rcbzealot's Review On Airtel Champions League 2009
The Champions league was a highly anticipated event as it propounded the globalisation of club cricket; till now an unchartered territory. To add to the excitement and usher in the patritotism, it had 3 IPL teams coveting for the world's best T20 team title. Also, having been cancelled the first time around owing to the tragic terror attack in Mumbai, the cauldron was hotter than expected this year. And how well did it live up to the hype!!!
We saw some of the hardest hitting; such that each ball bowled was literally a crowd-alert. We saw some of the tensest finishes, more tense than an erupting volcano. Also, there was an 'a la carte' of entertainment - from the flamboyance of "Trinidad and Tobago" to the guile of the "RCB" and lest we forget, the clinical fulfillment of the "NSW Blues". All in all, it was a treat to the true cricket fan, a little glimpse of what the next generation of the sport will be, a world of cricket played with gay abandon!!! Cricket's youngest child has truly come of age now!
It was definitely a disappointment that my favourite team - RCB didn't win the trophy. We had a great team filled with the nascent brilliances of Manish Pandey and Virat Kohli to the thundering Bazookas of Ross Taylor and down to the level headed genius of Kallis, Dravid and Kumble. Somehow, this mixture wasn't strong enough to remain in the funnel, it poured down dashing innumerable heart beats.
Though it was a disappointment, i really enjoyed the team's display in the tournament. The batting was brimming with confidence and it was a pity that they lost the first match even after setting up a challenging total. The Cape's Cobras had the final say with JP Duminy's bite being too venomous for the RCBians. Having a do-die match against the Ottavo Volts, the team regrouped to "DO" instead of "DIE" by which they crept into the second round where each match was almost a must-win. After a poor display in the match against Victoria Bushrangers, much was left in the hands of the mathematicians than in those of the players. The death-knell was finally sounded when Cape Cobras overcame the Victoria Bushrangers signalling the end of RCB's short but exciting journey. With pride at stake against the Delhi Daredevils, they rode on the heroics of Taylor, Dravid and Kumble to win the battle even though the war was lost. And definitely, it was a glorious exit.
A post mortem most of the time reveals the plausible causes of death. My autopsy reveals that the real high for the team was the much improved batting line-up. Kallis and Uthappa have become a formidable pair to bank upon for a sturdy start. The middle-order is strong and explosive at the same time with the likes of Dravid, Taylor, Kohli and Pandey. A late flourish can be expected from the surprising and exciting Merwe alongwith Praveen Kumar. However,this batting wound up when the Victorian Bushrangers came hunting and meekly surrenderd the game and with it the rest of the tournament.
The other 2 main areas of the game still needs to be honed, particularly fielding. The lapses on the field was like a hidden dagger in the pocket, continuously hurting the team when least expected. Crucial misses, i believe, led to the debacle in the opening game.
The frailities in bowling were exposed too, particularly the ones in the death overs. Apart from the spinners, the rest of them need to get their act together if they need to seriously contest for the title. The medium pace of the team is sometimes a sitting duck; waiting to be plundered. This gap needs to be plugged quickly as we know no matter how good the batting is, the bowling needs to complement it.
All in all, the team's morale was high which matters in thick times. The guidance of Kumble definitely has instilled the belief in the team that they can take on the best in the world and also come up trumps. The RCB team is evolving and this augurs well for the upcoming tournaments.
Nonetheless, this tournament was definitely lightened up by the pyro techniques of the explosive TNT (Trinidad and Tobago) team and in particular, the man of the hour - Kieron Pollard. The tournament also showed some of the brightest stars to look forward in world cricket. The crowd attendance was great and so was the support. The conduct was brilliant and the execution of the tournament clinical to the 'T'. It can be safely said that in the world of T20, the Champions League is the king!
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