Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sangakarra gets it right finally - DC knocks out RCB!

The one thing that stood out for me in today's IPL game - where a resurgent Deccan Chargers beat a shaky and nervous Royal Challengers Bangalore was that Sangakarra got it right finally. He used his strengths up front, trusted the youngsters to deliver and created pressure at the right moments. Using Steyn upfront against Gayle and Dilshan (who was looking to hold the innings together) was the key and Steyn did the trick by getting rid of both. Amit Mishra created enough pressure on an already nervous RCB batting order that is so dependent on Gayle (who scored about 30% of their runs this year apparently by getting AB de Villers out on a nervous drive and a clueless Mayank Agarwal bowled.

And when things were all under control for RCB Kohli gifted the game away by not being able to hold his nerve and his end and going for a second six of the deceptive Ashish Reddy. It was all over right then for me. Why Zaheer promoted himself up in the order is anybody;s guess but that one over finished the game completely for RCB.

I am glad RCB is out of the playoffs (though I like watching the side) because they just cannot seem to handle the pressure. If you don't have the heart for the big games you are better off knocked out at this stage. The best team to grab the playoffs place is in for me - Chennai Super Kings - and they have enough confidence and mystery and firepower and mostly the heart to knock out all the other three in the semi final lineup. With Dhoni at the helm they are more dangerous than Delhi or Kolkata or Mumbai to me and I will support that team completely in the playoffs. They have the least to lose and they will be a handful for everyone.

As for DC they were inconsistent even in today's game and if not for Duminy getting away with some big hitting, they did not even look like they would get to a 100 at one stage. But even there - something about the way the RCB bowlers gifted away runs freely (Murali, Zaheer being among the culprits) when they should have closed the game was a sign. You should never let the enemy get a sniff when they are down because if they do, you're done for. To me that one over by Murali where he went for three sixes was a sign of things to come. RCB was 'hoping' it would win and was not closing out the game. And they hoped Gayle would do it and then they hoped Dilshan would do it and then AB and then Kohli and the Agarwal until it became like a comedy when you look back and find no one except a pretty flat batting tail.

I do think DC could have gone to the playoffs if they got it right from the beginning. The use of Steyn, White as captain, using the two youngsters who impressed so much Ashish Reddy, Veer Pratap Singh and even Akshath Reddy with more trust, could have got them so much more. If Rajasthan almost did it, DC should have and easily. Anyway they will probably go back and learn and come back a better side next year.

But today it was interesting to see the young franchise owner Gayatri Reddy being crowded in by Siddharth the actor and Chamundeswaranath, the ex Ranji cricketer in the box. She was doing a fine job alone I thought!

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