, who for me is only just behind Virat Kholi and Joe Root in terms of ability. Any team that has Andre Russell will be one of the favourites in a T20 competition. I think he has won every other big competition this year.

My predictions: 

Final: GL v DD – With DD winning it this year. (Long, long way to go)

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The Stars & Flops of IPL 7

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As IPL 7 draws to a conclusion Simply Cricket Blog takes a look back at some of the best performers and those who have not lived up to their high expectations. The biggest surprise has to be Mumbai Indians going from champions to a bottom side. Conversely Delhi Daredevils form has not been a surprise at all.

The stars of IPL 7:

The undoubted star of this IPl has to be Glenn Maxwell. Before this tournament started he was considered a player with a good track record at domestic level, but not anything of note in international cricket. I now feel he has taken his profile to be considered in the top bracket of T20 players now. The IPL can be considered on par with international T20’s due to the vast number of international players competing. Kings X1 Punjab have a number of players who could be in this list.

20 year old Akshar Patel is another who has impressed for Kings X1, a relatively unknown player before this competition started. He is now on the minds of the selectors who will undoubtedly monitor his performances over the coming year. He is officially listed as an allrounder but we have only seen the best of his bowling as yet. Could he be a long term successor to Ashwin?

Dwayne Smith has been the best player so far for Chennai Super Kings. His new partnership with Brendan Mcullum has been pretty successful. It is ironic that he was part of the winning squad last season and his former side now lay at the bottom of the league. Mike Hussey went the other way and he has totally flopped.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar currently holds the purple cap and is now showing that he is capable of playing all forms of the game. I believe him to be the natural heir to Zaheer Khan’s throne and this could be a big few months for him with the England tour coming up. He is part of the fierce Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack, also containing Dale Stein amongst others.

Others who make a list of IPL 2014 stars are JP Duminy, who is fighting on his own for Delhi. Miller and Bailey again from Punjab. New Rajesthan captain Shane Watson who looks to have remembered that he is an allrounder again. Talking of resurgences Robin Uthappa looks to have found some of his best form again, just in time to give Indian selectors a slight headache.

The Flops of IPL 7:

If it were possible I would list the whole Mumbai Indians squad in the list as well as Delhi Daredevills minus JP Duminy. His captain Kevin Pietersen has made the list purely on reputation, much was expected from him at Delhi and he has just not lived up to this.

Rohit Sharma makes this list, everything he did last season turned to gold, this season is another story. His squad have let him down and the pressure of managing a team on poor form has affected his own game. Another Indian who makes this list is Parthiv Patel. He used to be a fluent batsman and a brilliant wicket keeper, so far for RCB he has not shown this. A former world star Mike Hussey, has been woeful during the competition. His retirement from cricket seems to have hindered his performances.

The IPL finishes up on Sunday 1st June, I would love to see Punjab take the title this season.

IPL 2014: Delhi Daredevils axe their whole squad

IPL 2014 Delhi Daredevils

The big news from the Delhi Daredevils today was that they will not be retaining any player from their IPL 6 side. This news is a little surprising because they have some of the worlds best players in their squad. The axing of these players could backfire, as they could perform for any other side. World stars such as Sehwag, Pietersen, Warner, Morkel and Jayawardene will all be up for auction, as long as they want to be apart of the upcoming tournament. This decision probably will end the concept of the Galactico’s (famously used by Real Madrid).

Topping the group stage two seasons ago, the Delhi fans had very high expectations for last season. The lacklustre performances have forced Delhi’s hand. It is unsure if they will bother to bid for any of their players in the auction, but these will all now be on the open market.

If I were in charge of the franchise I personally would have unleashed some of the younger players complimenting David Warner, Mourne Morkel, Johan Botha and Kevin Pietersen as the foreign players. These are players who will instantly be snapped up by any side in the IPL. Morkel has been one of the leading bowlers in the IPl, over the last few years. He is up there with Malinga and Narine. Youngsters such as Manpreet Junaja and Unmakt Chand deserve another chance with the franchise.

The success of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings can be attributed directly to having a very settled side. Once Delhi get in their players this auction they should look to retain as many of these for the future. It will be very interesting to see what players the franchise wish to pursue at the auction, I predict that they will go for players such as Yuvraj Singh, Steve Smith and George Bailey.