RCB Leave Daredevils in Hell
Royal Challengers Bangalore Topple Delhi Daredevils
Royal Challengers have notched up three outright wins in the tournament, each with its distinct flavor. Maybe the win against the Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday night was a perfect mixture of their earlier ones, against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Kolkata Knight Riders. Against the Tuskers, RCB had taken the match to an under par equation but with wickets in hand (an oxymoron). In the other essay, they had swept away the Knights comprehensively in a Gayle storm.
Tuesday’s encounter required the Bengaluru team to chase 160. After the early exit of Dilshan, Virat Kohli took centre stage and torched the grass at the Kotla, finding gaps at will during Powerplay (first 6 overs). The Delhi spectators were heard in their typical style describing “Hey, these guys are piercing the gaps at will. Not a ball in the air to offer us a chance!” Thereafter followed a similar domination as the one against Kolkata, Chris Gayle describing a perfect parabola as he decided the aerial route to the spectators was the way to go.
Daredevil fans had started to leave the stadium even before half the overs of RCB’s chase had been bowled. Their naivety can be forgiven; they’d seen Chris Gayle’s knock against KKR. However, today, Chris got slightly ambitious and aired the ball to backward square leg. That set the rot. Non striker AB de Villiers, taking a big start and running very fast, was brilliantly run out from the square boundary by a direct hit. He can hardly be faulted.
Unfortunately for Virat, he tried to cut one and played onto his stumps. Suddenly Delhi fever raged. Daniel Vettori salvaged pride for his team by hitting a pressure relieving six and soon, Saurabh Tiwary did his six hitting bit to stave off the threatening ball-run equation. On Tiwary’s departure, Mithun tried to go aerial and long but only succeeded in the former and was pouched between point and cover.
In walked a much understated commodity, Syed Mohammed who had actually finished the job well in a televised match for a glitzy private cricket league three seasons ago in a similar situation; he was not an unknown cricketer. Two boundaries in his batting debut in IPL put marked him out as the one to watch out for. Never mind that the field was an attacking one although with sweepers in crucial positions, but had to be finished. Batsman were required to show temperament, which he did.
The match also showed RCB’s positive approach is ‘throwing the kitchen sink at the ball’ before it gets too late. Eventually, they won without the pressure of taking it down to the last ball or two, at one stage needing 12 off 12, a huge credit to their calculated risk taking and planning. This, inspite of already being five wickets down after Pujara’s unexpected dismissal at the team score of 102 off 12.3 overs. ‘Not much batting’ had been left at that stage, although it was proven otherwise.
RCB are now on a roll. Call it superstitious but the global practice of limited overs cricket now seems to be “don’t’ start the rot. Wickets will fall.” With the valiant Bengaluru team having trod both the easy and difficult path, it remains to be seen whether they plan victories with more heartaches for their fans, or easy conquests. They have to the talent to do either.