Bangalore pull it off: Bangalore Royal Challengers vs. Deccan Chargers

May 25, 2008

For an IPL match that was largely called a battle to avoid the wooden spoon, it entertained quite well.

The entertainment value was not top class, but it felt like standard cricket: not too euphoric, for the most part, and even boring sometimes, but not without fluttering a supporter’s heart.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers seemed to have carried on some momentum from their previous unbelievable win against Chennai. Without Zaheer and Praveen, one would have thought the bowling had chinks, but the local boys and under-19s contributed well to the line up. The team spirit seems to have gotten better over the past couple of games.

Gilchrist won the toss and chose to bat first. Dravid responded by opening the bowling with Kumble, a move that seemd to suggest that he has returned to thinking ways, as opposed to panicking. Risky? Yes. Payed off? Not completely, but the Kumble-Steyn combination stopped the Gilchrist-Gibbs pair get off to a flyer. The move almost payed off with Kumble appealing although unsuccessfully for lbw against Gibbs. It remained just a close one, which umpire Koertzen turned down. Steyn continued some his good work from the the last couple matches. While the Deccan run rate was kept down to 5-odd for the first couple of overs, the bowling change to Kallis brought some change in fortunes. Shortly after taking a pummelling, Kallis retired hurt causing worries for the bating. The local boy Vinay Kumar with U-19 Virat Kohli succeded in keeping the Deccans down as Bangalore regularly picked up wickets. Perhaps the biggest blow for the Deccan was losing the IPL star Rohit Sharma after he hurt himself while batting.

Going by Bangalore’s chasing record, going after 165 seemed tough, but there was some hope with Jaffer on top to lead some stability. However, Jaffer turned out to be the clown of the batting line up for first running himself out and then atrociously running out the injured but belligerent Kallis by some very lazy running. Misbah came settled down, thrilled and went. Dravid also came, threatened to lead the chase, thrilled indeed with a six and three consecutive fours- all priceless beauties (including a Misbah trademark cheeky reverse one), but departed by mis-timing one from Sanjay Bangar. It seemed to be over for Bangalore at that point with the asking rate creeping to over 10. However they weren’t destined for the wooden spoon. Thanks to some hitting from until-now indifferent White and Kohli, but mostly to Akhil for sealing it with 2 sixes towards the end of 18th over. At the end of the day, it was team work that did it for Bangalore: everyone chipped in when it was required.

Mallya! You spilled trash too soon. This team isn’t as bad as your mouth.

Go Bangalore! Go Dravid!


IPL Saturday: Rajasthan vs. Chennai, Mumbai vs. Delhi

May 25, 2008

Two darn good games made my Saturday! It felt really good to watch two matches without exactly supporting one side. That both went down to the wire added to the pleasure. Competitive cricket (albeit the T20 variety) was played and entertained well.

The first came with a lot of hype, and lived up to it for the most part. While the first half was all Rajasthan, the second half was the more exciting one to watch. Chasing 200-odd in T20 is not an easy task and I though the Chennai team game the Rajasthan a run for their money. Credit to the Chennai Super Kings for that. While Dhoni reminded us once again never to depend on him too much, Parthiv played a good cricketing innings: almost no crap shots and a fairly cool head on those shoulders. I was also impressed with India-reject Raina. The other part that was really commendable was the Chennai crowds – who not only braved the sweltering heat, but also seemed great sports. When it comes to crowd sportsman spirit – we Chennai-ites kick partisan Mumbai’s butt!

I almost didn’t watch the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Daredevils fight it out, but somehow they kept my attention. Sachin flopped yet again, as I had expected. Uthappa came good with the bat but made up the sloppiness while fielding. Sehwag ramped up by attacking Pollock like very few batsmen can. You cannot help but ebb with pride when sehwag bats like this. Was disappointed to see him fall shortly after, but that was to be expected. Gambhir turned it on, though cautiously. Dhawan and Tiwary batted T20 style – irritatingly T20, but entertaining nonetheless. Karthik, was the pick of the batsmen – played classly, pulling it off well, especially when it was required of him and almost not expected of him. Way to go Karthik!

It will now be interesting to see Mumbai fight it out. They will most probably lose to the Rajasthan Royals and though it may seem absurd to wish, I would like to see Bangalore trounce them once again. 🙂