Cornered RCB aim to spring a surprise at Somerset
RCB vs Somerset, 8 PM, 3rd October, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have not had the start they wanted in the 2011 Champions League T20 and will be searching for their first points of the tournament when they meet Somerset tonight at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
The bowling and fielding fell just short in a close match against the Warriors but the batsmen added to the problem against Kolkata Knight Riders, throwing away wickets with rash shots. The batting unit can be counted upon to recover though; it’s the bowling that presents the deeper problems.
Coach Ray Jennings will want to take a look at the balance of the line up to see if he can accommodate Arun Karthik as a keeper. It’s a move that will let Daniel Vettori play Tillakaratne Dilshan as an additional off spinner instead of keeping wickets, as someone he can go to when the other bowlers aren’t able to get a breakthrough.
Rajoo Bhatkal who replaced Mithun in the line up earned his right to be retained with the bat but couldn’t make his presence felt with the ball, another worry in a side where the main strike bowler, Dirk Nannes has been wicketless so far. Nannes was unfortunate against the Warriors, having chances put down, but was played superbly by Haddin, Kallis and Gambhir in the second game. He will have to do more than bowl at full throttle tonight if RCB is to make its way into the reckoning, and he will have to guide Sreenath Aravind while he does so. Aravind, having earned a call up to the national team had a night he’d rather forget against KKR and will be eager to prove just why he received that call in the first place.
RCB’s two biggest batsmen Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli too haven’t been able to convert their starts into innings of substance. The duo shares the added burden that the absence of AB de Villiers puts on the line up but if they click, the total that RCB can post grows substantially.
Daniel Vettori has been the team’s iron man, leading them, tangling up the opposition and lashing them to take crucial runs, all without a fuss for his team. It’s at this moment that he cannot afford to sit back, it’s at this moment that he has to bring them together and make progression to the next round their sole focus.
Somerset will be reinforced by the arrival of Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler, two of their best batsmen. Not that they’ve missed them much; Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe and James Hildreth have delivered for them, taking games by the scruff of the neck and taking Somerset across the line. Trego and van der Merwe especially, have contributed with the ball as well, and with their other frontline bowlers such as Alfonso Thomas and Murali Kartik chipping in too, Somerset have an enviable bowling attack.
Even with all the elements clicking for RCB, rain might play a spoilsport, having already washed out a bunch of games at the M Chinnaswamy, ironic because they were originally shifted to Bangalore from Kolkata because of heavy rains. Add to that their NRR problems, and one could say that RCB have no choice but to come out all guns blazing tomorrow.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have been among the most consistent IPL sides since 2009, even becoming the first team to qualify thrice in a row for the Champions League T20. For all that great show however, they have a history of faltering at the last step. Ray Jennings respects history but he won’t be tied down by it and he will want his team to do likewise. He will want, and he will make sure, that they fight against the odds, come out on top and write their own history.