25 Sep 2020

Form is temporary. KLass is Permanent!

By cricinsane

Few of the things that hasn’t changed with RCB over the last 3-4 years were their leader – Virat Kohli, the everlasting bond with AB de Villiers who had played 127 games for RCB – only next to Kieron Pollard who played 150 IPL games for MI – and finally their love for bottling and choking big in important games. This was what exactly happened when Royal Challengers Bangalore met their older version of RCB in the form of Kings XI Punjab at Dubai in the 6th game of the Dream11 IPL 2020. Upon seeing the ex players of RCB who are now rejuvenated with the new franchise and found their fortunes there, RCB clearly would have clearly felt emotions similar to meeting their long lost ex-girlfriend who was successful in her life, but still the famous ones here are going behind the notion “Cup Namade”! RCB’s market spending and tactical plan out this year was similar to that of every other year, but what turned surprising was their start to IPL 2020. It would have been no wonder if Virat and boys had chased down a target to clinch their maiden victory, but rather they batted first and defended their total successfully. This was indeed refreshing to see and increased the expectations for the audience. With the same confidence Virat won the toss and elected to field first. But he didn’t expect his ex-team mates would cause a turmoil against him.

Kings started positively with Mayank Agarwal carrying his blistering form from the last game and Rahul pushed through the steaming pace of Steyn and Saini to see through a formidable start at the end of powerplay. However, partners at the other end were just needed to rotate singles and see through overs as Rahul single handedly hammered the Royal bowling attack. With his swashbuckling innings, Rahul became the first person to open the list of centurions in this edition of IPL scoring a whooping 132 off just 69 balls. He was the center stage performer in the complete innings. He paced up the innings so beautifully that there was never a moment where he tried for unnecessary glory shots or tried to increase the pace of the game. He understood the situation pretty well and capitulated on his strength. Chahal was again the stand out bowler for RCB as he bowled very economically picking the important wicket of Agarwal. Kings ensured that they defended the grandmaster’s overs carefully. Shivam Dube showed great character as he came towards the later end of the innings picking up some important scalps as well. His uncanny slow bowling made the Punjab batsman drag the ball more to make it sail through the fence, failing to do which had seen the ball ending up in the hands of RCB fielders. Apart from these 2 players, none of the other bowlers had a proper day out! Besides, Virat committed back to back horrendous errors by dropping KL Rahul twice when he was batting in the 80s. Lord Umesh also seemed to permanently remain the Hall of Fame of spraying his deliveries all over the pitch. Similar to the first game, he never had control in his deliveries. When Virat set up a field with slip, short cover and an iron offside ring, Umesh bowled deliveries angling down the pad which was so easy for Rahul to glide through third man. Such standards are not completely expected from him and if he doesn’t learn from his mistakes and experience, it would be soon coming to see him warm the benches. None of the other bowlers had a plan to disrupt the partnership the Kings were building. Steyn was just below par and his pace is no more a threat to any opposition. The old gun needs to oil up his canon. With Morris being sidelined because of injury, RCB now look optionless and still have their death bowling issues unaddressed.

Fans would have hoped that through the innings break, Virat and ABD would have devised a strategy to chase down the target. But what followed that was a complete chaos. It looked like more of a plan to surrender the game after the first innings mauling as the top 3 strikers of RCB batting lineup were sent back to the dugout within the 3rd over when the scorecard read 4/3. What was even the hurry to hole up too quickly? Padikkal was trying to replicate his last game heroics but he failed to anticipate the pace and swing of Shami and Sheldon Cottrell. The demigod Shami was in the form of his lifetime when he bowled a ripper of a yorker to dismiss Josh Phillipe. Only he knew from where that sharply swung and struck the batsman’s pads. His wrist position was so still and the seam movement was pristing. The ball never wobbled and it was pouched cleanly by Rahul. As the greats of cricket say, Shami is arguably one of the current best white ball bowlers in the world. From the other end, the military man took the priced scalp of Virat Kohli and did his royal salute. Virat too had a bad day in the office. Finch and ABD tried to throw some lifeboats and save the sinking ship, but that didn’t last long as teenager Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin spun webs for their downfall. They didn’t look like resurrecting there after and lost by a mammoth score of 97 runs. Consistency has never been keen with RCB as they either go big and glorious or get slaughtered completely. 

Punjab really look like the dark horses of the season and if they carry their momentum and form, they can surely make it to the playoffs. Although their Indian players are stepping up when needed the most, their overseas players have flopped consistently. Much was expected from Maxwell and Pooran and both did not contribute significantly to the game. With Chris Gayle pumped up and sitting in the dugout ready, it would soon not be surprising to see one of these two give way for the Universe boss if they do not grab the opportunity. In a match that was one sidedly won, some records came tumbling down with Rahul’s mighty hundred.

  1. Rahul joined as the sixth member of the elite club of captains who had scored centuries.

Highest individual scores by captains in IPL:

132* – KL RAHUL today

126 – Warner, 2017

119 – Sehwag, 2011

113 – Kohli, 2016

109 – Kohli, 2016

108* – Kohli, 2016

  1. Rahul became the fastest Indian batsman to score 2000 runs in the IPL beating the eight year old record held by the Little Master.
  2. Rahul’s knock of 132 became the highest individual score by an Indian Player in the IPL history.

Gayle – 175* vs PWI, 2013

McCullum – 158* vs KKR, 2008

ABD – 133* vs GL, 2016

KL Rahul – 132* vs RCB, 2020

  1. RCB were yet again hammered single handedly where one batsman outscored the team’s total. Previously it was big JohnnyB who did that assault.

Finally, it’s never easy to part a farewell goodbye to one of the eminent personalities of the game who served for the sport till his last moments – Dean Jones. Who would have expected seeing him the day before on the channels where he was hosting the show and commentating on KKR vs MI match only to see his remains the next day. Dean was a daredevil when he played for Australia. The number of match winning knocks he played at number 3 for Australia is uncountable and the command he had on pitch was simply immaculate. His second innings began with a blooming bang in his commentary spell soon becoming a favorite commentator amongst every cricket fan. You would be missed deeply ProfessorDeano! May your soul RIP!