Match#58: Royal Challengers Bangalore v/s Kolkata Knight Riders
M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore
Form: RCB- Win, Loss, Loss, Loss, Draw, Win, Win, Win, Win, Win, Win,
KKR- Loss, Win, Win, Win, Loss, Loss, Win, Win, Loss, Win, Win,
This is it. The winner of this game will probably stake their claim solely on one of the first two spots in the table. That could mean an extra opportunity to get through to the final- in view of the playoff format introduced this year.
Two of the most flamboyant Indian owners will face off in yet another power packed battle that might decide the immediate future of none of them, really. Not a lot at stake, except bragging rights- and a possibility of finishing above Champions Chennai in the new 10-team table.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: (Finals 2009)
With Gayle and Kohli maneuvering yet another dominating performance against the Royals (and yet another 9-wicket win- surely a record), RCB have all but sealed a spot in the playoffs in storming fashion. A true come-from-behind performance in the tournament was capped by none other than young S Aravind- once again trumping his senior partner Zak and getting among the ‘important’ wickets. With Dilshan bowing out on a high (by his IPL standards), RCB will not fret too much for they are so high (in general- Kingfisher and all) on confidence that a brash little kid like Kohli managed to captain them to victory sans senior statesman Vettori.
Leaving on a jetplane
6 wins in a row and there is no stopping this team at the moment. This game will probably determine who finishes second (or even tops- considering Mumbai’s Jekyll-and-hyde ways) and could mean one less game to reach the final. Along with Chennai, Bangalore will represent the South yet again- and will look to succeed their more-illustrious neighbours with an unbeaten run to the title. As of now, it will be interesting to see them play the stronger teams like KKR, Chennai and Mumbai again- with most intellectually inclined RCB fans praying for Gayle to fail just so that AB can feel his bat again and practice finishing an inning. That might require some simulation, but if Sachin could do the same for MI, so can Gayle and Kohli for Bangalore. It is for the team, after all.
Player to watch out for: AB De Villiers
The most entertaining man to talk to on-air will be itching to get a hit or two before the playoffs begin. One step has been taken- the keeping gloves are off finally- with him returning to his ‘best fielder in the world’ title and literally rescuing Bangalore from the clutches of Watson and Dravid the other night. He isn’t needed to do much more really, but a tough situation or two could get the best out of him- just like it did when RCB were in the dumps during their first 5 games. The savior must return.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
SRK was said to be considering making a special offer to any fan who could guess when the KKR actually played their last game. Immediately, a familiar figure stepped forward and spoke, in a booming voice:
‘Your KKR played a week back on Saturday and beat CSK in a rain-shortened game. They got lucky. You got lucky *wry smile*’
SRK– ‘No. KKR did not get lucky. Brett Lee bowled the spell of his life and still did not manage any wickets. You call that LUCK? I call it talent!’
‘Sorry, SRK. You don’t seem to know much about cricket. Abdullah is the real unsung hero of your side- stop being so partial to the Aussies. Have you not learnt your lessons after John Buchanan? Ha!’
SRK– ‘Okay, so Abdullah and Tiwary have been the heroes. I admit. But *don’t say it out aloud*- they might ask for a raise. So, Shhhh!’
‘You now face RCB- the best team at the moment. Are you going to regret dropping Gayle and yours truly after we have single-handedly turned around our teams?’
SRK-‘ But Dada, you have played only one game for Pune. And they had nowhere to go but up- to be honest. I admire Gayle for what he has done, but we are so good right now that we don’t really have the time to regret almost-signings. I mean, look at us. Gauti has made us potential champs. Kallis has not even fired- and we are still inches away from qualifying for the final, no less.’
‘In your words, I have ‘mentored’ them to two consecutive wins right? Wait till you face MY team at Dy Patil in a week- you will eat your words. Your team is in great form, and I am a bit wary about facing someone like Rajat Bhatia- because I have so many shots in mind that I will get confused!’
SRK– ‘Everything is planned. In fact, we have a plan to get Gayle too now- and RCB will miss Dilshan for sure. We plan to prey on…Oops, can’t say it out aloud.’
‘I know your plan. You will probably ease Kallis out of the side and let him mentor you next year…’
SRK– ‘Arre Dada, stop distracting me now. I have to inspire my boys with the latest trailer of RA.One. Even Yusuf Pathan will feel like hitting a few today. But to be honest, I need to be careful. Last time. Sid Mallya spiked my drink so that I wouldn’t cheer too much. His plan backfired when I passed on the drink to Deepika though…’
‘Oh, that explains the kiss…’
The Incredible Bulk
Player to watch out for: Yusuf Pathan
Time to do a Gayle and send the cheerleaders hiding for internet cover. Pathan is yet to play that one shocking gravity-defying innings, and this is the time to promote him up the order to swing his bat and boom Braveheart-style, ‘2nd place is OURS!’ From not even being the best player in his family, Y. Pathan has risen because of this tournament- and he will look to shut young Kohli’s mouth up for good- preferably with a white cricket ball.
With Vettori not playing and Dilshan on to greater things in life, RCB might struggle to get a bit of balance- especially if they lose a few early wickets (stop laughing- it is possible) Hence, with Brett Lee discovering some much-needed consistency, KKR should be favorites to end Bangalore’s famous streak. Mallya needs to concentrate more on F1 right now, with Force India’s performance always inversely proportional to his cricket team. After all, Siddharth Mallya is much more than a kid with a silver spoon up his…er, mouth. Right?