Match#50: Royal Challengers Bangalore v/s Kochi Tuskers Kerala
M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore
Form: RCB- Win, Loss, Loss, Loss, Draw, Loss, Win, Win, Win, Win,
KTK- Loss, Loss, Win, Win, Win, Loss, Loss, Loss, Win, Win,
The heat is on- both these teams are the ‘form’ teams- and there is not much to mock on present form. Kochi is playing the team game that Rajasthan would be proud of, and Bangalore is playing the one-man army that West Indies would be proud of.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: (Finals 2009, Semi finals 2010)
Riding high on the tornado that has stripped the WICB naked over a period of two century-filled weeks, the Challengers are ready to stake their claim to what is rightfully theirs- a knockout from the knockouts. Until then, Chris Gayle will continue to be responsible for mating calls from the distant carribean islands and for making Vettori look like a captain who thrives under pressure. The cool Jamaican is not only emulating Sehwag, but is chipping in with useful bowling performances that consistently read better than Piyush Chawla’s career best figures.
All the others need to do is rally around him and make sure that he is satisfied and happy. Of course, Mr. Mallya has that taken care of. He will now threaten to sweep away a team that is as unpredictable as him, and other than sudden shock that might grip him when he faces someone of S. Sreesanth’s calibre, nothing else can possibly stop the Gaye juggernaut.
Okay, so a little-known youngster cashed in and took 4 wickets against a hapless Punjab (sans Preity), and even Vettori came to the party with a wicket more than the amount he is contracted to take. All footnotes on a night utterly and sensationally domindated by the West Indian all-rounder (for now).
Player to watch out for: Zaheer Khan
An anti-climax of sorts- to be reading Zak’s name after the Gayle overdose. But the man is astonishingly close to firing (read conceding less than 9 an over) and it is only a matter of time before Sreesanth inspires him to greater goals in life. His hair is black now. Just saying.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala:
The much-ridiculed Kochi outfit has come in for some more flak after inadvertently distracting opposition teams and fans alike with their shocking choice of color. That this outfit wears a bowler named Shantakumaran Sreesanth is only adding fuel to the fire.
Whatever the strategy, Kochi are going down all guns blazing- not without causing a few flutters. Secure with the knowledge that they will be known as the BEST of the debutants and as ‘fighters’ after inevitably losing their way once their captain departs for the England tour, the team is now playing professional and fearless cricket.
Mahela is having his final hurrah for IPL-2011, determined to leave his team on a high- and is leading from the front with a typically elegant half century that set them on track against KKR. Interestingly, every win that they have managed so far has been labelled an ‘upset’- a term not unfamiliar to Ravindra Jadeja and equally familiar to Sreesanth (for other reasons altogether). With young Gomez rising from the depths of ignominy (read the initial stages of IPL-2011) to come back and display some of the famous World Champion mental strength- the Indian team has signed a new contract with an Amazonian wood supplier from Peru for exclusive provision of LONG and sturdy benches (read bench strength) for the near future.
They will now run into a team that have a lot at stake- and are desperate to make the knockouts to continue their consistent legacy of ‘being the bridesmaid and never the bride.’
A win here for the Tuskers and life could be very interesting (read miserably sick) for the likes of both the Royal teams.
Player to watch out for: Brad Hodge
Yes, there is no substitute for experience- as proved time and again by the burly Australian shooting star. Promoting himself from the role of a ‘failed finisher’ to that of a ‘one-match wonder’ has done the young old man of Australian cricket a world of good- and he will look to continue his ways just so that his teammates remain insecure and on their toes.
Hard to look past another thumping RCB win- however distinguished Kochi’s record reads against the so-called top teams. If not Gayle, it could be Kohli. If not Kohli, it could be AB. If not AB, it could be Tiwari. But it will deifnitely not be Dilshan.