Gayle storm, rain mark RCB's CLT20 warm up game
The Royal Challengers Bangalore kicked off their 2011 CLT20 campaign in the garden city on Monday, playing their first and only warm up game against a composite Karnataka State Cricket Association XI at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The night match was subject to ICC directives for contests played under lights and thus play had to be stopped and the match abandoned even though RCB were 143/5 after 14 overs in the first innings.
The KSCA XI is no pushover, having restricted a still formidable Mumbai Indians line up to 121/9 then toying with a class bowling attack to chase down the target in less than 13 overs with 7 wickets in hand in an earlier warm up game.
The team RCB faced contained the dangerous Robin Uthappa, the enterprising Bharat Chipli and several RCB players nominated to field/bowl for them by Coach Ray Jennings, rightly anticipating rain that could have robbed them of a chance of getting match practice in the second innings.
Big Jamaican Chris Gayle announced his return ominously, smashing 75 off just 32 balls before he was bowled by KP Appanna, the score was 103 in just the 8th over of the innings when Gayle departed. Appanna struck again in his next over, having a rusty AB de Villiers caught by Asad Pathan for a laborious 3 off 7. Asad Pathan struck again in the next over, catching Mayank Agarwal who had continued from where he had left off in the IPL, adding 31 off 25 quietly while Gayle had rampaged at the other end.
Saurabh Tiwary biffed some quick runs before being stumped off Syed Mohammad by keeper CM Gautham for 18 off 10 balls, leaving the score at 138/4 in 12.5 overs. Mohammad Kaif, who enjoyed a good run of scores in the recently concluded BCCI Corporate Trophy as captain of the Air India team was caught behind off the bowling of SL Akshay, dismissed for 4 off 7 balls. Skipper Daniel Vettori was unbeaten on 3 off 3 with Arun Karthik for company on 1 off 3 when rain forced the players off the field.
Vettori wouldn’t be too pleased by the returns his bowlers fetched, Mithun and Ninan going wicketless and going for 29 and 27 runs in their 2 and 3 overs respectively. Syed Mohammad struck to take 2 wickets in his four overs but they came at 19 apiece, a dangerous average in a T20 game.
The batting was better as a unit but the quick tumble of wickets after Gayle’s dismissal may peck at his mind. Kaif and de Villiers struggled to get starts while Tiwary and Agarwal didn’t build upon theirs. Gayle remains the big bright spot, clubbing a massive score despite last having picked up a bat back in the IPL final at the end of May this year.
With some stalwarts such as Virat Kohli, Dirk Nannes and Tillakaratne Dilshan yet to come in or play a game, he will be hoping they fire right away so that RCB finally end the trophy drought that has overshadowed their otherwise brilliant cricket ever since the lows of IPL 2008.
RCB 143/5 in 14 overs
Gayle 75, Agarwal 31
Appanna 2/19, Syed Mohammad 2/38