RCB - The batting line up of nightmares
Standing tall, completely disinterested in whichever pace merchant or spin wizard is about to open the bowling, surveying the stands (upper tiers only mind you), a thick bat looking like a stick in his hand is Chris Gayle, opening batsman for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
At the sight of him, his disregard for the field set and even with his go slow approach of late, it's hard for a bowler to not feel deflated. Even more so after that ball he landed so perfectly is swatted into the second tier over the straight boundary at a blinding speed. The bowler walks back to the top of his mark, repeating a simple instruction to himself to pitch it just short of a length, draw Gayle forward, praying that the ball somehow takes an edge or Gayle misses it completely.
The ball lands where he wanted it to, it moves off the pitch the way he wanted it to and then Gayle puts it where he wants to - out of the ground. This is what he does to the good bowlers, what he does to the minds of lesser bowlers is even worse.
This is just the opening salvo that the batting line up of dreams - or nightmares depending on which team you support - offers. To follow the Gaylestorm at no.3 is Virat Kohli, the batsman with the appetite and benevolence of Genghis Khan and with an armoury of shots to leave bowlers humiliated. His form over the past two years has seen him break records that great batsmen have taken entire careers to build and there is no sign of him relenting or of any weakness in his game for bowlers to target. He lives for the challenge, is a master of the chase and feeds on pressure, coming out stronger with every knock.
As if these two weren't enough, AB de Villiers is the next batsman to come in. To have to bowl to him is to become a spectator, after releasing the ball there is not much to do but guess which part of the ground he's hit you to, such is his speed and the surety of his batting. Reputations do not matter, neither do fielders, he could dead bat the ball to his feet and steal a run or he could hit you to so many parts of the ground that you're left pulling your hair out in frustration.
Yuvraj Singh is the latest addition to this already deadly trio, another batsman capable of routing attacks in a matter of overs even if his recent form doesn't indicate that. Yuvraj was instrumental in building India's reputation as fighters and chasers, never backing down from a challenge and reveling in never giving up. Even when scratchy it is not advisable to rile him, just ask Andrew Flintoff and Stuart Broad.
No batting line up is complete without finishers and Albie Morkel is the demolitions expert of RCB's A-Team, the man capable of hitting sixes right from the first ball. Albie has walked in with 18 overs done countless times and finished his knocks with a strike rate on the better side of 170 or even 200, leaving bowlers ruing a radical change in their choice of career.
Even with T20 loaded in favour of batsmen, there aren't any batting line ups that evoke such fear in the hearts of bowlers and minds of captains. Having come together for the 2014 IPL, this is a batting line up sure to inspire many tales of horror for bowlers this summer.
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