RCB take on KKR to stay alive in CLT20
RCB vs KKR, 8 PM, 29th September, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
It was a disappointing loss at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium for RCB last Friday against the Warriors but they went down fighting. They’ll need to show more of that resolve today if they are to beat the Kolkata Knight Riders, a dangerous side who will be playing with nothing to lose.
The loss of AB de Villiers will hurt, taking away not just a class batsman but also a handy wicketkeeper from the line up. The South African is a steady presence in the middle order, capable of building as well as accelerating as he feels and also gives Daniel Vettori the option to play an extra batsman or bowler as the game plan demands.
Coach Ray Jennings knows the difference that the energy AB brings to the field makes, but he’s also quite confident of AB’s replacement, Tillakaratne Dilshan. A game changer in his own right, the Sri Lankan can match Chris Gayle’s ferocity at the top, adding to RCB’s bowling strength with his canny off spin, required more than ever after Gayle’s off day with the ball on Friday.
Dilshan can keep if required too. Not that he will be asked to keep, that task will most probably go to Arun Karthik who has shown promise in his outings in the Ranji circuit for Tamil Nadu and in the few matches he played in the IPL. The youngster has been working hard at his keeping in the past few months and is a reliable bat but most importantly, he’s ready to step up on the big stage.
Jennings has indicated that the team has gone over their shortcomings in the previous match, working hard on their fielding and bowling. He estimates the fielding cost them about 25 odd runs on Friday. He also concedes that the bowlers didn’t bowl smartly enough with loose balls in every over allowing the Warriors to keep chipping away at the RCB total. He adds that though there is an eye on the NRR, the focus is largely on getting the basics right to ensure an outright win.
He’s wary of the opposition too, insisting that KKR cannot be written off on the basis of their two losses in the tournament already. It’s a clean slate every time a match begins and it’s not called the Champions League for fun, KKR are here because they are good. He will know, for at the top of the KKR line up is Jacques Kallis, a man Jennings has worked closely with in South Africa and in the IPL where Kallis played for RCB in the first three seasons.
Another KKR player that someone from RCB can’t wait to meet again is Brett Lee. Chris Gayle launched an onslaught for the ages against Lee in the 2009 T20 World Cup clash between West Indies and Australia. He took 27 runs off Lee in one memorable over with one six hitting the roofs, one hitting a car in the parking lot and one going into the school beside the ground at Kennington Oval in London. Lee got Gayle finally but finished with 1/56, among the costliest figures in T20 history, a big amount of them off Gayle’s blade.
The big Jamaican however isn’t complacent, he knows just how well Lee can come back and plans to play as the situation demands. Knowing Gayle though, that could only mean one thing: full throttle.
The team is also wary of KKR’s opener Manvinder Bisla, Dutch floater Ryan ten Doeschate, middle order bat Manoj Tiwary and the dangerous Bangladeshi allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, planning their strategies against them. The skipper himself is expected to negate the threat of Yusuf Pathan, trying to get the bighitter, especially during the powerplays when he is likely to swing his arms.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have their task cut out for them if they are to bring their campaign back on track and it looks like they are prepared to the extent it is possible. Only the match will tell us if it is enough.