May 14, 2013
With ten wins apiece from 14 games, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajastan Royals have taken a decisive lead in the IPL table and now look certain to qualify for the play-offs. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad are challenging for the remaining semi final spot. Mike Hussey, the leading scorer with 614 runs from 13 innings, retains the orange cap while Sunil Narine, Vinay Kumar and Dwayne Bravo are neck and neck with 22 wickets each. The IPL is nothing if its not about six hitting – Chris Gayle has hit 41 so far, 14 more than any of his rivals, and, for good measure, has hit four of the five longest in the tournament.
Ahead of the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England, South Africa have suffered a double blow. Former skipper Graeme Smith, who now has a serious ankle complaint, will miss the tournament. Gary Kirsten, after steering the Proteas to the top of the world test rankings, has decided to step down as team coach. Kirsten’s decision, together with the absence of Smith and Jacques Kallis, will be seen as further evidence of the grueling demands of the international cricket treadmill.
England and New Zealand resume hostilities in the first test at Lord’s this week. Following successful operations, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann have elbowed their way back into England’s twelve-man squad. England’s guns have all been firing in county cricket this year, with the possible exception of Steven Finn, who is short of pace, control and wickets. For New Zealand, opener Martin Guptill and seamer Doug Bracewell, who did not feature against England on home soil in March, are pressing hard for selection.
Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, who surprisingly announced his resignation shortly after his team lost the third and deciding ODI to Zimbabwe, now says he regrets his action. He is currently in talks with the BCB to try to get his hasty decision reversed. In the final match, Vusi Sibanda brought up his second ODI hundred for Zimbabwe, enabling his side to triumph by seven wickets and take the series 2-1.
In Division 1 of England’s County Championship, Durham have recorded their third victory of the season over Surrey and clear blue water has opened up between them and their closest challengers, Middlesex and Yorkshire. Northamptonshire maintain their convincing lead in Division 2. Durham’s captain Paul Collingwood has been lamenting damage done to the Oval pitch by boot studs during a November Aussie Rules game. So, if it all goes pear shaped in the Ashes decider in August, we know who to blame.
The Scoop 14/05/13