RCB begin their quest for maiden IPL title
The striking evening sun rays grazed through lush green outfield and it was vibrant all over the park as the Dubai staged the south indian derby against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore. All eyes were stuck onto one man – Virat Kohli – as the cricketing fraternity was eagerly waiting to see their chase master back in action after a long wait. With lockdown enforced, the indian giants had not played a game since the last six months and everyone’s form was subject to question. So it was much of a stop start experience and both teams walked in with no big expectations.
Bangalore had accumulated a top heavy batting line up and the main event of the night was Mr 360’s power packed performance. But who can deny what gem of a knock was played by the homegrown debutant, Devdutt Padikkal. Padikkal was RCB’s one of the best buys of the season after all the laurels he earned for batting solidly for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare and Syed Mustaq Ali trophy. The classy southpaw opened the innings with Aaron Finch, and boy, he was such a pleasure to watch. Such sublime touch and great power hitting, he propelled the royals through the powerplay making them comfortable in the driver seat and set up a beautiful platform for de Villiers and Virat to carry forward. It was a dream debut for Padikkal as he reached his maiden fifty in his debut game in the Dream 11 IPL 2020. With this he features with an unique record of scoring fifty in his debut First Class, List A and T20 game. He is surely an exciting prospect to watch out for in this IPL season. But soon RCB started doing what they were famous for : choking from a comfortable position. Both openers were dismissed off successive deliveries leaving the ‘Bro-mance’ partners AbD-Vk set to build up the innings again from scratch. That consumed RCB’s momentum and from 90/1 in 11 overs, they reached to 142/3 in 18 overs which was way below the standards known for the power hitting duo. They were never able to find a partnership until deVilliers decided to take it single handedly against the SRH’s death bowling compact and got them to 163/5 thereby becoming the second player after Chris Gayle to score 200 sixes in the IPL!
In response, Bairstow and Warner got off to a flying start. This pair is one to watch out for as they have amassed 751 amongst them with three 50+ partnerships and 4 century stands. After Warner getting out to an unforeseen shot from Bairstow, Manish Pandey came into the crease and anchored the chase. With due getting denser over the evening and the careful partnership between Johnny and Manish, SRH were looking well set to open their account in the league.It looked very difficult to grip and turn the ball because of which even Washy was cut short of his bowling quota.
But then came in the little spin wizard – Yuzvendra Chahal. The way he set up Pandey’s dismissal was simply exquisite by continuously bowling outside off and then got one on to middle and leg making him drag back to the stumps. He bowled a googly the very next delivery opening through the gates of Vijay Shankar and curtains for him! From then on there was no way looking back as Chahal scalped 3/18 and Saini rocked through the death overs to wrap up Sunrisers from 121/3 to 153 all out. Virat used his bowling resources quite beautifully through the middle and hopefully Saini answers the long pending question of RCB’s death bowling concern.
Although it wasn’t quite a last over thriller, the game had its ebbs and flows and kept the viewers engaged. SRH didn’t have the kind of start they expected. Their main man Marsh was out injured in the first innings and they had dropped vital opportunities of Padikkal owing to poor fielding There was a wide criticism that spread quickly as soon as Virat announced his playing 11 where there was no place for Chris Morris. After spending so much to buy him for his bowling services, Virat went to pick Josh Phillipe over Morris which was an interesting gamble on the first hand. What looked more sardonic was when Dube was promoted over Phillipe. Maybe those 8 deliveries for Phillipe could have augmented the score towards 170. However he had a forgetful time behind the stumps as the ball was not sticking to his gloves and he committed a few errors as well. When Rashid and Abhishek Sharma collided leaving Rashid agonizing on the ground, it added more salt to the wound. Good that he collected himself back and we hope that he would fire stronger in the next match. Some serious rework has to be done to strengthen their fragile middle order by bringing back Kane Williamson to bat at number 3. Overall it was a sweet start for the Royals in their quest to their maiden IPL title.