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A Yusuf Pathan slaughter at SuperSport Park

Yusuf Pathan's massive self-belief couple with Graeme Smith's firmness took Rajasthan Royals to a dramatic five-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in a low-scoring in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday. Yusuf Pathan's clean hitting and Smith's steady innings ensured a win Rajasthan Royals which rose to the fourth place with five points.

AB de VilliersWalking in to bat at 64-5 in the 11 over - and with 80 runs wanted for the victory - Yusuf hit six sixes and three fours in making an unbeaten 62 off 30 deliveries to take the side home and dry with as many as nine deliveries left. Smith was left unbeaten on 44 off 46 balls (five fours), enjoying Yusuf Pathan's aggression from some 20 yards away during the 83-run stand.

"It was my day. I was able to hit the ball well," Pathan said after getting his man of the match award that nobody could ever complaint. "But you have to give credit to Graeme Smith for his innings, too."

Of course, Smith held the innings jointly even as Delhi Daredevils bowlers, led by Amit Mishra clawed their way back into the game after the team had made just 143 for seven in 20 overs. Mishra took three wickets in his first three overs and was involved in running out Swapnil Asnodkar with a direct hit to dowel Rajasthan Royals back.

Yusuf PathanPathan strike Daniel Vettori for three sixes and 27 balls off the eight deliveries he faced from the experienced left-arm spinner and when Mishra came back for his fourth over, the lanky batsman responded with a six and a four to turn the match on its head. Pathan's clinical strikes first left rival Skipper Virender Sehwag chewing his fingernails and then smiling in fear.

Earlier, despite a half-century by AB de Villiers Delhi Daredevils never really recovered from the early departures of Gautam Gambhir - who failed yet again and now has just 39 runs this IPL 2009 season - and Sehwag. Both were prised out by Dmitri Mascarenhas and Tillakaratne Dilshan's rare failure harm the side when Rajasthan Royals bowled with passion and much purpose.

Chennai Super Kings can't stop the Deccan Charge

Deccan Skipper Adam Gilchrist won the toss and put in Chennai on a fresh pitch that looked likely to help the bowlers in the early hours, before easing out. Fidel Edwards got his an obligatory wicket in the first over, when he had Parthiv caught behind off the second ball of the match.

HaydenHowever, Hayden was in a brutal mood, and he treated purple cap holder RP Singh with scant admiration. The fall of Raina after a good cameo, didn't deter Hayden. But as he's done whenever for Hyderabad, Pragyan Ojha put a stopper in Chennai's plans, with two big wickets in one over - those of Dhoni and Hayden, both not getting clutch of the ball and getting caught. In what is becoming a worrying state of affairs for Chennai, Albie Morkel came, hit one, and went. Chennai Super Kings need him to perform better than he has done so far in the tournament, because the Albie that has turned out for Chennai is a far cry from the one who terrorised the Australians a few short months ago.

For today though, Jacob Oram was the man for Chennai, and it was due to his lusty hitting at the end, that Chennai reached a total oIf you'd looked at the schedule before the IPL, and been told that of the two teams facing each other for the first match of April 27th, one had won 3 games on the trot while the other had only 1 win off four games, you'd have assumed Chennai had won 3, while Hyderabad had won 1. But such is the nature of T20, the headlines were the same, but with the teams reversed. Chennai needed to win this match to keep its title hopes alive, while Hyderabad didn't want to break its winning momentum.

For today though, all rounder Jacob Oram was the man for Chennai, and it was owing to his lusty hitting at the end, that Chennai reached a total of 165 for 6.

Adam GilchristIt seemed to be spirited during the mid-innings break.

Someone forgot to advise that to Herschelle Gibbs & Adam Gilchrist though. In a display of batsmanship not yet seen in the IPL so far, they raced to 60 off just 24 balls, reaching the fastest 50 of the IPL in the process. Dhoni was compulsory to bring on Murali inside the power play, and he bowled the first rational over of the innings when he conceded 'just' 6 runs.

In desperation, Dhoni turned to part-timer Raina for the last over of the powerplay, but the gamble worked, when he got Adam Gilchrist to cut one straight into gully's hands. Gilchrist departed for 44 off just 19 balls. With his wicket, the scoring rate slowed down from a manic 15 runs per over to saner scopes, and Raina struck again when he had Laxman caught in a similar manner to Adam Gilchrist.

Hercshelle GibbsRohit Sharma & Herschelle Gibbs then set aside Hyderabad on course with a useful partnership of 39, but just when Hyderabad looked to be in control, Rohit fell, but with 42 needed off 38 balls, it was still very much Hyderabad's game. Chennai pulled things back though, especially through Murali's last over, where he gave just 2 runs and got the wicket of Dwayne Smith, until it came down to 8 needed off the final over. Gibbs then settled the issue with a six off the first ball that Balaji bowled, and with a single and a four off the next two, Hyderabad were home, sitting resolutely at the top of the charts with 4 wins out of 4 matches.

Man of the Match: Hercshelle Gibbs

Rajasthan Royals script a Super Over victory over Kolkata Knight Riders

Yusuf PathanThe Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Brendon McCullum won the toss and he elected to bowl first. The Newlands pitch had offered help to the seamers and spinners in an equal proportion during the earlier games. Kolkata made four changes in their line-up. Sanjay Bangar, Ajanda Mendis, Ajit Agarkar and Anureet Singh were the ones included in the final eleven. Rajasthan also had three changes in their team. They brought in Rob Quiney in place of Tyron Henderson while Swapnil Asnodkar made way for Abhishek Raut. The 25 year old Paul Valthaty was also included in the team.


Chris GayleAfter a heady contest in Durban where Delhi won by nine runs from Chennai, it needed a battle like this to keep the adrenalin flowing in the DLF Indian Premier League. The teams tied scores at 150 each in 20 overs and it was the platform on which a rookie paceman Kamran Khan was launched into limelight.

The teenager Kamran Khan from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh first took three for 18 in his four overs to help Rajasthan Royals bowl out Kolkata Knight Riders for 150 despite a gallant 46 by Sourav Ganguly. He then bowled a 16-run over and dismissed Chris Gayle to set the stage for Yusuf Pathan to steal the boom.

Sourav GangulySourav Ganguly hit the first six of a free hit in the IPL 2009 after Munaf Patel bowled a no-ball.

The Rajasthan – Kolkata Knight Riders match was the first ever tied match in the IPL.

'Super Over' was employed for the first time ever in the IPL after the Rajasthan Royals – Kolkata Knight Riders match ended in a tie.

AB De Villiers masterclass ensures Delhi Daredevils win


AB De VilliersOn a pitch that look like a belter, Virender Sehwag won the toss and had no faltering in batting first.

Chennai Super Kings had an unchanged side, while Delhi made one change, but not the likely one. Ashish Nehra came in for Yo Mahesh, while there was still no sign of Glenn McGrath - who had the 4th best economy rate in last year's IPL.
Lakshmipathy Balaji gave Chennai a dream start by take away the dangerous Gautam Gambhir off the first ball of the match, when he slowly shouldered arms to a ball that caught a feather touch on the way to Dhoni. The next over, the second half of the dream opening pair also gone, when Sehwag top edged a pull to Albie Morkel at mid-on, and suddenly Delhi's middle order was exposed.

DilshanHowever, Delhi fans needn't have fright. In Dilshan and AB De Villiers, the Delhi Daredevils found men who were upto the challenge. Dilshan was leading initially, free stroking his way to 50 off 24 balls, but he chop immediately after. De Villiers however, picked up from where Dilshan left off, and then moved into a region of his own. He got some hold from Dinesh Karthik, and then in a dramatic partnership with Manoj Tiwary, he made 65 off the 74 runs they scored. His masterclass ensured that Delhi ended up at an impressive 189 for 5 - the highest total of IPL 2009 so far.

However, when you have a batting lineup that has Hayden, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Andrew Flintoff, Albie Morkel and Badrinath, no total can be measured safe, and Chennai came out intending to prove just that. Matthew Hayden - who the Australian selectors must badly be thinking of calling out of retirement - blazed away to 50 off 22 balls - thereby equaling his own record set in his previous match for the fastest 50 of the tournament. At the halfway stage Chennai were very well placed at a 106 for 2 wickets, with Suresh Raina and Dhoni at the crease. Even though Dhoni fell soon after, Chennai looked on course and when they wanted 51 off 35 balls with Albie Morkel and Andrew Flintoff at the crease, they looked like favorites to win.

Matthew HaydenBut some excellent bowling at the death by Ashish Nehra, Avishkar Salvi and the ever reliable Daniel Vettori, ensured that Chennai's runs were strangled, which led to suicidal run-outs and manufactured shots that ended up in the hands of fielders.

Eventually Chennai fell 9 runs short, close enough to sound a warning to other teams that no total is past their reach, but far enough to give Delhi the psychological edge and possibly suppose the mantle of the front-runner for the tournament.
Man of the Match : AB De Villiers


Adam Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma blast through Bangalore


Adam GilchristOn a day when the cricket fans around the world were praying for the rain gods to keep away, the Deccans skipper Adam Gilchrist won the toss and decided to bat first. In the pitch report, Simon Doull and Greg Blewett cited that the pitch, unlike the past ones, had lots of runs on offer.

Adam Gilchrist took the Deccans to a blistering start. While Praveen Kumar was in use for three consecutive boundaries off his first over, his bowling partner Dale Steyn was not spared either. Steyn was taken for two fours and a six off his over.

The first break-through for the Bangalore team came in the form of Herschelle Gibbs when he was intent LBW by Praveen Kumar. The former Hyderabad captain VVS Laxman did not last long time. He was dismissed by the Kiwi’s Jesse Ryder when he was caught by Dale Steyn at long-off attempting a loft drive.

Gilchrist, on the other end, kept the scorers hard with his action-packed strokes. Soon, Gilchrist reached his fifty by blasting Ryder for a six over square-leg. At the end of 10 overs, the Deccans scored 91 runs for the loss of two wickets.

Rohit SharmaPost 'Strategy break' Gilchrist was at his violent best, belting the Bangalore bowlers all round the park. Rohit Sharma joined the action and some hearty blows were seen of his bat. Eventually, a leaping catch by Virat Kohli saw the back of Gilchrist, dismissed by Pietersen. However, Gilchrist had done enough damage, scoring 71 runs of just 45 balls. His knock included 6 fours and 5 sixers.

An over later, the new man at the crease Scott Styris endured a chance when a mistimed shot to deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Praveen Kumar was put down by Karan Sharma. However, he could not take advantage. Styris offered another chance to wide long-on only to find an angry Praveen Kumar latch onto the ball. Pietersen claimed his second wicket.

Rohit Sharma kept himself hard at the other end taking Hyderabad to a formidable score. He went on to score his fifty utilized just 28 balls. However, one attempt too many brought about Sharma's downfall. Kevin Pietersen held on to a skier giving Steyn his first wicket. An attempted fast run of the very next ball resulted in the run-out of Venugapal Rao. Maintaining a consistent run-rate through out the innings, Deccans finished off their innings at 184/6. This also happened to be the highest IPL score of the second season.

Rahul DravidThe Bangalore innings started off on an incorrect note. Fidel Edwards knocked the stumps off, as Jesse Ryder yet again failed to make an feeling in the IPL. Kallis, once again privileged to deceive. An attempted drive through covers found the safe hands of Rohit Sharma as RP Singh picked up his first wicket.

Uthappa used up 19 deliveries to score 12 runs before he detained out to a brilliant catch by Ravi Teja off Scott Styris' bowling. Rahul Dravid walked in and looked at his easeful best. Along with Pietersen, Dravid speed up the scoring and took Bangalore to a score of 57 runs at the end of 10 overs.

The other side of the smash saw one more wicket fall for Bangalore. The Bangalore skipper could not defy a flighted delivery by Ohja. Coming down the track, he missed the ball and Gilchrist completed the stumping. Rahul Dravid as usual, was at his reliable best with boundaries flowing from him bat. Kohli provided him with a helping hand and together they collected runs at a fast rate.

Virat KohliAn attempt to go over the the long-off boundary bring about the dismissal of Dravid bringing the 53 run partnership with Kohli to an end. Dravid go back to the dugout 2 short of his fifty. His quick fire 48 off 27 deliveries included 5 fours and 2 sixers. The next man in, Rajesh Bishnoi was run-out after trying to pinch a single.

Requiring 53 runs of 18 balls, a futile heave by Karan Sharma saw him heading back. Styris picked up his 3rd wicket. Virat Kohli on the other hand, stood firm and tried firm to fight back. He brought up a heroic fifty in the final over of the match before giving RP Singh his 2nd wicket. The Bangalore team ended the innings 24 runs short of their target.

Aggressive batting by Gilshrist and Sharma with quick wickets at the start of Bangalore's innings brought up the second victory for the Deccan Chargers in the IPL 2009. Despite Rahul Dravid winning the 'Orange Cap' and Kohli bringing up his fifty, the Royal Challengers lost their second match in a line. Meanwhile, RP Singh won the 'Purple Cap' for the highest wicket-taker's list.

Kings XI Punjab blown away by Kolkata Gayle


Chris GayleChris Gayle strike an explosive 44 not out to power Kolkata Knight Riders to an 11-run win over Kings XI Punjab in a rain-hit IPL match on Tuesday.

The West Indies captain smashed four sixes in his 26-ball knock as Kolkata Knight Riders raced to 79-1 off 9.2 overs in reply to their opponents' 20-over total of 158-6 when the game was called off owing to rain.

Kolkata Knight Rider, who were 11 runs ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis method, posted their 1st win in two games. Kings XI Punjab have lost both of their matches.


Irfan PathanGayle put his team on way for victory when he put on 57 off just 33 balls for the first wicket with New Zealander Brendon McCullum, who cracked two sixes in his 16-ball 21.

Punjab remunerated dearly for letting off Gayle early in the innings, with Karan Goel dropping an easy catch at mid-wicket off South African left-arm seamer Yusuf Abdulla.

Yuvraj Singh and Kumar Sangakkara (26) helped Punjab post a reputable total with a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket after a double-strike from Kolkata seamer Sourav Ganguly.



Yuvraj SinghCaptain Yuvraj Singh, who smashed six sixes in an over at this venue against England in the Twenty20 World Championships in 2007, top scorer with a 28-ball 38 with the help of two sixes.

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly ended Punjab's early thrive with two wickets in his opening over, having pinch-hitter Irfan Pathan(32) caught at deep mid-wicket and removing Ravi Bopara(15) caught behind.

Yuvraj Singh and Sangakkara then steadied the innings before Mahela Jayawardene cracked a 19-ball 31 not out to help his team cross the 150-mark.

Hayden, Murali sparkle for Chennai Super Kings


Matthew HaydenCricket "golden oldies" Matthew Hayden & Muralitharan powered Chennai Super Kings to a 92-run win over Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League.

Australian Matthew Hayden, who deceased the international scene recently at the age of 37, struck a blistering 65 at Saint George's Park in this southern coastal city before being run out by Dravid.

The exodus of Hayden just one ball after fellow opener Parthiv Patel was out for 30 did slow a Chennai charge that saw them rush to 106-0 after 10 overs, but they completed on 179-5 to set Royals a challenging target.

Enter Sri Lanka wizard Muralitharan to source chaos and snap up three wickets, with the prized one of former England skipper Kevin Pietersen for a duck, and all the spoil was inflicted at the expense of just 11 runs.

Bangalore were trouble from the start, losing opener Praveen Kumar in the third ball of the innings and rapidly fell behind the nine-run-an-over victory target.

Jacques KallisSouth African Jacques Kallis take a quick 24 before becoming the next Chennai victim and by the 'strategy break' the Challengers wanted a miracle as they languished at 56-5 with 10 overs completed.

There was no amazing turnaround, only more Chennai wickets on the same track that shaped a bucketful of runs when South Africa trumped Australia in an ODI clash last week.

Kallis finished as top scorer and opener Robin Uthappa and Dravid added 20 runs each as Bangalore slipped from top spot after the opening round to fifth while 2008 runners-up Chennai scrambled two places to third.


Daniel Vettori best spinner at present - Sehwag


Virender SehwagDelhi Daredevils captain Virender Sehwag has locate Daniel Vettori in the same league as famous spinners Shane Warne & Anil Kumble and said the New Zealand captain is the best tweaker in the world at present.

Sehwag lavished praise on his Delhi Daredevils team-mate Vettori for his magical spell last night in the match against Punjab which the Delhi team won comprehensively by 10 wickets in Duckworth Lewis method.

"At the moment Vettori is the best spinner in the world," Sehwag said.

Daniel VettoriVettori was adjudged man-of-the match for his figures of 3 wickets for 15 runs and it was this spell that shifted the momentum in the Delhi Daredevils favour.

"The Punjab were going great guns when I asked Danny (Vettori) to bowl and thanks to him we were successful in getting the critical wickets," Sehwag said, adding the left-arm spinner has the aptitude to bowl well on any all sort of wickets.

Clinical Deccans sweep through Kolkata Knight Riders


Sourav GangulyDrizzly conditions prevailed during out the day at Newlands. After a rain shortened first match which saw forceful victory for Delhi against Punjab, the Deccan vs. Knight Riders match had a delayed start after the floodlights at the stadium went defective.

The Buchanan appointed Kolkata skipper Brendon McCullum won the toss and surprisingly opted to bat first.

The first ball of RP Singh's over resulted in the dismissal of the Kolkata skipper. McCullum tried a glance down to fine leg only to glove the ball to Gilchrist. Chris Gayle, after scoring a four and six in a row off RP Singh, went for one shot too many, asset out to Harmeet Singh at long off.

A struggling Sourav Ganguly was soon to follow. He was out in his classic fashion, attempting a flashing drive and edging a Harmeet Singh delivery to VVS Laxman in the slips. Kolkata were shambling at 16/3.

A tiny partnership was taking place between Chopra and Brad Hodge before Chopra was out, stumped to a well-crafted ball by Ojha. The crafty left arm spinner struck again by attracting Shukla out of the crease only to find the bails removed by Gilchrist.

GibbsRunning out of partners, Hodge conceded on with his innings scoring 31 runs until he became the next man to go. After scoring two boundaries off Scott Styris, he was out to a sharp reflex catch by Gibbs. In the same over, Scott Styris sent Henriques back to the pavilion thanks to an impressive catch by Rohit Sharma at short-covers.

The dismissal brought Agarkar to the crease. However, he did not stay long. After hitting a massive six, Agarkar was run-out to a brilliant fielding effort by Rohit Sharma again. RP Singh finished off the Kolkata tail by picking up Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda. Kolkata could only manage 101 runs.

The Deccans openers went about the chase in the manner as expected from them. Boundaries surged freely from both the openers' bats. However, the commentator's curse struck Gilchrist when he skied an inopportune pull and was brilliantly held by Henriques.

Laxman started off well scoring at a fast rate. However, confusion with Gibbs resulted in his run-out.

Rohit SharmRohit Sharma tied Gibbs and mutually the put on a prosperous partnership. Agarkar was introduced prior to the strategy break and was taken for 17 runs in his over.

The pair of Gibbs and Rohit Sharma carried on after the break scoring at a quick run rate. Together they took the Deccans to victory after scoring the requisite runs in just 13.1 overs. Gibbs remained unbeaten on 43 while Rohit Sharma was not out on 36.

Man of the Match : RP Singh

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Delhi Daredevils wallops Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets


Persistent rain forced the match between Kings XI Punjab & Delhi Daredevils to be shortened to a 12 over affair.

Sehwag won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The choice was made to look extremely silly in the first half of the Kings XI Punjab innings, with Karan Goel and Ravi Bopara going beserk. Goel got out off the last ball of the 6th over, with the score a dreadful 67 for 1.

From there things started to go downward for Punjab as they managed only more 37 runs for the loss of 6 more wickets in the next 6 overs.

Spin was king again through Daniel Vettori turning in a spell of 3-0-15-3. His spell also saw two of Punjab's batsmen run themselves out unnecessarily - with Yuvraj Singh being the offender on one occasion and Piyush Chawla suffering on account of Irfan Pathan's reckless call.

Punjab finally ended up on a fairly decent 104 for 7, but it was at least 20 runs short of where they should have ended after the start they got.

When Delhi Daredevils came out to bat, what Punjab needed was wickets. What they got was 11 balls of a Gauti-Viru special, before the skies opened up with rain than there had been all day. The opening pair in the business blasted four 4s and a six in those eleven balls to take Delhi to 24 without loss.

When play started again, the target had been modified to 54 from 6 overs - which meant Delhi had just 30 more to get from 25 balls, with a rampage Sehwag and an equally aggressive Gambhir at the crease.

The break did nothing to stem the flow of runs, and Delhi needed only 18 more balls (3 overs) to knock off the runs. At the end Sehwag was unbeaten on a furious 38 off 16 balls, while Gambhir looked positively snail-like on 16 off 13 balls, while Delhi had won at a canter by 10 wickets. It says much for the might of the Delhi team that they won comfortably even though they rested McGrath and didn't pick Twenty20 specialist Warner.

Man of the Match: Daniel Vettori

"It's nice to have Sehwag and Gambhir on the same side for a change!" - Daniel Vettori gets candid, with memories of India's tour to New Zealand still fresh.

Brendon McCullum replaces Ganguly as Kolkata Knight Riders Captain


Brendon McCullumKolkata Knight Riders have hatchet Sourav Ganguly and appointed Brendon McCullum skipper for the second Indian Premier League (IPL) starting on Saturday.

The conclusion was publicized at a media conference here, where coach John Buchanan also verified he had ditched notorious plans to have multiple captains.

"Prior to coming here there was clearly some rumor about the multiple captains," Buchanan said.

"We have appointed Brendon, who is very glad about it. He has the support of Ganguly, Brad Hodge & Chris Gayle as senior members and Matthew Mott as coach."

Wicketkeeper-batsman McCullum expressed his exhilaration about the appointment and said the Riders were well placed to push for magnificence this season.

"I'm massively proud to have been named Kolkata Knight Riders skipper," said the New Zealander. "It's a tremendous honor.

"We've got some excellent players in our line-up and I will be looking to use the skills and expertise of Sourav Ganguly, Brad and Chris Gayle during the tournament.

"We've trained firm and put big expectations on ourselves and we hope to bring and push the boundaries towards the end of the tournament, and an expectantly be in the semi-finals and final."

The result to replace former India star Sourav Ganguly, known as the 'Prince of Kolkata', is contentious, but Buchanan is hoping the franchise's fans will agree that it is in the team's best interests.

"I'm sure there will be the odd protest to it," he admitted. "But hopefully the fans will realize that what we are trying to do is best for them, best for the franchise and best for Sourav Ganguly.

Team Preview - Bangalore Royal Challengers


Team Performance in IPL 2008

The Royal Challengers, Bangalore had a fed-up outing during the first season of the Indian Premier League, finishing a miserable seventh.

Captained by Rahul Dravid, the team was touting as a Test side which was not capable of adapting to the strutting cricket employed in the Twenty20 format.

After a hot opening game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the team from Bangalore was not able to settle down as a part.

The Royal Challengers played 14 matches in their IPL endeavor and might only manage 4 wins.

The liquor baron's team gone some close games after being in a winning position:

A loss to Delhi Dare Devils by 10 runs

Losing to Chennai Super Kings by 13 runs

Losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 runs

The four wins manage by the Royal Challengers came against:

Mumbai Indians at Mumbai

Home and away wins alongside the Deccan Chargers

Chennai Super Kings at Chennai

Trade-ins and player attainments

At the start of 2009, Vijay Mallya obtained Robin Uthappa from the Mumbai Indians and had to let go of Zaheer Khan to them. This contract did not cost Mallya as it was a mutual swap.

Bangalore also acquired Gaurav Dhiman from the Mumbai Indians & Rajasthan fast pacer Pankaj Singh from the Rajasthan Royals.

The second IPL 2009 auction witnessed an antagonistic bid by all teams to get grasp of the South African born English cricketer Kevin Pietersen. Eventually, Mallya bagged him for a record $ 1.55 Million. Kevin Pietersen also replaced Rahul Dravid as the new RCB skipper.

The left handed batsman New Zealand sensation Jesse Ryder was also included in the Bangalore team for a price of $ 160,000.

Players to watch out for

Kevin Pietersen: With a enormous $ 1.55 Million tag and the responsibilty of leading the team, Bangalore fans would look to Pietersen to revitalize the fortunes of the team.

Jesse Ryder: With a dream season against the Indians in all forms of the game, the Royal Challengers would wait for the Ryder magic to continue in South Africa.

Rahul Dravid: The 'Wall' of Indian cricket finished a successful test series at New Zealand. Being the majority successful RCB batsman during the first season and with the burden of captaincy no longer there, the seasoned activist would look forward to an engaging stint.

Dale Steyn: This thrilling South African pacer had won praise from cricketers all round the world. RCB would bank on this fast bowler to clatter the opposition in conditions well suited to him where he will be even more lethal.

Trivia

Kevin Pietersen, next to with Andrew Flintoff (Chennai), was the most exclusive player of IPL 2009 at USD 1.55 million.

Bangalore Royal Challengers lined in Washington Redskins - a world famous cheer-leading force from the US for the IPL 2008.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who turned 34 on 28th May, will want to not recall his 34th birthday in a hurry - he was out for a first ball duck against Mumbai.

Current Squad

Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis (RSA), Kevin Pietersen (ENG), Ross Taylor (NZ), Wasim Jaffer, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Jesse Ryder (NZ), Mark Boucher (RSA), Shreevats Goswami, Dillon du Preez (RSA) , Roelof van der Merwe (RSA), Cameron White (AUS), Praveen Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Dale Steyn (RSA), Nathan Bracken (AUS), Pankaj Singh, Anil Kumble, Tinu Yohannan, Vinay Kumar

Coaches

Head Coach: Ray Jennings (RSA)
Assistant Head Coach: Vijay Bharadwaj(IND)

Team Preview - Kolkata Knight Riders


Team Performance in IPL 2008

Kolkatta were being advertized as the top team after their first two wins but their act nose-dived as the series progressed.

Kolkata's performance was as erratic as their speedster, Shoaib Akhtar at times.

At times they dragged off thrilling winnings, like they did beside Punjab, scoring 70 in the last 24 balls to seal victory.

Next to Mumbai, they put the record for the lowest score in the competition, being packaged out for 67. Against Delhi, they pulled off an extraordinary victory, winning by 23 runs in spite of only scoring 133 runs - thanks to a sweltering spell from Shoaib Akhtar. Eventually, Kolkatta weren't steady enough and had to settle for sixth place.

Economically, the Knight Riders were simply the most successful charter in the IPL, get a profit of Rs. 13 crore.

Who is in, who is out

Kolkata Knight Riders was amid the least active franchises through the off season, with no player deals. However, the team signed Mohnish Parmar through the off season and also re-signed Ajantha Mendis for a long-standing deal. The most prominent personnel move for Knight Riders came during the 2009 IPL Auction, where the team signed Bangladesh all-rounder Mashrafe Mortaza. Kolkatta spent a huge 600,000 dollars at the sale for this Bangladeshi import and it will be motivating to see if Mortaza can live up to the expectations.

Kolkata will lament the loss of its Pakistan players - Umar Gul & Salman Butt - both of whom performed particularly last year. Ricky Ponting joined the roll of Australians who pulled out of the IPL due to a excited international schedule.

Players to watch out for

Sourav Ganguly: Sourav might not have the nimbleness demanded of a Twenty20 player but he showed why he is still among the best as he ended on top of the run-scoring charts for his team. He also flaked in with his gentle medium pace and ended up as the most economical bowler for his side.

Brendon McCullum: McCullum's game is perfectly matched to the Twenty20 format and his evil innings of 158 not out against Bangalore in last season is testimony to that. McCullum is coming of several good batting form in the recently series against India

Chris Gayle: Gayle exemplifies Caribbean style and his casual and no-fuss approach to batting is delight to watch. On his day, Gayle can slaughter the best of attacks, putting away even the good balls. Gayle and McCullum are potentially the most fatal opening pair in the tournament and if they can get going the mass will be in for some real entertainment.

Trivia

The duo of Vishal and Shekar, of 'Om Shanthi Om' and 'Jhankar Beats' celebrity collected the sacred song song of the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ganguly, skipper of the Kolkata Knight Riders, was the first player to succeed back-to-back Man of the Match awards.

Ishant Sharma, who was cracked up at USD 950,000 by Kolkata Knight Riders was the majority expensive bowler at the IPL auction.

Kolkata have the record of score the lowest runs in an innings in the IPL doing so when they dismissed 67 in the match against the Mumbai Indians.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla get 3 wickets in only 5 balls he bowled against the Daredevils making him the bowler with the top strike rate in an innings.

McCullum scored 158 beside the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the first game of the IPL - the maximum individual score in a Twenty20 match.


Current Squad:

Sourav Ganguly, Ajit Agarkar, Rohan Banerjee, Sanjay Bangar, Mark Cameron (AUS), Aakash Chopra, Gaurav Chabra, Debabrata Das, Ashok Dinda, Shatrunjay Gaekwad, Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques (AUS), Brad Hodge (AUS), David Hussey (AUS), VA Indulkar, Iqbal Abdulla, Murali Karthik, Saurasish Lahiri, Charl Langeveldt (SA), Brendon McCullum (NZ), Mashrafe Mortaza (Bang), Angelo Mathews (SL), Ajantha Mendis (SL), Mohnish Parmar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Laxmi Ratan Shukla

Coach

John Buchanan (AUS)

Assistant head coach - Matthew Mott (AUS)

Team Preview - Delhi Daredevils


Performance in IPL 2008

Delhi Daredevils began their IPL campaign on a good note by winning four of their first five matches. With the exception of Daniel Vettori, the Delhi team could utilize the services of all its international players through out the season. The team mainly banked on its powerful opening duo of Gambhir and Sehwag. They were well complemented by the ever reliable McGrath and the lanky Sri Lankan Maharoof in the bowling department.

However, the team had a downslide in the latter part of the tournament when they lost 5 of the remaining 9 matches in the round robin stage with one match against the Kolkata team washed out.

The Delhi side scraped through to the semi finals only to be demolished by the Warne led Rajasthan side. The Daredevils lost the semi finals by 105 runs.

Overall, Delhi looked a good team during 2008 but could not maintain their momentum during the second half.

Who's in, who's out

Who's in?

The Australian trio of David Warner, Dirk Nannes and Andrew McDonald were signed by the Delhi management after their successful T20 stints with New South Wales and Victoria.

The left handed pacer Ashish Nehra was the only domestic inclusion for the 2009 season with Delhi swapping the pacer for Shikhar Dhawan with Mumbai.

The Daredevils got their share of English players when they signed Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah, both for USD 275,000.

Who's out?

Mohammed Asif and Shoaib Malik will not be available for the Daredevils this season.

Players to watch out for

Virender Sehwag: The Nawab of Najafgarh has instilled fear amongst bowlers around the world with his swashbuckling batting. A good batting display during the recently concluded ODI series in New Zealand would increase Sehwag's confidence and the Delhi team would bank on its captain for explosive starts.

Gautam Gambhir: Gambhir has been a revelation during the past year. He has acted as the perfect foil for his opening partner Sehwag and together they have earned a reputation as the best opening pair in the recent times. Sturdy and solid batting displays during the New Zealand series earned him the title 'The Second Wall'. Gambhir would look at extending his good run in the second edition of IPL.

Glenn McGrath: Mcgrath had a tumultuous time surrounding his wife's death. With two children to look after and a cancer foundation started by his wife now in his care, he continued his battles. The fighter that he is, McGrath extensively worked on his fitness and is ready for the IPL show. Every batsman's nightmare, Mcgrath's unnerving line and length would hinder any team's chances against Delhi.

Farveez Maharoof: Sri Lankan cricketers have always been a great pick for the IPL teams. After being the second-highest wicket taker for Delhi during their first IPL season, Maharoof would be seen as the ideal pace partner to McGrath during Asif's absence. Maharoof is also a useful lower order batsman.

Trivia

Glenn McGrath was one of the only two bowlers to bowl two maiden overs in a match.

McGrath bowled the first wicket maiden over in the IPL in their first game against the Rajashthan Royals.

Tejaswi Yadav, son of Indian railway minister Laloo Yadav, was a member of the Daredevils team. However, he did not play a single match.

Pradeep Sangwan (Delhi) was the youngest player of the IPL. The left-arm pacer was all of 17 years and 179 days when he made his IPL debut against Chennai.

Amit Mishra took 5 for 17 against the Deccan Chargers - the best bowling performance by a spin bowler in the IPL.

Amit Mishra was one of the three bowlers to take a hat-trick in the IPL.

David Warner, who was snapped up by Delhi, became the first Australian since 1877 to represent his country without having played a first class game.

Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag scored the most number of runs for the first wicket in the IPL 2008.

Current Squad

Virender Sehwag, Owais Shah (ENG), David Warner (AUS), Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Andrew McDonald (AUS), Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL), Paul Collingwood (ENG), Farveez Maharoof (SL), Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas, AB de Villiers (RSA), Dinesh Karthik, Glenn McGrath (AUS), Daniel Vettori (NZ), Dirk Nannes (AUS), Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, Ashish Nehra, Amit Mishra, Pradeep Sangwan

Coaches

Head Coach: Greg Shipperd (AUS) Assistant Coach: David Saker (AUS)

Team Preview - Chennai Super Kings

The South Indian team from Chennai began their IPL 2008 campaign on a successful note with victories against the Punjab, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore sides.

After a good start, the team had a minor setback when players such as Hayden, Hussey and Oram had to leave to fulfill their international duties.

Eventually, the team adjusted by making up the batting gaps left by the Aussies with major contributions from Dhoni, Raina and Morkel. The bowling department was secured with the arrival of Ntini.

The team won 8 of their 14 league matches to set up a semi-final affair against the Kings XI Punjab.

Consistent bowling and steady partnerships at the top saw the Chennai team beat the Punjab side. Given a target of 119 to score, the Super Kings cruised to victory in less than 15 overs earning a ticket to the final game against the Rajasthan Royals.

In what turned out to be an exciting final, Chennai batted first and posted a competitive total of 163 on board. However, the Rajasthan team were upto the task and a last ball finish saw them pinch the trophy from Chennai.

Whos in, whos out
As a team without any iconic players, the Chennai team is full of promising youngsters rubbing shoulders with experienced war horses.

The Tamil Nadu batsman Murali Vijay has been included into the team, following his Test debut last year. Sudeep Tyagi joins him after missing out on the 2008 season because of an injury

Chennai only bought three players at this year's auction. Apart from Thilan Thushara (USD 120,000) from Sri Lanka and George Bailey from Australia (USD 50,000) the Super Kings ensured that the Andrew Flintoff entered the Dhoni-led team as they spent a staggering $ 1.55 million to acquire the English all-rounder. This price puts Flintoff along with Pietersen as the highest paid IPL cricketers.

Who's out

Chennai Super Kings will be without Michael Hussey this time around after the Australian pulled out of the IPL due to exhaustion. Hussey, however, will be available for the knock-out stage should Chennai quialify.

Kiwi all-rounder Jacob Oram who was a doubtful starter has deemed himself fit and is currently with the team in South Africa.

Players to watch out for

MS Dhoni: He had a magical beginning as a captain with the Indian cricket team. Knowing the methods to get the best from his players, Dhoni would look at securing the IPL title which slipped from his fingers during the first season.

Albie Morkel: Albie Morkel has become an integral part of South Africa's team and for good reason. Morkel is a brilliant all-rounder who is capable of hitting big sixes and a wily customer with the ball. Batting in the lower middle order, Morkel is more than capable of turning the game around and would be difficult to control in conditions he is so familiar with.

Mathew Hayden: The Australian opener might have retired from international cricket after an incredible career but his stats in the first edition of the IPL are as intimidating as his bulky frame. Capable of unleashing some brutal strokes, Hayden got Chennai off to great starts last season and he is sure to be a big part of Chennai's plans with him being available for the entire duration of the tournament.

Manpreet Gony: Gony had a successful outing during the 2008 season, impressing the selectors with his tight line and sharp bounce. However, his performances at the international level were not quite up to the mark. He would be eager to put up a good show in South Africa to ensure that he is given another go at the highest level.

Trivia

L Balaji was the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the IPL.

Suresh Raina holds the record for the most catches in IPL 2008 with 10 catches. A total of 410 catches were taken in the tournament.

Chennai Superkings holds the record for posting the highest total. They scored 240/5 against Punjab in their opening game.

Albie Morkel holds the record for hitting the biggest six in the DLF Indian Premier League - 128 metres

Parthiv Patel was the only batsmen to have been dismissed on the first ball of the innings in the match between Chennai and Rajasthan.

Chennai Super Kings hit the most number of sixes in an innings in the IPL. They did this in the match against Punjab by hitting 16 sixes.

Manpreet Gony of the Chennai Super Kings bowled 3 maiden overs in the IPL. No one managed to bowl more maiden overs than him.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the unluckiest captain, winning just 5 tosses in 16 matches that he played in the IPL.

Current Squad

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Matthew Hayden (AUS), Suresh Raina, Michael Hussey (AUS), Anirudha Srikkanth, Subramaniam Badrinath, George Bailey (AUS), Arun Karthik, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay, Andrew Flintoff (ENG), Jacob Oram (NZ), Albie Morkel (RSA), Parthiv Patel, Shadab Jakati, Viraj Kadbe, Suresh Kumar, Napolean Einstein, Muralitharan (SRI), Joginder Sharma, Makhaya Ntini (RSA), Thilan Thushara (SRI), Ravichandran Aswhin, Manpreet Gony, Laxmipathy Balaji, Palani Amarnath, Sudeep Tyagi

Stephen Fleming - Coach Venkatesh Prasad - Bowling Coach

Team Preview - Kings XI Punjab


Performance in IPL 2008

Punjab started their campaign poorly, having lost to Chennai and Rajasthan but things in fell in place for them after that. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore were humbled as Punjab went from strength to strength, winning 5 games in a row.

Punjab lost only two more matches in the league stage - against Kolkata and Chennai. They entered the semi-finals as one of the favourites to lift the trophy after their consistent performance.

However, they were not able to beat their nemesis Chennai, to whom they had lost both their league games. Punjab were dismissed for 112 and Chennai chased down the total rather comfortably.

Who's in, who's out

Who's in? Punjab had a more or less settled team and their only big catch for this year was England all-rounder Ravi Bopara (USD 450,000). Punjab also signed New South Wales rookie Burt Cockley, a fast medium bowler.

Punjab had also bought Jerome Taylor (USD 150,000) at the auction but with the West-Indian quick not available after being injured in a car accident, the Mohali Team were quick to sign on Yusuf Abdulla, a left-arm fast bowler from Durban, who recently made his T20 debut for South Africa.

Who's out? As many as three Australians from Kings XI Punjab - Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh and James Hopes - have been named in Australia's squad for their series against Pakistan, meaning they will only be available for the second half of the tournament. Shaun Marsh was the leading run-scorer of the tournament last year and his presence will be sorely missed.

The bowling will be spearheaded by Irfan Pathan since S. Sreesanth has been ruled of the tournament with a stress fracture in his back.

Players to watch out for

Yuvraj Singh: Though Yuvraj Singh did not have a great series in New Zealand, his heroics in the T20 World Cup in South Africa should serve as a confidence-booster. It is only a matter of time before this stylish left-hander comes good.

Ravi Bopara: Ravi Bopara is one of the most exciting talents in England. He possesses all the strokes in the book and then more. A master of improvisation, he has scored heavily in T20 cricket. A useful medium-pacer, Bopara is also an agile fielder.

Irfan Pathan: Pathan has not enjoyed much success of late but helpful conditions in South Africa will aid his bowling. He will also be expected to play a major role with the bat.

Kumar Sangakkara: Sangakkara might not be the quintessential Tweny20 batsman but he scored his 320 runs at a healthy strike rate of 161 with his classical array of strokes. A master strategist, he is one of the most experienced players in the squad and is likely to feature in most games for his side.

Trivia

Irfan Pathan was one of only 3 bowlers who bowled two maiden overs in a match.

James Hopes became the 1st bowler to concede more than 50 runs in a 4-over spell.

Kings XI Punjab scored at an average run-rate of 9.05 in the tournament, the best among all teams.

Luke Pomersbach of Punjab ended up with the highest average in the IPL with an average of 152. He was helped by four not outs though.
Shaun Marsh of Punjab holds the record of scoring more 50 plus scores than any other player in the IPL with 1 hundred and 5 fifties.

Kumar Sangakkara was one of the three batsmen to have got out in the nineties in the IPL.

S Sreesanth is the bowler to have conceded the most extras in the IPL. He bowled 21 wides and 4 no balls.

Irfan Pathan is one of 2 players to have inflicted 2 run outs with direct hits in the IPL.

Kings XI Punjab batsmen hit a total of 95 sixes in the IPL, the most by any team.

Kings XI Punjab also conceded the most number of sixes with a total of 93.

Shaun Marsh happened to be the best buy in the IPL among the batsmen. At USD 30,000 he cost around $48 for every run.

Current Squad
Yuvraj Singh, Shaun Marsh (AUS), Mahela Jayawardene (SL), Simon Katich (AUS), Luke Pomersbach (AUS), Sunny Sohal, Karan Goel, Tanmay Srivastava, Sahil Kukreja, Yusuf Abdulla (SA), Ajitesh Argal, Ravi Bopara (ENG), Piyush Chawla, Burt Cockley (AUS), James Hopes (AUS), Uday Kaul, Brett Lee (AUS), Wilkin Mota, Ryan Ninan, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Kumar Sangakkara (SL), VRV Singh, Sreesanth, Jerome Taylor (WI)

Coaches

Head Coach: Tom Moody (AUS)

Assistant Head Coach: Trevor Penney (SA)

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Title : IPL Twenty20 Cricket

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Description : Information about IPL & Twenty20 Cricket Information, Match Schedules, Live Scorecard and Current News.




Team Preview - Mumbai Indians


Performance in IPL 2008

Mumbai had a disastrous start, losing their first four games to Bangalore, Chennai, Punjab and Hyderabad but bounced back remarkably well before ultimately failing to make it to the semi-finals.

After four successive defeats, Mumbai won their next six games on the trot - the best streak of the tournament- as they appeared to peak at just the right time.

Mumbai will rue their 1-run defeat to Punjab since it not only ended their winning streak but also their hopes of a semi-final berth as the team seem to lose momentum. Two more defeats followed before Mumbai beat lowly Bangalore to finish in fifth position.

Who's in, who's out

Mumbai shopped for South African sensation Jean-Paul Duminy in this year's auction and splashed out an eye-popping USD 950,000 to acquire the stylish southpaw.

New Zealander Kyle Mills (USD 150,000) and Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful (USD 75,000) were part of their signings.

Mumbai was also involved in two swaps, trading Robin Uthappa for Zaheer Khan with Bangalore and Shikhar Dhawan for Ashish Nehra with Delhi. Jaydev Shah was also added to the roster while Dwayne Smith, Dominic Thornely and Ashwell Prince were released from their contracts. Shaun Pollock will not return as a player after taking up the role of the coach.

Mumbai also signed Graham Napier and Ryan McLaren, both prolific all-rounders in the English Twenty20 competition.

Players to watch out for

Sachin Tendulkar: Sachin Tendulkar is loved the world over and will be cynosure of all eyes in South Africa as well. He missed the inital games last season but is expected to be available for the entire duration this time around. Not only has he been among the runs for India, he has amassed his runs in a manner which reminds us of the Tendulkar of the nineties. Tendulkar on song will be vital to Mumbai's success.

Graham Napier: The cricket world stood up and took notice of Napier's talent after he blasted a 52-ball 158 for Essex in a Twenty20 game. He scored runs heavily and quickly last season and is a decent medium pacer, capable of bowling the yorkers in the death overs.
Zaheer Khan: Zaheer Khan has led the Indian attack superbly in all conditions in recent times. Zaheer will enjoy the conditions in South Africa and his recent form suggests that batsmen will find it difficult against him.

Shikhar Dhawan: Dhawan scored consistently for Delhi, notching up four fifties in last year's IPL and Mumbai will be hoping he picks up from where he left off. A batsman in the classical mould with shots all around the wicket, Dhawan is the ideal number three.

Trivia

Dhawal Kulkarni of Mumbai bowled 3 wides in a row in his last over against Chennai, thus becoming the first bowler to have such a dubious record.

Sanath Jayasuriya of Mumbai Indians, the oldest player in the IPL, holds the record for the most sixes - 31.

Sanath Jayasuriya hit more fours than anyone else in the IPL. He hit a total of 57 boundaries.

Mumbai won their match at home against the Kolkata with a staggering 87 balls to spare, the highest margin in terms of balls remaining in IPL 2008.

Mumbai Indians used as many as three captains - Shaun Pollock, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar - in the 14 games they played.

Tendulkar holds the record for the most number of catches in an IPL match with 4 catches in the match between the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth after Mumbai lost to Kings XI Punjab in a tense game following which Harbhajan was banned from the remainder of the tournament.

5 of the Mumbai Indians batsmen got run out in the game against the KKR. This is a record of a sorts for the IPL.

Current Squad

Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Bravo (WI), Shikhar Dhawan, Jean-Paul Duminy (SA), Harbhajan Singh, Dilhara Fernando (SL), Sanath Jayasuriya (SL), Zaheer Khan, Ryan McLaren (SA), Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga (SL), Kyle Mills (NZ), Graham Napier (ENG), Chetanya Nanda, Mohammad Ashraful (B'desh), Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohan Raje, Luke Ronchi (AUS), Jaydev Shah, Pinal Shah, Rahil Shaikh, Yogesh Takawale, Saurabh Tiwary

Coaches Head Coach: Shaun Pollock (SA) Assistant Head Coach: Pravin Amre

Weight of expectation on England stars in IPL

The weight of expectation is firmly on the shoulders of England heavyweights Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen after their high-profile signings for the IPL.

At the player auction for the eight-team Indian Premier League, Flintoff and Pietersen attracted most interest amid a glittering array of global cricket talent on offer.

Big-money franchise employers Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore paid a startling 1.55 million dollars apiece to seal the services of Flintoff and Pietersen respectively.

The duo will, however, receive only half their money as England players are available for just the first three weeks before heading home for a Test series with the West Indies.

Other current regular England players who will feature in the IPL include Ravi Bopara (Kings XI Punjab), and Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood (Delhi Daredevils).

Dimitri Mascarenas, who was the sole English representative during last season's inaugural IPL - albeit playing only one match, will again line up for the Shane Warne-coached Rajasthan Royals.

The high-profile signings of Flintoff and Pietersen highlighted the global appeal that both cricketers enjoy and organisers consider essential for the maximum amount of coverage of a tournament moved from India over security concerns.

But the pair also have some work to do to re-establish themselves at world cricket's top table.

Pietersen lost the England captaincy and failed to dominate for much of England's winter tour to the West Indies, while Flintoff's credentials as a true all-rounder currently flounder on a lack of runs and the perpetual threat of another injury.

Flintoff, whose Chennai side includes the likes of Australia's Matthew Hayden, India captain MS Dhoni, New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram and Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, said he intended to become England's spy in a bid to help their World Twenty20 campaign, which runs from June 5-21 in England.

"It's been frustrating with the hip injury, thigh injury and getting hit on the thumb just before the end of the tour of the West Indies and I think the IPL will be good for me," said Flintoff.

"I know I'm only bowling four overs a game, but it will give me a chance to work on my game in between games going into a Test series.

"The Twenty20 World Cup is going to be huge," said the all-rounder. "I'll be watching the likes of Dhoni, who has played a lot of it, and Hayden who had a good IPL last year.

"I will be speaking to a few of the Indian guys and see if I can pick their brains. You'll find players helping each other out."

One concern voiced by many observers is that the IPL is one tournament too many for the England cricketers given their congested summer that includes Test and one-day series against West Indies, the World Twenty20 as well as the Ashes.

"It is a long schedule and everyone is looking forward to the Ashes and making sure everyone is fit for that but I've stressed all along that we have to perform in all the games we're playing," said Flintoff.

He added: "When I stop and start is when my body is at its most vulnerable."

Strauss has 'no problem' with T20 absence

Andrew Strauss is adamant he has no qualms about being left out of hosts England's squad for the upcoming World Twenty20, even though he's the captain of his country's Test and one-day teams.

Strauss, best known as a steady opening batsman, showed he could score briskly by making an unbeaten 79 in 61 balls in an innings cut to 20 overs during England's recent win in the fourth one-day international against the West Indies.

But the Middlesex left-hander is not the kind of forceful hitter who tends to excel in international cricket's shortest format, a point Strauss himself made on Tuesday.

"Hopefully that innings proved there is more to my game than being a stodgy Test opener and why I feel I can keep doing a good job in 50-over cricket.

"But in Twenty20 you need the power player and that is not necessarily a strength of mine," Strauss said. "I felt quite strongly that whoever captains any team should be worth their place in the side."

It is less than a year ago since the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) made it clear that a key factor in the appointment of Kevin Pietersen as captain was the need to have one England skipper across all forms of the game.

But Pietersen's fall from grace following a falling-out with Peter Moores that cost the now Lancashire boss his position as England coach, prompted a re-think.

Strauss himself said he had no worries his standing might be diminished as a result of his Twenty20 absence.

"I was appointed captain of the West Indies tour with the proviso that both the 50-over and Twenty20 would be revisited at the end of the tour and I was happy with that," said Strauss.

"I think I have proved I am capable of playing 50-over cricket but it would be wrong for me to say I want to be Twenty20 captain so I am captain in all forms of the game.

"It is right to look at them separately. I have no problem handing over the reins to someone else. I think England can do well.

"Whoever gets the appointment has a blank canvas to work from and some very talented players."

Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff and Pietersen have all led England in various forms of the game in recent times but none of the trio are thought to be keen on captaining in the World Twenty20, which starts in June.

Kent captain Robert Key, a former England batsman, has been touted as the man to skipper the team in the World Twenty20 even though it is four years since he last played international cricket.

But Strauss said the domestic one-day success Key had enjoyed could work to his advantage.

"I think the fact some of the county guys have played more than the international players helps them," he said.

"Twenty20 is a very different format of the game and accordingly you need to plan for that format and don't look past that when you come to decide the side.

"The rumours you hear on the county circuit is that Rob has done a pretty good job. He is a good operator and definitely one of the names on the list.

"KP (Pietersen) has to decide how keen he is to come back as captain. They (Flintoff, Pietersen and Collingwood) have all had issues doing the job which makes them more reluctant to do it in the future.

"That doesn't mean they definitely rule themselves out - but that is something we will have to ask them."

IPL tickets go online, full house for opener

The tickets for the second season of the IPL has been released on the Internet. Fans can avail tickets at the official website www.computicket.com.

The tickets for the double-header in Cape Town on April 18 are priced between 50 Rands for students to 200/150 Rands for the grand stands and are inclusive of the opening ceremony. Kingsmead in Durban hosts 16 games, the most for a single venue, and the tickets are priced between 25 Rands for students to 150 Rands for the grand stands.

The organisers have focused on making the tickets affordable, in order to attract youngsters to the event.

The prices are relatively cheaper in the smaller venues like East London, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley and Bloemfontein, ranging between 10 Rands and 75 Rands.

"We had promised our fans in the Rainbow Nation of a non-stop cricket carnival and the attractive ticket pricing," Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said. "I think should be a huge impetus for fans to come and see some of the best cricketing talent in the world, display their prowess on the field."

Meanwhile the IPL in South Africa has got the best possible start as tickets for the opening day extravaganza have been sold out within two hours.

IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi told CNN-IBN that the unprecedented rush for tickets will result in a full house at Newlands, Cape Town on April 18.

"We are expecting a full house in Cape Town," Modi told CNN-IBN on Friday. "From all the indications we had about slow sales and that it would take a few weeks to get the sales up, I'm happy to report that we went on radio to break the campaign with the sale starting this morning and the tickets were sold out within two hours."

Modi said the IPL has a good opportunity to build a global fan base with the second edition in South Africa.

"I think the whole idea is of displaying the flavour of India all throughout the tournament," he said. "We have a lot of entertainment and great cricket around, and the way we are selling it to the people of South Africa, they should come and embrace the teams. It's a part of their life like you would support any other football team and make the teams known all across the world. We want to make sure that the stadiums are full and that's our only objective right now, which is to build a fan base."

Modi added that people from around the world have already signed up for the event. "We have had a good response. Kingfisher Airlines started its flights to Cape Town and there are some other airlines who are bringing in packages. We have had a few thousand tickets sold to Indian fans. In reality, we have had some 600-700 confirmed bookings, with a few hundred coming out of England itself. About 400 bookings have been confirmed from the Middle East and some people from Australia are also coming in."

Indian probables for the World Twenty20 announced

The Indian selectors came out with a list of 30 probables for the World Twenty20 in England in June.

Squad: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan singh, Praveen Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, S Badrinath, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Abhishek Nayar, Amit Mishra, R Ashwin, RP Singh, L Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni, Naman Ojha.

Mike Hussey not to play in IPL

Mike HusseyChennai Superkings would not be able to avail the services of Michael Hussey for the second season of the Indian Premier League. Hussey joined the list of Aussie cricketers who have opted out of the Twenty20 tournament.

Mike Hussey opted out of the IPL in order to re-work on his lost form ahead of the Ashes. Hussey had been going through a rough patch lately, managing to reach a score of 50 only once in his last six test appearances.

Hussey had played four games for the Chennai team during the first season of IPL and was amongst the top run getters averaging 84. He also had posted a score of 116 in 54 balls which happens to be the third highest score in the tournament.

The Aussie also mentioned that he would be not be playing the ODI series against Pakistan to be held at the United Arab Emirates. Hussey said that he wanted to replenish his lost energies and be completely fit to compete against the English team in the Ashes.

Mitchell Johnson, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting are the other Australians who would be giving IPL a miss.

Ganguly retained as sole skipper of KKR

Sourav Ganguly was retained as the only captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders bringing to end the week-long argument. New Zealand wicket keeper Brendon McCullum has been appointed the vice-captain of the team.

Sources seal to the team told news channel CNN-IBN that Ganguly will be keep as skipper and his act will be evaluated after the first few games.

Sourav Ganguly was in Mumbai on Tuesday and met with team proprietor Shah Rukh Khan along with John Buchanan.

Shah Rukh told the media it was a matter of miscommunication which led to the issue being blown out of proportion.

"I think there is a lot of over-reaction and rumors about he's been removed from captaincy.But that is completely untrue," the Bollywood star said.

Earlier, Shah Rukh Khan had said "Let me tell you, there is no KKR without Dada. We love him".

Shahrukh said that the decision to have different skippers was in no way meant to disrupt Ganguly's position and status as an iconic player.

This statement comes a day after it was announced that the KKR's squad and captain for the IPL were to be decided in South Africa and not India. The team's director Joy Bhattacharya, after the conclusion of the 6 day conditioning camp, had mentioned "I don't want to disclose the names of the players who would be going to South Africa now as we want to keep all options open". "We might take the whole squad which took part in the conditioning camp to South Africa. Nothing has been finalised right now. The final team for KKR would be announced in South Africa", he added.