Akshay Iyer

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Akshay loves everything to do with cricket and has been a supporter of the South African team since 1991

Blog Posts by Akshay Iyer

  • The magical Steyn

    Steyn produced one of the best bowling spells one can hope to see in the IPL match against Mumbai Indians.

    Richard Levi is clean bowled by Dale Steyn [unseen] at Vizag on April 9, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

    South Africa pace spearhead Dale Steyn isn't considered to be amongst the best fast bowlers of all time for nothing. Steyn is at his lethal best in Test cricket, where he can take some time to find his rhythm; but there are also occasions when unfortunately for the opposition batsmen, the Protea pacer gets into the groove early on in the shorter formats of the game as well. When he's on song, there are hardly any better sights in cricket than watching Steyn make the best batsmen look like novices.

    Most recently against Mumbai Indians at Visakhapatnam on 9 April 2012, Steyn produced one of the best bowling spells one can hope to see across formats, let alone Twenty20 cricket where even his South African counterpart Richard Levi found him too hot to handle. Steyn, playing for Deccan Chargers, had figures of 4-1-12-3, and each of those 24 deliveries were an exhibition of world-class bowling as he also worked up some serious pace; but despite this he was mighty unfortunate to end on the Read More »from The magical Steyn
  • Munaf at his petulant worst!

    Munaf and Harbhajan should consider themselves mighty lucky that they have got off with very light punishment.

    Mumbai Indians bowler Munaf Patel (3R) gestures towards Deccan Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara. (AFP/Getty Images)

    India and Mumbai Indians' medium-pacer Munaf Patel had a good outing against Deccan Chargers at Visakhapatnam on Monday night in the ninth match of the ongoing fifth edition of the Indian Premier League.

    Munaf bowled an exceptional spell at the start, middle and end of the Chargers' innings to finish with figures of 4 for 20; and he also took a good catch at long-on to give Lasith Malinga his third wicket of the match. But, Munaf spoilt what should have been a memorable night in one moment of petulant outburst when he launched a sustained verbal assault on the umpires after a decision went against him.

    In the third ball of his third over and the 13th of the Chargers' innings, Munaf thought he had clean bowled the opposition captain captain Kumar Sangakkara, who had added 36 runs for the fourth wicket with Daniel Christian. 

    Sangakkara attempted to drive a full delivery, but dragged the ball onto the stumps; however square leg umpire Johan Cloete of South Africa thought the ball had comeRead More »from Munaf at his petulant worst!
  • Calm Rohit stars as Mumbai Indians steal win over Deccan Chargers

    Rohit (73* from 50 deliveries) shifted gears in the last three overs of the match with his team needing 37 runs to win.

    Mumbai Indians bowler Munaf Patel (C) and teammate Rohit Sharma (L) argue with the umpire about the wicket of Deccan Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara. (AFP/Getty Images)

    Action in images | Scorecard| Finger still not looking good: Tendulkar

    Rohit Sharma anchored Mumbai Indians' chase of 139 against Deccan Chargers brilliantly at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Monday night as Dale Steyn ended on the losing side despite a brilliant bowling performance. Mumbai Indians needed 18 runs to win from the last over of the match bowled by Dan Christian, but Rohit hit two sixes, including one in the last delivery to steal a five-wicket win for his team and get them back to winningw ays.

    There was also a hint of controversy in the dismissal of Deccan Chargers' captain Kumar Sangakkara; but despite that unfortunate event, this was the kind of match the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League desperately needed.

    Steyn gave the Chargers the perfect start when he brilliantly caught T Suman off his own bowling and then bowled an excellent maiden over to his South African counterpart Richard Levi before clean bowling him with a swinging yorker to leave

    Read More »from Calm Rohit stars as Mumbai Indians steal win over Deccan Chargers
  • Cricket should be more inclusive

    The Twenty20 World Cup could easily have included at least six countries from the qualifiers.

    Paul Stirling of Ireland bats during the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier final against Afghanistan in Dubai. (Getty Images)

    Last month, 16 Associate and Affiliate member nations of the International Cricket Council (ICC), competed against each other for the right to qualify for the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup to be hosted by Sri Lanka in September-October.

    The 16 countries were Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark, Namibia, Ireland, Scotland, Kenya, Italy, United States of America, Uganda and Oman with Afghanistan and Ireland qualifying for the Twenty20 World Cup.

    The qualification process started in early 2012 with 81 member countries who had to gain promotion from their respective regional Division 3 to Division 1 before eventually booking their place in the World Twenty20 qualifier which was held in UAE. Breaking it down further, as Afghanistan, Ireland, Canada, Kenya, Netherlands and Scotland automatically qualified for the main qualifier, there was place only for 10 qualifiers from the regional Twenty20 tournaments that were played across Africa, Asia, Read More »from Cricket should be more inclusive
  • The phenomenon called Vernon Philander

    Philander is among the rare breed of bowlers who are a captain's dream.

    Vernon Philander celebrates after dismissing Daniel Vettori on day four of the third Test between South Africa and New Zealand in Wellington. (AFP/Getty Images)

    Not many cricketers have made an immediate impact early in their international careers; but South Africa pace bowler Vernon Philander is among the few who have bucked that trend. And, Philander has done that in some style racing to the 50-wicket mark in only his seventh Test to become the second quickest ever to reach the landmark.

    Philander has got a magnificent cricket brain and is acutely aware of his strengths and sticks to them with unbelievable discipline as he gets the better of batsmen almost at will. He doesn't have the longest run-up in world cricket but his nagging line and length, consistency, getting the ball to nip back into or move away from the batsmen, and the occasional quick delivery have helped him get on top of the opposing batsmen with devastating results.

    Australia's right-arm seamer Charlie 'Terror' Turner holds the record reaching the mark in only his sixth Test, way back in 1888; while England's Tom Richardson, a feared express bowler himself, took his 50th Read More »from The phenomenon called Vernon Philander
  • The underdogs bite

    Bangladesh and West Indies' spirited efforts come as a refreshing change. But can they sustain their good run?

    Having made their ODI debut in 1986, Bangladesh reached their first big-ticket final in the Asia Cup.

    The performances of Bangladesh in the Asia Cup and West Indies in on-going ODI series against Australia is just the fillip cricket needed in those two countries. And watching the underdogs finish on top is also something the sport could really do with.

    Bangladesh lost a thrilling Asia Cup final. Heartbreaking and disappointing as that two-run loss may be, the future augurs well for the ‘Tigers’ if they use the victories over India and Sri Lanka as the launch pad and blueprint for a fresh start.

    In the last decade, Bangladesh have scripted the occasional upset, but for the most part they have lacked consistency, self-belief and have been lethargic to an extent.

    But the current Bangladesh team led by Mushfiqur Rahim and coached by former Australia batsman Stuart Law have displayed a refreshing change of attitude; and this is reflected in the players' body language and mindset on the field as well as more consistent performances and the increased self-belief.

    These changes were on display

    Read More »from The underdogs bite
  • Tendulkar - Before and after his 100th century

    The difference in Tendulkar's approach against Bangladesh and against Pakistan was poles apart.

    Mashrafe Bin Mortaza congratulates Sachin Tendulkar after the Indian batting legend scored his 100th international century. (AFP/Getty Images)

    16 March 2012:
    Sachin Tendulkar scores his landmark 100th international century in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh at Dhaka, but in doing so, has 82 dot balls in his innings and this defensive approach costs India at least 20 runs.

    18 March 2012: At the same venue, Tendulkar plays with 'freedom' and scores a 48-ball 52 and does his part in a second-wicket partnership with Virat Kohli (183) as India overhaul the target of 330 set by Pakistan to complete their highest successful chase in ODIs. It's about the numbers at the end of the day, believe it or not!

    Against Bangladesh, Tendulkar scored 114 from 147 balls before he was caught behind off Mashrafe Mortaza's bowling in the 47th over of India's innings which ended at 289-5 in their allotted 50 overs. He took 138 deliveries to score his century, his second-lowest strike-rate to reach this landmark in ODIs. Tendulkar scored his half-century in 63 balls with a lofted drive over extra cover off Shakib al Hasan, but it took him 75 Read More »from Tendulkar - Before and after his 100th century
  • All-round Bangladesh trump Sri Lanka, enter Asia Cup final

    After beating world champions India, Bangladesh accounted for yet another big gun.

    Scorecard | Action in images

    Bangladeshi players celebrate after defeating Sri Lanka by five wickets at Dhaka. (AFP/Getty Images)

    An all-round effort with the bat, ball and in the field helped Bangladesh continue their giant-killing run and defeat Sri Lanka by five wickets in a rain-affected match at Dhaka today to seal their spot in the final of the Asia Cup.

    In a must-win match for them, Bangladesh bowled Sri Lanka out for 232 and then chased down the revised target of 212 in 40 overs with five wickets and 17 balls to spare. A lengthy rain delay after Sri Lanka's innings resulted in the truncated match, but Bangladesh held their nerve despite stumbling in the chase to earn a well-deserved win.

    Bangladesh had a disastrous start to the run chase when they were slipped to 40 for 3 in 7.1 overs with Nuwan Kulasekara accounting for Nazimudding and captain Mushfiqur Rahim; and Suranga Lakmal had Jahurul Islam caught by Chamara Kapugedera at midwicket.

    The in-form duo of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan got Bangladesh's chase back on course with their 76-run partnership in 12.1 overs for the

    Read More »from All-round Bangladesh trump Sri Lanka, enter Asia Cup final
  • Kohli: Carving a niche for himself

    India and Dhoni are now being rewarded for keeping the faith with Kohli.

    Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring his 11th one-day international century against Pakistan at Dhaka. (AFP/Getty Images)

    Virat Kohli continues to add to his growing reputation as one of the finest young cricketers in the game currently everytime he goes into bat. It hardly makes any difference to him if India are setting or chasing a score, such is his confidence and self-belief; though he appears to be at his best in pressure situations.

    Kohli has hit seven of his 11 ODI centuries when India have batted second, and in these 48 innings he has scored 2336 runs at an average of 58.40 and strike rate of 87.55. In the 34 innings he has played when India have batted first, Kohli has scored 1254 runs at an average of 40.45 and strike rate of 84.10. These numbers tell their own story and make a strong case for Kohli to be considered amongst the best finishers in the history of ODIs.

    Kohli has scored three centuries in the four innings that he has played in the last three weeks; and two of those tons were scored in high-pressure situations when India was chasing 300+ targets.

    The first of those was in Hobart on 28

    Read More »from Kohli: Carving a niche for himself
  • What's the purpose of the Asia Cup?

    The Asia Cup is nothing more than another meaningless ODI tournament in the international calendar.

    Action from the second match of the 2012 Asia Cup between India and Sri Lanka at Dhaka on 13 March 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

    "Since about, I think 1985, people have been saying that there is too much meaningless one-day cricket. Maybe it's finally time to do something about it"
    - Rahul Dravid at the 2011 Bradman Oration.

    The International Cricket Council as well as its member boards and associations need to pay heed to the recently-retired Dravid's statement before it's too late for the 50-over format. But, going by tournaments like the ongoing Asia Cup in Bangladesh, it appears that limiting the numbers of ODIs and meaningless tournaments in the format, is the last thing on the administrators' minds.

    Come to think of it, the name 'Asia Cup' is misleading and the tournament should instead have been called South Asia Cup because that's the four participating countries - India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - are geographically located. The rest of the continent is not represented, so why give the tournament such a grand name?

    India and Sri Lanka, who are in the midst of transition with their national teams,

    Read More »from What's the purpose of the Asia Cup?


(73 Stories)