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PHASE 1 : Praveen K. Gupta's review for rc's performance
Witnessing great performances is a joy that can only be experienced, but, recollecting those special moments and evaluating things that were done as well as things that were not done, is an entirely different experience. The memories of an RC win make you feel ecstatic and the memories of a loss make you ponder over what exactly went wrong. This is what, the IPL review is all about. Come, let's have a re-run of the six weeks of frenzied action, celebrations and the heart breaks. Match 1 : RC vs KKR (14th March) Kolkata. As is the reputation, Eden Garden, despite its less than half capacity at present, is an intimidating place to be. It was the much awaited start for our campaign to claim IPL 2010 trophy, whereas, the Knightriders were already up and running after their brilliant performance against the reigning champion Deccan Chargers. Put in to bat first, RCB’s innings resembled a horse that had tripped as soon as the gates opened. The much vaunted youth talent pool was back in the dugout, much too sooner than anybody’s liking. Eoin Morgan, the new recruit, walked in and hit one down the ground, raising the spirits and just as the hopes started building up, he perished trying a shot too many. It was the resolute Kallis, who held one end up aided by some good blows from Rahul Dravid and Robin Uthappa, who enabled the team to last the twenty overs and put up something to fight for. Angelo Matthews was brilliant for the second time in a row and his 4 wicket haul, never let RCB’s innings get going. The total of 136 was never enough and with Manoj Tiwary hitting the ball all around the park, Brad Hodge did the sheet anchor’s job. Both got 50s and the KKR comfortably won the game with 7 wickets. Turning point of the match : Eoin Morgan’s wicket. The team were in a precarious situation at that time and had lost three early wickets. It called for better application from the talented Morgan. Had he stayed on a bit longer, I am sure the team would have got a decent total. It was his dismissal that really triggered the panic button as we were into the lower middle order, much earlier than ideal. Strategical blunder : Bunching the youngsters together. All the young guns being sent in at the top of the line-up created a panic situation. The batting order needed better planning. Match 2 : RC vs KXIP (16th March) Bangalore. After the shocking loss in the season’s opener, RC needed to bounce back and display their true caliber. They were backed by the splendid home crowd and everyone expected a much improved performance. Bowling first, Praveen Kumar started the proceedings by bowling a splendid first over, conceding only a single to Bopara and Manvinder Bisla lived dangerously on the other end. Dale Steyn started fast and furious, but conceded a boundary to Bisla on the fifth ball of the over. The shaky Bisla got another boundary in the next over from Praveen Kumar. He kept the bowlers and the fielders interested till this time. It was the six off Kallis in the fourth over that really calmed the nerves for Bisla and thereafter, he strung a fantastic partnership with Bopara, who was also going quite nicely at the other end. It was their 129 run opening stand, that paved the way for a huge total and Jayawardene got them past 200 with his superb unbeaten cameo. Chasing 203 was never going to be easy. Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan started nicely and RC got only one boundary in the first two overs. However, the new opening pair of Kallis and Pandey, took charge quickly and both of them started hitting boundaries regularly to ensure that the chase was never beyond them. Though, Piyush Chawla got Pandey out in the 8th over and broke that brilliant opening stand, it only helped RC. Robin Uthappa walked in with destruction on his mind. It was the 13th over from Sreesanth, when Robin unleashed his fury on the Kerala Express, slamming him for 25 runs single-handedly. Uthappa’s blitzkrieg ensured a smooth overhaul of the massive total with 8 wickets to spare. RC were up and running now. Turning point of the match : 25 runs slammed by Robin in the 13th over. Situation demanded acceleration as the required run-rate might have run out of bounds, if any more tight overs were bowled by KXIP. The brutal trio of sixes that Robin slammed in this over, demoralized the bowlers and put life back in the chase. Though, Robin was out on the last ball of the next over, the damage was done and Kallis finished the job superbly. Strategical Ace : Change in the opening pair. Pandey and Kallis gave a brilliant start and that built the foundation for the successful chase. Match 3 : RC vs RR, 18th March Bangalore The battle Royale had become more interesting with Royal Challengers having recorded a stunning win over the KXIP. The batsmen had shown their mettle and after the hammering in the last game, the bowlers were expected to put up a respectable show. Bowling first, it seemed that our bowlers had not only learnt from their mistakes of the last game, but, vowed to take revenge from the rival batsmen. Naman Ojha and Michael Lumb, opened confidently and saw off the opening burst from Steyn and Praveen Kumar. It was the introduction of Jacques Kallis that yielded instant results with Ojha holing out on the very first delivery from Kallis. Kumble’s introduction from the other end proved deadlier as he got Lumb stumped off his second ball. Kallis knocked over Jhunjhunwala’s timber in the next over and suddenly RR were reeling. Their hulk, Yusuf Pathan walked in with huge responsibility and expectations. The plan was ready and he was served a buffet of short stuff by Steyn, Kallis and Vinay Kumar. Frankly speaking, it was sad to see how badly he struggled every time the ball was pitched short. Though he survived for a while, the inning had got tethered and then came the deadly blow from Praveen Kumar, when he knocked over Damien Martyn, Sumit Narwal and Paras Dogra to complete the tournament’s only hat trick. RR could muster only a feeble 92 in 19.5 overs. The in form opening pair made the target seem even easier than it was. They shared the honours by slamming a humiliating ten wicket loss on the Rajasthan Royals. Turning point of the match : Yusuf Pathan’s run out. He was the only man, who could have given them a decent total to defend and he failed miserably. Strategical Ace : The well-directed short pitched stuff that made life hell for the RR batsmen and negated their mainstay Yusuf Pathan. Match 4 : RC vs MI, 20th March, Mumbai. Two massive wins in a row and the confidence in camp RC was sky high. The fans were ecstatic and the players confident as Anil Kumble’s troops marched into the Brabourne Stadium. This was the clash of the titans as the MI were unbeaten till then and these two teams were at the top of the table. Dale Steyn chose the day to show his fire power and he plumbed the veteran Jayasuriya in front of the wickets to start the rut for MI. Sachin held fort for a while, showing glimpses of his master class when he slammed Steyn for three well crafted boundaries. However, the wickets fell at the other end and he couldn’t really take MI anywhere. It was the late resilience from Sathish and Pollard and also the brilliant cameo from ex-RCBian Zaheer, that saw them past 150. The opening pair of Kallis and Pandey, yet again put up a solid 85 run partnership at the top and it was all too easy for RCB from thereon. Kallis stayed unbeaten and RC defeated MI in their own backyard with seven wickets. It was yet another massive win for RC and the fans could have literally asked for the moon and the stars, with the players willing to deliver even that much. Turning point of the match : 11th over of the MI innings, bowled by Vinay Kumar. He gave just two runs and removed the God of cricket, in form Ambati Rayudu and the much vaunted Dwayne Bravo to knock the wind out of MI sails. Strategical Ace : The continued brilliance of the opening pair. It was the sheer faith that the RCB openers had raised that made the team believe that they could chase down any total, anywhere. Match 5, RC vs CSK, Bangalore. RC had proved to be the team of the tournament thus far. Three back to back successful run chases had put us in the top bracket. Whether it was the paltry 92 that the Royals from Rajasthan set us for or the massive 203 that the KXIP had set, we blasted them all on our way to this match. For a change, we were batting first and the onus was on our batsmen to come good and set a big total for Chennai to hunt. Manish Pandey and Kallis failed to really get going. They scratched and toiled, but, the runs were just not coming. Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli and Eoin Morgan, all came and left without making any substantial contribution to the total. Reducing us to 119 for 5 late in the 17th over, Dhoni and his men must have been grinning. However, Robin without the hood, came and conquered. It seemed as if Robin’s innings were not being practiced in the nets, but, on the study table of a script writer. It was a terrible situation, fans getting desperate, disappointment creeping in and just at that moment, strode in the hero to save the day for RCB. Blasting a 38 ball 68, Robin single handedly put RC’s total, well above the defendable level. Poor old Balaji would never forgive Robin for the sheer disdain through which his deliveries were carted over the ropes, much to the delight of a packed stadium. The momentum was with RCB and with Parthiv Patel’s disastrous run continuing and the painful struggle of Matthew Hayden coming to a pre-mature end, CSK were never able to really raise the hopes of a chase. The bowlers led by Anil Kumble, resembled precision bombers, landing the ball in the right areas and getting regular wickets. Only Vinay Kumar had an economy rate of over 7, but, he more than made up for it by claiming 4 top wickets including that of dangerous Suresh Raina. In the end, RC romped home with 36 runs. There was only one question on every mind and that was ‘can this team ever be beaten?’. Turning point of the game : Dropped catches of Robin Uthappa when he was batting on 5 and again on 25. If we look at it, even if he was caught the second time around, it could have given the final total a difference of about 30-35 runs and that was almost what did the trick for RCB. Strategical Ace : The well planned bowling display, forcing the ‘Mongoose man Hayden’ to scrape around miserably despite his much vaunted ‘club of a bat’. It was the stifling act right at the top, that did all the damage to CSK’s chase. 25th March, RC vs DD, Bangalore, A forced rescheduling of the event, made RC play their second game in quick succession. The team was on home turf and hitting home runs consecutively. We looked firm favourites to win the game, however, DD needed to knock us out in order to stay grounded in the competition. DD batted first and it seemed as if our strategy focused around keeping Sehwag down and forcing him out, which we successfully did. However, the stocky Aussie left hander Warner, was in a demonic mood. Three consecutive doubles of the first three balls of the innings set the DD innings rolling and then Warner tonked Praveen Kumar for a six in the very same over. He cleverly kept the strike by nudging a single off the last ball and then greeted Steyn’s first missile with a boundary. When he got the strike back for the last ball of the over, he slammed Steyn over the ropes. RC were hit by a fierce storm. Fortunately, Warner didn’t last long and some sanity was brought back into the proceedings until the diminutive Kedar Jadhav walked in. The rookie took the bull by horns and hit a splendid 50 to help DD post an imposing 183. The opening pair of Kallis and Pandey, yet again strung together a solid 71 run partnership, but, failed to keep up with the pace that was required. Chasing an innings strike rate of around 160, the openers batted way too slowly, putting severe pressure on the batsmen to follow. For once, Robin Uthappa showed that he was heroic, but, human. His early departure was literally the end of a sweet dream for RC’s string of wins. Twin runouts of Dravid and Morgan, effectively knocked the wind out of the sails. Virat Kohli slammed a few to claim some glory among a lost battle. We were finally short by three big hits. Turning point of the match : The brilliant knock by Kedar Jadhav. Had it not been the quick fire fifty from the unknown commodity called ‘Kedar Jadhav’, DD wouldn’t have got such a big total and the final difference of 17 runs, could well have not been there. Strategical blunder : The slow start of the innings. That put immense unwarranted pressure on the middle order. Match 7 March 31st, RC vs CSK, Chennai. Our victory march was halted by the DD in the last game and we wanted to get back to our winning ways. Chennai was coming to this game after a series of losses and they needed to bounce back on the home turf. We opted to defend the total and had an okay start. Pandey perished early, but, Kallis stayed rooted at the other end. Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, KP and Cameron White, all played nice cameos, and got us a respectable total of 161/4 in our 20 overs. Once again Hayden was stifled and then knocked over in the 7th over by Anil, who got him stumped. However, Murali Vijay had different plans. He assaulted our bowlers with some brutal hits, six of them going over the ropes for the ‘DLF Maximum’. After what looked like ages, we did get Vijay out, but, the diminutive southpaw Raina, had the rest of the script tailor made for him and his 40 run knock saw CSK home to a stupendous win. This was our second loss in a row and some brainstorming was urgently required. Turning point of the match : Murali Vijay’s assault. The pitch was helpful to slow bowlers and Hayden was struggling at the other end. Had it not been for the destruction caused by Vijay, the match would have been much closer and the total of 161 wouldn’t have been so easy to chase down. Strategical blunder of the match : Going into the match with four quicker bowlers. The pitch was on the slower side and helped the spinners. 109 runs came off the 11 overs that the Chennai fast bowlers bowled, whereas, the main spinners gave away only 38 runs in their eight overs. Even when we bowled, Kumble gave only 18 runs in his 4 overs. It was evident that we chose the wrong bowling attack for that spinner friendly pitch.
Witnessing great performances is a joy that can only be experienced, but, recollecting those special moments and evaluating things that were done as well as things that were not done, is an entirely different experience. The memories of an RC win make you feel ecstatic and the memories of a loss make you ponder over what exactly went wrong. This is what, the IPL review is all about. Come, let's have a re-run of the six weeks of frenzied action, celebrations and the heart breaks. Match 1 : RC vs KKR (14th March) Kolkata. As is the reputation, Eden Garden, despite its less than half capacity at present, is an intimidating place to be. It was the much awaited start for our campaign to claim IPL 2010 trophy, whereas, the Knightriders were already up and running after their brilliant performance against the reigning champion Deccan Chargers. Put in to bat first, RCB's innings resembled a horse that had tripped as soon as the gates opened. The much vaunted youth talent pool was back in the dugout, much too sooner than anybody's liking. Eoin Morgan, the new recruit, walked in and hit one down the ground, raising the spirits and just as the hopes started building up, he perished trying a shot too many. It was the resolute Kallis, who held one end up aided by some good blows from Rahul Dravid and Robin Uthappa, who enabled the team to last the twenty overs and put up something to fight for. Angelo Matthews was brilliant for the second time in a row and his 4 wicket haul, never let RCB's innings get going. The total of 136 was never enough and with Manoj Tiwary hitting the ball all around the park, Brad Hodge did the sheet anchor's job. Both got 50s and the KKR comfortably won the game with 7 wickets. Turning point of the match : Eoin Morgan's wicket. The team were in a precarious situation at that time and had lost three early wickets. It called for better application from the talented Morgan. Had he stayed on a bit longer, I am sure the team would have got a decent total. It was his dismissal that really triggered the panic button as we were into the lower middle order, much earlier than ideal. Strategical blunder : Bunching the youngsters together. All the young guns being sent in at the top of the line-up created a panic situation. The batting order needed better planning. Match 2 : RC vs KXIP (16th March) Bangalore. After the shocking loss in the season's opener, RC needed to bounce back and display their true caliber. They were backed by the splendid home crowd and everyone expected a much improved performance. Bowling first, Praveen Kumar started the proceedings by bowling a splendid first over, conceding only a single to Bopara and Manvinder Bisla lived dangerously on the other end. Dale Steyn started fast and furious, but conceded a boundary to Bisla on the fifth ball of the over. The shaky Bisla got another boundary in the next over from Praveen Kumar. He kept the bowlers and the fielders interested till this time. It was the six off Kallis in the fourth over that really calmed the nerves for Bisla and thereafter, he strung a fantastic partnership with Bopara, who was also going quite nicely at the other end. It was their 129 run opening stand, that paved the way for a huge total and Jayawardene got them past 200 with his superb unbeaten cameo. Chasing 203 was never going to be easy. Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan started nicely and RC got only one boundary in the first two overs. However, the new opening pair of Kallis and Pandey, took charge quickly and both of them started hitting boundaries regularly to ensure that the chase was never beyond them. Though, Piyush Chawla got Pandey out in the 8th over and broke that brilliant opening stand, it only helped RC. Robin Uthappa walked in with destruction on his mind. It was the 13th over from Sreesanth, when Robin unleashed his fury on the Kerala Express, slamming him for 25 runs single-handedly. Uthappa's blitzkrieg ensured a smooth overhaul of the massive total with 8 wickets to spare. RC were up and running now. Turning point of the match : 25 runs slammed by Robin in the 13th over. Situation demanded acceleration as the required run-rate might have run out of bounds, if any more tight overs were bowled by KXIP. The brutal trio of sixes that Robin slammed in this over, demoralized the bowlers and put life back in the chase. Though, Robin was out on the last ball of the next over, the damage was done and Kallis finished the job superbly. Strategical Ace : Change in the opening pair. Pandey and Kallis gave a brilliant start and that built the foundation for the successful chase. Match 3 : RC vs RR, 18th March Bangalore The battle Royale had become more interesting with Royal Challengers having recorded a stunning win over the KXIP. The batsmen had shown their mettle and after the hammering in the last game, the bowlers were expected to put up a respectable show. Bowling first, it seemed that our bowlers had not only learnt from their mistakes of the last game, but, vowed to take revenge from the rival batsmen. Naman Ojha and Michael Lumb, opened confidently and saw off the opening burst from Steyn and Praveen Kumar. It was the introduction of Jacques Kallis that yielded instant results with Ojha holing out on the very first delivery from Kallis. Kumble's introduction from the other end proved deadlier as he got Lumb stumped off his second ball. Kallis knocked over Jhunjhunwala's timber in the next over and suddenly RR were reeling. Their hulk, Yusuf Pathan walked in with huge responsibility and expectations. The plan was ready and he was served a buffet of short stuff by Steyn, Kallis and Vinay Kumar. Frankly speaking, it was sad to see how badly he struggled every time the ball was pitched short. Though he survived for a while, the inning had got tethered and then came the deadly blow from Praveen Kumar, when he knocked over Damien Martyn, Sumit Narwal and Paras Dogra to complete the tournament's only hat trick. RR could muster only a feeble 92 in 19.5 overs. The in form opening pair made the target seem even easier than it was. They shared the honours by slamming a humiliating ten wicket loss on the Rajasthan Royals. Turning point of the match : Yusuf Pathan's run out. He was the only man, who could have given them a decent total to defend and he failed miserably. Strategical Ace : The well-directed short pitched stuff that made life hell for the RR batsmen and negated their mainstay Yusuf Pathan. Match 4 : RC vs MI, 20th March, Mumbai. Two massive wins in a row and the confidence in camp RC was sky high. The fans were ecstatic and the players confident as Anil Kumble's troops marched into the Brabourne Stadium. This was the clash of the titans as the MI were unbeaten till then and these two teams were at the top of the table. Dale Steyn chose the day to show his fire power and he plumbed the veteran Jayasuriya in front of the wickets to start the rut for MI. Sachin held fort for a while, showing glimpses of his master class when he slammed Steyn for three well crafted boundaries. However, the wickets fell at the other end and he couldn't really take MI anywhere. It was the late resilience from Sathish and Pollard and also the brilliant cameo from ex-RCBian Zaheer, that saw them past 150. The opening pair of Kallis and Pandey, yet again put up a solid 85 run partnership at the top and it was all too easy for RCB from thereon. Kallis stayed unbeaten and RC defeated MI in their own backyard with seven wickets. It was yet another massive win for RC and the fans could have literally asked for the moon and the stars, with the players willing to deliver even that much. Turning point of the match : 11th over of the MI innings, bowled by Vinay Kumar. He gave just two runs and removed the God of cricket, in form Ambati Rayudu and the much vaunted Dwayne Bravo to knock the wind out of MI sails. Strategical Ace : The continued brilliance of the opening pair. It was the sheer faith that the RCB openers had raised that made the team believe that they could chase down any total, anywhere. Match 5, RC vs CSK, Bangalore. RC had proved to be the team of the tournament thus far. Three back to back successful run chases had put us in the top bracket. Whether it was the paltry 92 that the Royals from Rajasthan set us for or the massive 203 that the KXIP had set, we blasted them all on our way to this match. For a change, we were batting first and the onus was on our batsmen to come good and set a big total for Chennai to hunt. Manish Pandey and Kallis failed to really get going. They scratched and toiled, but, the runs were just not coming. Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli and Eoin Morgan, all came and left without making any substantial contribution to the total. Reducing us to 119 for 5 late in the 17th over, Dhoni and his men must have been grinning. However, Robin without the hood, came and conquered. It seemed as if Robin's innings were not being practiced in the nets, but, on the study table of a script writer. It was a terrible situation, fans getting desperate, disappointment creeping in and just at that moment, strode in the hero to save the day for RCB. Blasting a 38 ball 68, Robin single handedly put RC's total, well above the defendable level. Poor old Balaji would never forgive Robin for the sheer disdain through which his deliveries were carted over the ropes, much to the delight of a packed stadium. The momentum was with RCB and with Parthiv Patel's disastrous run continuing and the painful struggle of Matthew Hayden coming to a pre-mature end, CSK were never able to really raise the hopes of a chase. The bowlers led by Anil Kumble, resembled precision bombers, landing the ball in the right areas and getting regular wickets. Only Vinay Kumar had an economy rate of over 7, but, he more than made up for it by claiming 4 top wickets including that of dangerous Suresh Raina. In the end, RC romped home with 36 runs. There was only one question on every mind and that was 'can this team ever be beaten?'. Turning point of the game : Dropped catches of Robin Uthappa when he was batting on 5 and again on 25. If we look at it, even if he was caught the second time around, it could have given the final total a difference of about 30-35 runs and that was almost what did the trick for RCB. Strategical Ace : The well planned bowling display, forcing the 'Mongoose man Hayden' to scrape around miserably despite his much vaunted 'club of a bat'. It was the stifling act right at the top, that did all the damage to CSK's chase. 25th March, RC vs DD, Bangalore, A forced rescheduling of the event, made RC play their second game in quick succession. The team was on home turf and hitting home runs consecutively. We looked firm favourites to win the game, however, DD needed to knock us out in order to stay grounded in the competition. DD batted first and it seemed as if our strategy focused around keeping Sehwag down and forcing him out, which we successfully did. However, the stocky Aussie left hander Warner, was in a demonic mood. Three consecutive doubles of the first three balls of the innings set the DD innings rolling and then Warner tonked Praveen Kumar for a six in the very same over. He cleverly kept the strike by nudging a single off the last ball and then greeted Steyn's first missile with a boundary. When he got the strike back for the last ball of the over, he slammed Steyn over the ropes. RC were hit by a fierce storm. Fortunately, Warner didn't last long and some sanity was brought back into the proceedings until the diminutive Kedar Jadhav walked in. The rookie took the bull by horns and hit a splendid 50 to help DD post an imposing 183. The opening pair of Kallis and Pandey, yet again strung together a solid 71 run partnership, but, failed to keep up with the pace that was required. Chasing an innings strike rate of around 160, the openers batted way too slowly, putting severe pressure on the batsmen to follow. For once, Robin Uthappa showed that he was heroic, but, human. His early departure was literally the end of a sweet dream for RC's string of wins. Twin runouts of Dravid and Morgan, effectively knocked the wind out of the sails. Virat Kohli slammed a few to claim some glory among a lost battle. We were finally short by three big hits. Turning point of the match : The brilliant knock by Kedar Jadhav. Had it not been the quick fire fifty from the unknown commodity called 'Kedar Jadhav', DD wouldn't have got such a big total and the final difference of 17 runs, could well have not been there. Strategical blunder : The slow start of the innings. That put immense unwarranted pressure on the middle order.NORATAN BAFNA JAIPUR MAIL-noratanbafna@yahoo.com
Posted by noratan
Guptaji, appreciate your patience and perseverance in posting this review. All my previous records on "length of posts" have been beaten by you now with this review!
Posted by Raghunath

 

PHASE 2 : Praveen K. Gupta's review for rc's performance
The first leg of the IPL had it all for the men in red. A start on the wrong note, awe-inspiring resurgence after that shocking loss in the opener and then back to back defeats as March came to a halt.


The first priority at that point was to regain the winning habit. Despite the twin losses, we were sitting pretty at the points table with 4 wins out of seven, needing exactly the same score from the second half, in order to smoothly qualify for the semis or at least three out of the remaining seven, as we could expect our NRR to help us sail through even if we had 14 points.


We were playing the ‘paper lions’ KXIP in their den. This was the last chance for the Mohali team to stay in the tournament and batting first they did put up a very defendable score. For once, their middle order came to the party and the score of 182 looked very defendable, until, Brett Lee met Robin, who customarily tonked the blonde Australian for two sixes and a four in the 17th over, putting RCB back in the driver’s seat.


Winning this game gave us the second place on the table once again and RCB traveled to the capital, expecting to continue the good work.


Once again our bowlers failed to keep Delhi’s batsmen in check. Warner gave a flying start and Collingwood took it from there on. We were tasked once again to chase a total of over 180 and with the kind of a line up that we had, one backed RCB to chase it down yet again. However, the script was different and Delhi bowlers never let our batsmen off the hook. The struggle finally came to an end, 37 runs short of the target.


The unrest was growing among fans, the equation was getting tougher for the team. We made a mistake in team selection for this game by dropping Steyn. Our bowling attack was constantly being put to sword by the rivals.


With determination in heart and a plan to bounce back, we waited for the deflated Deccan Chargers at our den and expected to avenge the last year’s final in the game on April 8th.


Batting first, we put on a huge 184, courtesy the much criticized Jacques Kallis, who hit a breezy 68 of 44 deliveries aided by a late flourish from Virat Kohli and Cameron White. It looked a winning total and DC lost Mohnish Mishra quite early in the game. Adam Gilchrist looked like regaining his form and his assault put fear into the minds of RC fans. The double blow of Adam and Rohit in quick succession, put the bulls back again and in walked the man with the shining pate. One must admit that the loss of hair can sometimes work wonders for one’s batting. At least it did for Symonds as he clobbered RC bowlers ruthlessly for a 24 ball unbeaten 53, brilliantly supporting young T Suman, who was playing the best innings of his IPL 2010. Our bowlers had let us down once again as we slumped to a 7 wicket loss.


The equations were being drawn and redrawn rapidly as we hosted the Knightriders. We needed 3 wins out of the remaining four games to qualify strongly to the SF and a minimum two to qualify on the basis of NRR and also some results going our way.


The team was fired up to tame the Bengal tiger as they strode into the Chinnaswamy stadium.

Though, Gayle and Mccullum executed some brilliant hits and Sourav anchored one end, the Kolkata team failed to step up the gas when the time came. Their middle and lower order failed to fire and all they could get was 160 in their quota of overs. RCB’s batting line up had undergone a few changes and the portly Sriram walked in with Kallis, who oddly failed to get going. Dravid walked in with purpose written large on his face and put to sword the pace oriented Kolkata bowling attack. Robin Uthappa once again led the blitzkrieg from the other end. He seemed to be a specialist in scoring 50’s of 20 odd balls in this IPL .


RCB registered the much needed morale boosting win and once again took on the Chargers, this time at Nagpur.


This was a real cliff hanger of a game.


The precision bomber Dale Steyn gunned down the Bull’s skipper and their anchor of the previous game, both claiming a duck each before the Steyn gunned down his countryman Gibbs by removing the sticks behind him. At 14/3, the out of charge Deccans, looked good for a below 100 finish, but, at that very moment, Rohit Sharma and Mohnish Mishra found the socket and plugged themselves in. It was once again the precision striker Steyn, who ran Mishra out after what seemed like ages and DC finally finished at 151. The total was worthy of a fight, but, not really defendable against the formidable RCB or so we thought until Pandey decided to get a duck for his own collection. Kallis seemed to be unmindful of all the chaos around him and simply patted the ball around to pick up the odd run and Rahul Dravid, once again displayed his explosive skills. When Kallis finally decided to call it a day, Ross Taylor, Cameron White and Virat Kohli hurriedly joined him back in the dugout, leaving Robin to once again show if he was actually a superhero! Well, Robin did take the challenge seriously and brilliantly got us back into the game. 18 needed of last two overs and the Batman Robin on strike, it seemed to be RCB’s game until Harmeet Singh claimed his stake to heroism.


We were now tasked with beating the Royals of Rajasthan and it was a must win game for us.


Our bowlers never gave the rivals any chance to settle down and the Rajasthan team scored only a paltry 130 in their 20 overs. The biggest surprise came when Kallis picked up a duck and Manish Pandey didn’t last long either. However, that was where the joy for the home team was over as Kevin Pietersen took charge of the proceedings. We seemed to specialize in beating teams owned by film actresses, this season. 


We thumped them comprehensively and were virtually assured of a place in the top four by virtue of NRR.


Our last encounter was with the marauding Mumbai Indians.


The story of the game was almost similar to some of our earlier losses. Bowling first, our bowlers lost control of the game and MI scored a huge 191/4 in their quota of 20 overs. Our chase never gained momentum with Dilhara Fernando, Kieron Pollard and Harbhajan Singh, exhibiting great bowling skills. The 57 run loss was our biggest in terms of runs, this season and MI gained a psychological advantage as we were now pitted against them in the Semi Final as well.


Since we qualified for the SF, it could be said that ‘all was well at the end of the second leg’. However, we had a lot of issues to deal with.


Our batting order was not settled and the lower middle order which was largely untested in the first leg, was now constantly failing to finish the target hunting, which was our forte.


Our bowlers were getting hammered. Apart from the skipper and the extra fast Dale Steyn, all others were leaking runs badly.


Above everything, if we lacked in something then it was ‘consistency’. One day our batsmen were doing well and on another day our bowlers bowled exceptionally. If we had t beat MI in the Semis, we had to get both the acts together.

 

PHASE 3 : Praveen K. Gupta's review for rc's performance
Continuous exhibition of brilliance lifts one from goodness to greatness. The Sachin Tendulkar led Mumbai Indians had just been doing that. They had a dramatic turn-around in their performances, inspired by none other than the God of cricket. They were a terrific team and a headache for their rivals. The demoralizing defeat that they meted out to RCB in the last league game only enhanced the psychological advantage that they had. Huffing and puffing, RCB managed to find a slot in the Semi Finals as the fourth placed team. RCB’s performance this season can be compared to an overcast sky. One moment there would be a dazzling display of lightening and the other moment there would be dull, uninspiring grey skies to look at. We did unleash a fierce storm by winning four games on a trot in the early stages of the tournament, but, then we ran out of steam winning only 3 of the remaining 9. Going into the SF against MI at DY Patil Stadium at Navi Mumbai, there was a lot of enthusiasm among the fans, who expected the team to beat MI in their backyard. The game was a heart breaker. We had it in control for the first 15 overs, but, the last 5 overs of MI innings saw 77 runs coming and thereafter, it was a forgettable effort by us. For a change, let’s not brood over the match report as we all saw the game. Instead, I would prefer to do something that I never liked doing in the biology lab and that is 'Dissection'. Prior to this game, there was a unique thing about our performance. Whether we won or we lost, we almost always did well in one half of the game. Either our bowling came good or the batting bailed us out. However, in the SF, we miraculously faltered on both counts. The bowlers looked jaded and clueless once the MI assault began in the last few overs. Sherlock Holmes would have said, 'Elementary dear Watson, elementary' if he had to point out the fact that any team would look to hit out in the last five overs of a T20 game. One must admit that we had hugely reputed bowlers in our ranks. Still, we didn’t have an in-form specialist death over bowler. We bled a lot of runs and 184 was way too big a score to chase in a pressure SF game against the best team of the tournament. Our batting displays have been equally strange. If we look at the names, we literally have the Sun, the Moon and the Stars in our line up, but, on every occasion, when there was a faulty start, it appeared as if the pitch became too hot for any of them to stand upon. Every successful cricket team needs to have the depth to bail them out from early set backs, but, our lower order was largely untested. Whenever we won, the top 4-5 guys always finished the job and if it actually did come down to the lower middle order or the tail, they unfailingly faltered. If we look at the MI scorecard, 77/4 was not such a flattering read, but, they had the men and the men had the belief. It was down to the battle of pride and the beautiful bride called CLT20. We were once again set to claim our stake in the prestigious tournament, though, one must admit that the changed rules of having three teams instead of the two finalists had given us this opportunity. In other words, one can also say that it was a God sent chance, after the chances for a place in the final were blown up, so to say. The Deccan Chargers had a dream finish to the league stage, winning five out of five and qualifying strongly only to find the other NRR entry, CSK, too hot to handle. They had beaten us twice in their last three games against us and MI had beaten us twice in their last two games against us. What the heck! Our bowlers as well as batsmen were growling as the wounded lions. It’s well known that a wounded lion is always deadlier than a relaxed lion. We charged hard at the bulls and they resembled fish out of the water, as their willow men tumbled and stumbled on the 22 yards of barren patch in the middle of the grand DY Patil Stadium. Once their inning folded up, entering the record books as the lowest score of 2010 edition of IPL, our batsmen knew what they had to do. After the SF where the bowling first and then the batting had come croppers, it was imperative for the team to show that the bowling first and then the batting can come trumps in a single day. That’s exactly what the top three batters must have decided during the innings break. They gobbled up the 82 run pie among themselves, though, for a change the smallest piece of the pie was given to our run machine ‘Jakes’. Yeehaw! We were in the CLT20 for the second time in a row! No mean feat considering that no other IPL team has done that so far. First the Cheergirls came to India from South Africa and they cheered the cricketers and now our cricketers will go to South Africa to be cheered. RCB believes in being fair. That’s it guys!

 

 
Phases Match Result

Phase 1 from
3rd May to
7th May

RC v/s KKR
(14th March)
Lost
  RC v/s KXI
(16th March)
Won
  RC v/s RR
(18th March)
Won
  RC v/s MI
(20th March)
Won
  RC v/s CSK
(23rd March)
Won
  RC v/s DDD
(25th March)
Lost
  RC v/s CSK
(31th March)
Lost

Phase 2 from
8th May to
12th May
RC v/s KXI
(2nd April)
Won
  RC v/s DDD
(4th April)
Lost
  RC v/s DC
(8th April)
Lost
  RC v/s KKR
(10th April)
Won
  RC v/s DC
(12th April)
Lost
  RC v/s RR
(14th April)
Won
  RC v/s MI
(17th April)
Lost

Phase 3 from
13th May to
17th May
RC v/s MI
(Semifinal)
(21st April)
Lost
  RC v/s DC
(3-4 playoff)
(24th April)
Won