A disappointing start
Royal Challengers Bangalore started their IPL campaign with a disappointingly disastrous start as they handed Kolkata Knight Riders a seven wicket victory...
Royal Challengers Bangalore started their IPL campaign with a disappointingly disastrous start as they handed Kolkata Knight Riders a seven wicket victory [SCORECARD]. Bangalore did everything wrong as they played some very ordinary cricket. Bangalore lost wickets at the top and was reeling at 35 for 4 in just 7 overs. Kallis and Dravid tried to steady the ship but Dravid departed to Mathews after a small partnership with Kallis. In the end it was left to Kallis to get RCB to a respective total, and he gave RCB something to bowl at as they scored 135 runs in their 20 overs. Kolkata came out screaming and looked like finishing he job early, with Tiwary and Hodge helping themselves to two fine half centuries. In the end, KKR marched home in front of their home crowd with a resounding 7 wicket victory.
Royal Challenger's made many mistakes with their strategy. The playing eleven was the expected and looked like a strong team, and the plan of going hard in the powerplay was all right and sane, but the batting order was debatable. With Kallis opening, you'd expect a natural aggressor at the other end, who can take on the bowling like Manish Pandey or Robin Uthappa, but the Challengers opened with young Goswami, who is more of a stroke-maker than an aggressive slogger. Virat Kohli, Eoin Morgan and Manish Pandey fell in the pursuit of quick runs. I don't understand why Kohli, and Morgan were sent ahead of Dravid. Dravid should have been sent at the fall of two quick wickets to stem the rot. Dravid might not be a natural slogger but he has worked on his aggressive shots and can keep the scoreboard ticking while scoring that boundary every now and then, while at the same time rebuilding the innings. That's what Ramprakash does so well for Surrey. At the fall of Dravid, Kallis was Challenger's only hope and he played an innings of subsistence holding the entire RCB innings together.
The bowling was stronger for the Challengers than usual with Steyn in the squad, but rather than letting the world's number one bowler open, Kallis opened the bowling. I understand the logic that as the wicket was slow, Steyn wouldn't have been so effective. If that is the case, then why was he in the team? If you picked him, you might as well bowl him upfront as your primary weapon. The bowling was pretty good except in patches. Steyn and Kallis made the bowling look bad and this can be seen on the scorecards. Kumble, Van der Merwe, and Praveen Kumar all went under seven an over. Among the three they gave 62 runs in 12 overs while picking up three wickets. I loved what Kumble did by having a slip and a short-leg in place for most part of his bowling. This clearly showed that he wanted to be aggressive and sent a clear sign of that to the KKR camp. I do feel he could have done better by bringing in more fielders to stop the singles, but KKR's onslaught in the powerplay probably made him think twice about that.
The match was good for RCB in a sense as it showed just what and how much work still must be done. It also provides a glimpse into the strategies of the Challengers and team composition and gives plenty of insight for Kumble and coach Jennings to work with. The Royal Challengers are a team that generally perform when their back is against a wall and the chips are down, and I'm sure that a single loss is not going to make the team lose heart. Like captain Kumble said, "We will bounce back", and what better place to do it than in their own backyard. Come tomorrow, Royal Challengers will take on Kings XI Punjab and show just why they are simply the best.