Challengers Right on Top!
Clinical, Ruthless, Controlled Aggression, Rolling out the opponents from all ends. Thats what the Bangaloreans did to Mumbai in their own den. Fantastic.
What a rollicking knock out punch that was. When they encountered probably the best team in the IPL matching themselves, Royal Challengers knocked Mumbai so hard, it left the little maestro Sachin Tendulkar wondering as to what he could do in such a situation. They tried to do everything they could, but nothing could work against the marauding Challengers.
I had written in my strategy inputs yesterday that the Challengers had to put in a great show as a team, especially in the fielding department. And when Rahul Dravid took that catch, it appeared as if it was the ultimate answer to the most clinical fielding effort that complemented an out of the world bowling attack from the Challengers. I had also said that feeding Sachin on his legs was so dangerous and Dale Steyn who was doing very well with sheer pace, erred in line for just that moment when the little master stole 3 boundaries. However, that was shortlived glory for Mumbai Indians as the nippy Vinay Kumar tormented them completely with a strike of 3 in one over, almost telling the world that he was not far from the heroics achieved by Praveen Kumar against Rajasthan Royals.
Oh man, what an IPL season Kallis is having. So far no bowler seem to be able to run in thinking that he can take his wicket and going forward too, that will probably be the attitude going forward for every bowler. Kallis has proved to be the double rock wall for a team whose original 'wall' turned aggressive Dravid is yet to get a real opportunity to show his abilities.
The youngsters have fired the right way. Another comment I had made early on in the tournament, exactly after the loss of first match, that while Kallis or Dravid will be needed to hold one end, we had the youngsters in Pandey, Uthappa and Kohli to fire from the other end. And then if wickets were to go in a hurry, you always have Morgan and Boucher to hold them together and score quick too.
In such an onslaught from this professional bunch, the strong Indians from Mumbai had no answer. They kept losing the wickets and when Kumble got that wrong one to completely deceive the in-form Tiwari, there was no way out for Sachin's men. The master's leg stump to Vinay was perhaps a gift or could be considered as over confidence of repeatedly playing the glance shot against accurate bowlers. Steyn, Praveen and Kallis were hit for a few runs on the onside and Sachin tried too many to go across the stumps against Vinay.
Overall, a completely satisfying performance - not a bad performance from me as I am closing this blog as the final winning runs were scored by the hero, Jacques Kallis.
Hats off to you Challengers, thank you Challengers for treating us to such a delight on the Saturday night. It was indeed Saturday Night Fever that floored Mumbai Indians completely. Way to go Royal Challengers.