Virat ends up winner!
Their challenge against Mumbai may have ended at the victory gates, but that didn't stop the strong Challengers from reaching well deserved semifinals...
Virat Kohli. He is yet to find a permanent place in Indian team, be it the ODI or T20, not at all because he lacks any talent or ability or performance, but just because there are others whom it is hard to displace. And here for RCB, and on the bouncy South African pitches, he keeps punching his way like a accounts clerk punching invoices as if its just a routine. Well, the youngster has come to the party where his much acclaimed overseas stalwarts like Taylor or Kallis or White have paled in comparison, so much that White had to admit that Kohli is the key man for their success in semis. Dont forget that run out he effected from the deep, those 3 reasonably tidy overs at a difficult time.
And then there is Rahul Dravid. Since the days he started turning up for the country, he has always been on the defensive side - I am not talking about his batting style, I am referring to the innumerous digs and criticism he had to face in his career. First critics said he was not fit for limited over format and then he proved to them with 10,000+ runs and numerous catches. Well, many of those catches came behind the wicket, a role he was forced to adorn by the call of captain Ganguly at that time, as if his master batsmanship was not sufficient to earn him a place in the side.
Then as he built his career winning more test matches for India abroad than anyone else had done ever before, he had to still remain the 'bestman' behind the eternal bridegroom, Sachin Tendulkar.
Now, and of late, his own fans started branding him a "not more than 100 strike rate player for T20 format, so should not open the innings etc etc", a claim which I strongly refuted by saying he contributes useful knocks at top of the order which lays a solid foundation for the innings so that strikers like Robin or Ross can capitalise on. How much he proved me right! thank you Rahul.
I had seen how Dravid had turned his traditional test-style solid & slow batting of mid 90's into becoming an useful middle order resource in ODIs with several 50s and some record breaking partnerships, like many of his fans, I was also fortunate seeing how he modified his game to suit T20 format in the IPL at a time when he and his team mates in the inaugural IPL (Kallis, Jaffer, Chanderpaul, Misbah et al) were branded a test team. Now, if he has hit three knocks of 30+ at a strike rate close to 125 or more and his famous, illustrious and more capable team mates like Ross, White and even the dynamite Uthappa have fallen by the way side, it is quite clear that Dravid the phenomenon has made the critics find both their feet in their big mouths. I hope I can conveniently use the phrase "let the critics beware, when they speak of Rahul Dravid".
And of course, Mr Srikkanth and his wise team of selectors, Dhoni the captain included, must be realising as to how many winnable matches that they lost because they didnt have a Dravid in the middle.
Today was such a high day for RCB, not only because they moved from $200,000 prize money to $500,000 category (by reaching semis) but also with the way they achieved it. The wrinkles in their performance against Mumbai were all ironed out clean. And they had their captain superior Anil Kumble to lead from the front. Just imagine in today's T20 games, with 60 yard boundaries to defend, a spinner comes in, bowls 24 deliveries, 12 dots, one double and 11 singles. No boundary, forget a sixer. And he takes the wicket most wanted by his team. Is this real? Are you sure its T20? Indeed, when it is Anil, anything is possible.With a splendid start from Vinay, tight second spell from Steyn, solid foundation from Dravid and Pandey and clear finishing by Virat - it was totally a team effort. no fifties and not even a 3 wicket haul - just proves how much of a team effort it was.
Anyway, they either play Warriors or Super Kings in semis, but whoever they play, they have found such glorious form, I am sure there will be a great game ahead of us. In cricket generally, and more so in T20, it is tough to predict the winners (as we saw the match against Mumbai where a last ball top edge from Virat ended a dream run), but whoever wins, I am sure RCB will thrill all of us.
Beware, Rossy & Robbie are yet to come to the party!!