We work in Machine Learning down here in our secret labs, and by we I obviously mean me and my alter ego. Before you say "Machine Whaaaa?", let me say that my job is to make 'intelligent' predictions. Since the IPL is near, this can only mean one thing.
We break our self-imposed blog exile by posting a series of predictions about the IPL rankings this year. Anyone using these predictions for betting or gambling better give me 10% of the winnings.
We begin with part one.
a) Delhi Daredevils:
New Motto: "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Hurray for the bridesmaid!"
DD's game plan is to perform really well in the league stage. This leaves them with no mojo for the semi-finals, where they inevitably lose big time. Having perfected the fine art of finishing 3rd or 4th, my predictometer says that the result this year will not be any different. We predict that DD will be carried by the awesome trio, i.e. Warner, AB, and Dilshan, while Sehwag provides consistent scores of the form 4(3) and 8(4). Let us not forget Gambhir, who will probably pitch in with gritty knocks of 7(12) and 15(14). We expect to see plenty of first over dismissals when DD is batting.
In the bowling department, Nannes will again have a golden patch (except the semis, ouch!), and Nehra will provide support in fits and starts with figures like 4-0-32-1. Again, Vettori and Dilshan will lead the spin attack, with Mishra busy mis-fielding at mid-on. New boy Parnell will not be used heavily as all four foreign slots will have huge contenders. Consequently Pradip Sangwan will tell his grand-children that he kept Parnell on the bench. Paul Collingwood and Moises Henriques will be utilized to do what they do best -- fetching water and towels.
Prediction : 3 or 4
Reaction: Hurray! We get to play in the Champions League!
b) Mumbai Indians:
New Motto: "Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, one match at a time".
MI have lost so many matches in the last over that one wonders if Nita Ambani has any of her manicured nails left. This hurts them a lot as they always succeed in finishing a comfortable 5th or 6th (Hey! it is better than 8th, they say). However things might change as Mukesh Ambani has sold off his house to pay for Kieron Pollard in the latest auction. If Pollard displays his famed hitting skills even twice, Mumbai may threaten to break into the top-4. But we know MI very well, don't we?
We predict that Jayasuriya will finally succumb to his age, thus nullifying the Pollard factor, and Sachin will play the "Tendulkar card", whereby the entire Indians team will collapse after he gets out. In the middle order, Duminy will fall first ball LBW to
every spinner, mistaking him for Bhajji. Thus, even Mishra from Delhi will get his wicket. Therefore, the only Mumbai Indian who can erroneously propel the team into the top-4 is Abhishek Nayar. If MI play their cards right, they will have to ensure that he gets out before that. Maybe Dwayne Bravo or Bhajji can run him out.
As an aside, in the two matches against Rajasthan Royals, old-timers will have a mini-orgasm after seeing a sum total of five balls that Warne bowls to Sachin (at least one of which will be hit inside out over extra cover). We also predict that this time Bhajji will slap Brett Lee by mistake, and then walk with a pelvic plaster cast after that.
Prediction: 5 or 6
Reaction: Either "Sachin: the ball was coming onto the bat" or "At least it is better than finishing last."
c) Kolkata Knight Riders:
New Motto: "Is baar to karbo larbo jeetbo re $@#$@#!"
Ah! the KKR, how we love them and hate them. All that we remember from KKR @ IPL 2009 is Dada's glowering and sulking face. But this time to udi baba re! they are in for a solid surprise. The captaincy will revert to Dada, and with the dictatorship restored, things will run much more smoothly. The line up will be "Gayle, Dada, Hodge, Hussey, unmentionables, equally unmentionable Agarkar,...,Bond". Gayle will again enjoy the lifeless pitches in India, making scores like 48(31) and 66(39), while Dada will be the perfect foil with scores like 4(13) and 22(35), with an average opening partnership of 55 runs. As before, Hodge and Hussey will win matches for KKR (if any). So what is the difference then? Well, there are three.
One -- the alert reader might notice the absence of McCullum, the ex-captain. While the official reason will be that he is busy playing against Australia, Dada will secretly celebrate at not having to deal with his old-flame. A happy captain always inspires. Given that Dada can neither bat nor bowl and definitely not field in T20, it is imperative that he at least remains positive. Two -- Bond, Shane Bond. He will single handedly give KKR two wickets per match, with figures like 4-0-18-2. Care must be taken that his figures are not nullified by Agarkar, or Kaan Moolo as he is better known these days. Three -- the law of the underdogs. In the long history of IPL, one has seen that the supposed underdogs always perform the best.
Rajasthan did it first, and Deccan/Bangalore did it next. Well last year, KKR were not even the underdogs, they were the fleas on the underdogs. Inevitably, they will perform HUGE this year.
Together, these three immutable laws can mean only one thing.
Prediction: WINNER! (Yes, holy sh**, even I can't believe what I predict!)
Reaction: My name is Khan and I am finally a goddamn IPL winner!
(Subsequent parts to be posted later)