RCB open campaign against Delhi
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils
Saturday, April 7th 4pm
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore begin their Indian Premier League 2012 campaign today at their home ground against the Delhi Daredevils.
Foremost on the minds of most fans will be the carnage the T20 batting heavyweights Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag can cause but it is the respective bowling attacks that could turn out to be the difference tomorrow.
The Chinnaswamy pitch has always had a little something in it for pacers, even the spinners appreciate the bounce it has to offer.
Delhi set up their win against Kolkata on Thursday with a superb display of bowling from Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Roelof van der Merwe. They also have Irfan Pathan and Varun Aaron to bolster their ranks, Pathan proving his allrounder chops with big hitting to take the match away from Kolkata.
Bangalore’s bowling let them down in the 2011 Champions League T20 and they addressed the problem in the build up to IPL 2012. Signings include impressive young talent from the Indian domestic circuit this year like Harshal Patel, Ronit More and KP Appanna and also big names like Muttiah Muralitharan, allrounder Andrew McDonald and local boy Vinay Kumar.
This turns their problem into one of plenty with McDonald, Muralitharan and Dirk Nannes competing for the one overseas player slot that remains after skipper allrounder Daniel Vettori, allrounder Gayle and batsman-wicketkeeper AB de Villiers claim the first three.
Bangalore’s batting looks solid with Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammad Kaif. With a top order in the form that Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers are, Bangalore can afford to drop a batsman and go with a specialist bowler. Muralitharan and Vettori operating in tandem is an exciting prospect but with Abhimanyu Mithun and Sreenath Aravind not at their best, RCB may be tempted to play Nannes or even Charl Langeveldt to support Zaheer Khan and Vinay Kumar.
Delhi are probably one batsman short and Glen Maxwell’s performance on Thursday wasn’t really reassuring. Irfan Pathan and Roelof van der Merwe can finish innings on a good note but Venugopal Rao will need more support than that if things were to go wrong early in an innings.
Heading into their clash, Delhi will want to prove their uncharacteristic dip post the auction shuffle last year as a onetime anomaly while Bangalore will want to go to the next level from being contenders to champions.