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IPL Final 2013 – An interesting fact

Well, IPL 2013 has come to an end. It was all over after CSK were unable to score the required total of 149, giving the Mumbai Indians their first IPL cup – something that has evaded them for six years. This win also made them the second team to win both an IPL and a CLT20 (need I say who got it first?). After watching the men from Maharashtra seal this feat, it reminded me of another such clinical performance they put up in the Champions League final. They were very similar circumstances, you see; both times they were up against the wall; without key players, up against a team that was playing at the top of it’s form. So here are some similarities between that night back in 2011, and the game on 26th May 2013:

 

  • Sachin Tendulkar was injured both times.
  • It was not MI’s first-choice captain who was leading the side (Rohit this year; Harbhajan in 2011).
  • Both times MI won the toss; and elected to bat.
  • Both times MI’s Indian opener was bowled by the second bowler (Tare was bowled by A Morkel vs CSK; Kanwar was bowled by Nannes vs RCB).
  • The other team was fresh off scoring a giant total (CSK had just scored 192 vs MI; RCB had just scored 204 vs NSW).
  • MI were restricted to around 140 in both matches (148-9 vs CSK; 139-10 vs RCB).
  • It was the efforts of an all-rounder who scored 40+ that got them to a par score (60* by Pollard vs CSK; 41 by Franklin vs RCB)
  • Lasith Malinga was asked to bowl at an unexpected time, and picked up a crucial wicket (M Hussey vs CSK; TM Dilshan vs RCB).
  • Only one opposing batsmen scored fluently (Dhoni hit 63* in 45 for CSK; Dilshan scored 27 in 20 for RCB).
  • Only 3 other opposing batsmen scored double-digits (Vijay 18, Bravo 15 and Morkel 10 for CSK; Kohli 11, Agarwal 14 and Tiwari 18 for RCB).
  • Both teams lost by an unexpectedly large margin (CSK lost by 23 runs; RCB lost by 31 runs).

 

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Pune Warriors India – The Sunken Ship

The Pune Warriors India have been very poor this IPL. Very poor indeed. They’ve managed only 2 wins in their 10 games, and now they are pretty much out of the tournament. It’s really remarkable how such a team could end up in such a situation. They are team adorned with all-rounders like Yuvraj Singh, Angelo Matthews, Mitchell Marsh, Marlon Samuels, and Luke Wright, and batsmen like Ross Taylor, Aaron Finch, Robin Uthappa, and Steve Smith. They are also joined with bowlers like Rahul Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajantha Mendis, and Kane Richardson. Many teams would pay and arm and a leg to get one of these players, let alone all of them. Still, Pune have failed to click as a unit. They need to find the right combos here. Their home ground, the Subrata Roy Stadium in Pune is very similar to Eden Gardens, which is home to the Kolkata Knight Riders. It gets slower as the game goes on, and spinners will find good purchase here. So Pune need to find the right combination now. I think that it’s time for Yuvraj Singh to step up and bowl. Due to their “almost nothing to lose” situation, they can safely leave out Ashok Dinda for Parvez Rasool, the J&K offie. Another thing they could do is leave out Kane Richardson for Ajantha Mendis. This will give them the kind of combination that the Kolkata Knight Riders had last year, and which worked so well on their home track.

The other big thing the Warriors seem to be missing is a good captain. Angelo Matthews – as we’ve seen – was a flop as both leader and player. Only Ross Taylor seemed pretty good as  a captain, but his poor form caused him to be dropped from the side. Aaron Finch hasn’t been amazing as a captain, and I think Pune should try either Yuvi or Smith as captain. Yuvraj has been very mediocre as a player, but Smith has been one of Pune’s sole bright spots. Trying either of them won’t hurt, as they really need to try for a good combination now.

PWI Should-be Squad:

Aaron Finch

Robin Uthappa

Luke Wright

Yuvraj Singh (potential captain)

Steve Smith (potential captain)

T Suman

Abhisheik Nayar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Rahul Sharma

Ajantha Mendis

Parvez Rasool

 

 

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Royal Challengers Bangalore – The Juggernaut in Jeopardy

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have been the most dominating side this IPL. Virat Kohli has been good in his captaincy, fielding, and batting, whereas Chris Gayle has taken the opposition apart, and their fast bowling attack – comprised of Vinay Kumar, RP Singh and Ravi Rampaul – has been pretty consistent. As I have said before, RCB definitely did their homework in the auctions. They brought in 4 fast bowlers (3 of them being Indian), and 3 all rounders, which had been what they were missing last year. Out of them, Ravi Rampaul has been the most successful. You see, what RCB lacked through this time, was that dominant fast bowler, who you can trust to take wickets and trouble the batsmen with the new ball. Deccan had Dale Steyn, Mumbai has Lasith Malinga, and Delhi has Morne Morkel. RCB had Zaheer Khan, but he wasn’t the threatening bowler that RCB needed. Although he was decently economic, batsmen didn’t have too much trouble facing him. Rampaul has done well here. He nips the new ball around and asks questions to the batsmen. He also takes wickets early, and gives RCB that early edge. Their other bowlers have also been dominant, particularly Vinay Kumar, who has put the slower deliveries and short balls to good use, in addition to his toe crushing yorker. After being replenished of his duty as a second spearhead, Vinay seems be in good wicket-taking form, as he now shares a joint 3rd place on the Purple Cap standings with Amit Mishra (but has a worse econimy rate). RP Singh has done reasonably well with the new ball, but has been expensive in the death, as shown in various encounters. However, he has taken wickets, and is now 8th on the standings.

Now onto RCB’s batting. Gaylestorm. Not much else to say here. Chris Gayle has utterly dominated the bowlers, as he has struck 450 runs already, with a strike rate of 164.23 and an average of 90. His dominance has given RCB that slight psychological edge over the fielding side, no matter what total. His 175 not out against Pune will not be forgotten very soon, and is just as far from being beaten. Gayle has been assisted very ably by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, who have also enjoyed good form for most of RCB’s games.

Their problems are very simple. They don’t have a balance in their side. Their lack of dominant Indian batsmen has forced them to pull in 3 overseas batsmen, leaving their middle order very vulnerable indeed. Also, to accommodate all their bowlers, they are forced to play the 5-1-5 distribution, with 5 bats, a keeper, and another 5 bowlers. Of course some of their bowlers can bat, as Vinay Kumar and Ravi Rampaul demonstrated last game. However, their balance still isn’t good. Out of their 5 bowlers, if even one goes for runs, RCB will have problems. Either Gayle or Kohli will have to bowl. Neither of these are particularly good options. Another concern they will have is the scratchy form of Tillakaratne Dilshan. The 195-run chase at Mumbai was very doable, with Chris Gayle on one end. The only thing would be to play out the swinging new ball, and take on the bowlers in the middle overs. Here, Dilshan was trying to hit every ball sent his way by Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga, and hit like 2 of them. His shot selection was rash, and he failed to make contact with much. So excruciating was his innings, that it was relief to see him perish to the more inexperienced Dhawal Kulkarni. This match also revealed a chink in RCB’s armor as neither Saurabh Tiwari nor Arun Karthik – who made up RCB’s middle order – put up many runs. It was Rampaul and Vinay who stitched together a 50 run stand in 36 balls to help RCB avoid the potential humiliation of losing by a hundred runs. Their rotation of the strike was an example of what RCB should have done in the initial overs.

Here’s what RCB should do for their game against RR. They must bench Dilshan, and bring in Sunny Sohal, the opener. Then, they must bring in Moises Henriques ahead of one of their bowlers, maybe RP Singh. Another interesting move they could employ against RR would be to bring Pankaj Singh. He would know the Rajasthan track well, having played for them last year. Playing him against Mumbai would have also been successful, as the Mumbai track had a lot of bounce in it, and Pankaj can bring out a deadly bouncer.

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Will the Sun Rise in Chennai?

Who will the Sunrisers play?

Phew. What an IPL we’ve been having so far. Two hat-tricks, two 200+ scores (one of them being the highest T20 score ever), two individual hundreds, and so much more. Today we have a very interesting clash. The Chennai Super Kings take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Now you may ask, what’s so important about this game? It’s just another Chennai vs Hyderabad game. To that, I say that this match is very important because of two reasons. One, because it’s in Chennai, which means that there are no Sri Lanka players, which means that there is no Thisara Perera or Kumar Sangakkara. This gives a chance to Darren Sammy and Nathan McCullum, or both, if they take into account Quinton de Kock’s poor performances. Two, Shikhar Dhawan will return to play for SRH. He was most unfortunately injured after his sensational Test debut against Australia, where he scored a massive 187 in just 174. His return will be crucial for the Sunrisers, owing to the fact that they’ve struggled with batting form throughout the tournament. Another interesting thing will be to see Darren Sammy made his debut. Sammy captained West Indies to a fabulous T20 World Cup win, and might well be asked to do so today. Also, Sammy’s fast bowling will supplement to the spearhead of Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma. Another good player who should get a game today is Nathan McCullum. He is most likely to play, provided Quinton de Kock is left out. de Kock’s form has been poor. Now if Dhawan arrives, then there will be no need for de Kock to be in the side. McCullum will be preferred over Clint McKay or Juan Theron, owing to the fact that there are already three strong pacers in the team. McCullum could also prove to be a valuable player to bowl in tangent with Amit Mishra, and will help a lot against the CSK batting lineup, and also he could help provide some depth in the batting lineup. So let’s see what the Sunrisers do. If I could, I would pick this XI:

 

Shikhar Dhawan

Parthiv Patel (wk)

Cameron White (c)

Hanuma Vihari

Biplap Samantary

Darren Sammy

Nathan McCullum

Ashish Reddy

Amit Mishra

Dale Steyn

Ishant Sharma

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Jaydev Unadkat – An interesting find

So far, IPL 2013 has appeared to be a little more of a bowler’s game rather than a batsman’s. Most of the games have been low-scoring thrillers rather than than the high-scoring run-fests. Amongst this, many bowlers have come to light. Jaydev Unadkat is one such bowler. Even though Indian players are expected to go for high prices, RCB picked up Unadkat at a surprisingly high $525,000, which was higher than the salaries of RP Singh and Ravi Rampaul, two of RCB’s other fast-bowling buys, who have far better stats than Unadkat. Even more eyebrows were raised when the young lad was picked in RCB’s first playing XI ahead of RP. He was trusted with an enormous responsibility when captain Virat Kohli tossed him the ball first up with the deadly duo of Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar at the crease (for the first time ever), and only 156 to defend on the high-scoring track of M.Chinnaswami. However, the young man proved his worth as he gave just 9 in his first 2, scored a brilliant throw that ran out Tendulkar, and bowled a crucial 7-run 19th over despite a rampaging Dinesh Karthik at the crease and just 17 needed in 12. He finished with 4-0-24-0, when even Muttiah Muralitharan went for 30 in his 4. RCB went on to win the game by 2 runs. Unadkat gave 24 in 4 again, but this time with the wickets of the clinical Kumar Sangakkara and the devastating Thisara Perera. Unfortunately, RCB lost that game in the super over. After that game, RP Singh was brought in and hence – even though he was in the playing XI – Unadkat was not needed as a spearhead. He continued to be economic though, with the odd wicket. The interesting thing about Unadkat is that he never went too expensive, with his worst economy rate for a match being 8.50 against (ironically) his old team, KKR. Even though Vinay Kumar and RP Singh – two of RCB’s best pacers on paper – had some bad days, the left arm seamer has kept things tidy, and taken wickets whenever he could. Only Sreenath Aravind’s dreamlike show was a better show, but Aravind was taken apart in CLT20 2011 and went for 48 in 3 overs in his one IPL game in 2012. After Harshal Patel, Prasanth Parameshwaran, Raju Bhatkal and Abhimanyu Mithun were all tried and rejected, Unadkat has been something of a revelation to RCB, who have struggled to find an economic 5th bowler. Unadkat appears to be in good touch now, and will definitely be someone the Indian selectors want to consider.

Jaydev Unadkat

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IPL – Some General Thoughts

Bonjour mes amis,

I hope you’re doing well. Well, the IPL has been going in full flurry, with some scintillating knocks and nervy bowling that takes teams across the line. I find that IPL really is a good platform for the youth of India to make their mark, and play under some of the greatest players ever, Indian and overseas alike. Many people have criticized the IPL saying that it ‘undermines their sides’ and stuff like that. However, saying IPL is the reason your players are suffering in international cricket is like saying that the reason for you’re son’s failure in school is the fact that you send him for tutoring. Yes, there is the injury factor, but there is so much other exposure that the players receive. Like if your players are struggling on Indian soil, who better to learn from than the Indian players themselves? Like I said before, playing IPL gives you first-hand relationship with people like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and MS Dhoni, who know Indian tracks like the back of their hand, or people like Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, and Kumar Sangakkara who have had so much exposure to Indian tracks, and can provide you with new insights on how to put your strengths to maximum effect. Also, you get loads of cash. For example, you can get about $700,000 if you’re a good all-rounder in form, while the South African cricket team won $450,000 for being the number one test team. That’s the other bonus. Amazing isn’t it?

 

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IPL and KKR

Hey everyone, sorry I’ve not been kind of busy off-late. Well here’s a post now. The IPL has been going on extremely well, with so many close clashes, including one super over, a 200+ score, and two 90+ scores already. The Orange and Purple Caps have been fought for and switched repeatedly, and we’ve been treated to some first class entertainment by our brilliant teams and players – Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, and Dinesh Karthik in particular. So now I wanted to talk about one team in particular: The Kolkata Knight Riders. Other than their first game, their combinations went horrible wrong, as they lost to Rajasthan and Bangalore in 2 consecutive games. However, they found their IPL 5 form against the Sunrisers, as their batting lineup fired well for the first time, and their bowling worked like it had last year. Sachithra Senanayake has taken Shakib Al Hasan’s place as a second spinner, and Eoin Morgan’s good form has ensured that he and Manvinder Bisla stayed ahead of Brendon McCullum or Brad Haddin. Their biggest worry should be Yusuf Pathan’s mediocre form. He has scored 48 runs at a strike rate of 126.31, which is not to bad, but for the $2.1 million he was purchased for, he may want to get some runs quickly. If their players can regain some of their form, then they can definitely be the “next CSK” as they plan to be. Well, thats all for now. Adios 🙂

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New era of Hyderabad to Dawn upon Pune

The Deccan Chargers had one hell of a season last year. Everything from their team’s decisions down to their fielding was terrible. They knew that Ishant Sharma would not play IPL 5. Still, they traded Praghyan Ojha to MI, and spent their auction buying batsmen like Parthiv Patel and Darren Bravo when they should have picked up players like James Anderson and Vernon Philander. So not unexpectedly, they ended up having to put faith in their domestic bowlers, and these players were taken apart. Also, during the time period where Steyn was out with injury, the Chargers suffered some of their worst defeats. That was just their bowling. Their batting was very unpredictable, with only Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White firing consistently. Other than that, their fielding was terrible. So the DC fans – who (unlike the poor Kochi fans) still get to see a Hyderabad franchise – will want the Sunrisers to do something to consolidate for the Chargers’ poor show. I think that they will get what they are wishing for, and even if SRH doesn’t win the IPL, they will definitely do better than DC did. With new players like Darren Sammy, Nathan McCullum, Quinton de Kock, and Thisara Perera in their ranks, SRH look a really strong side. Ishant, who is back to fitness, will pair with Steyn to form the spearhead of SRH’s attack. Parthiv Patel should team up with de Kock to open the innings, and spots 3 and 4 will be taken by Sanga and White. The middle order will be filled by Bharat Chipli, Abhisheik Jhunjhunwala, and Ashish Reddy. Amit Mishra and Ankit Sharma can work together to spin the ball. The only players missing from SRH now are Shikhar Dhawan, who is recovering from an injury he sustained against Australia in a test, and JP Duminy, who is still recovering from an injury he picked up when his side was (ironically) touring Australia. Though Shikhar will play after about 2 weeks, Duminy will not play the entire season. I don’t know why SRH bothered to retain Duminy, as next year is team reformation year anyway.

SRH POTENTIAL XI

Quinton de Kock (wk)

Parthiv Patel

Kumar Sangakkara (c)

Cameron White

Bharat Chipli

Abhisheik Jhunjhunwala

Ashish Reddy

Amit Mishra

Dale Steyn

Ishant Sharma

Ankit Sharma

 

Well, after that long article, we move down to PWI. Pune have been just as unsuccessful as DC had been, if not worse. So in this auction, they made some major reforms. They pulled in players like Ajantha Mendis, Abhisheik Nayar, and Kane Richardson. So now they probably have too many options here. They have players like Wayne Parnell, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh and Marlon Samuels out there as well. This will really be a mind boggler for the selectors. But here’s what I think: Let Finch and Manish Pandey open, and Yuvraj, Uthappa, captain Matthews, Ross Taylor and Nayar watch the middle order. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has already spearheaded India in all 3 formats, should join with Marsh to spearhead, and let Mendis and Rahul Sharma take care of the spin. This frees up one extra space, which should go to Ishwar Pandey. Their only injury is Micheal Clarke, who will not play the tournament due to injuries he procured while touring India.

 

PWI POTENTIAL XI

Aaron Finch

Manish Pandey

Robin Uthappa (wk)

Yuvraj Singh

Ross Taylor

Angelo Matthews (c)

Abhisheik Nayar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Rahul Sharma

Ajantha Mendis

Ishwar Pandey

 

 

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Gayle, Vinay thwart MI

Yesterday evening the Royal Challengers Bangalore won one of the narrowest wins ever against the visiting Mumbai Indians. This also ended MI’s record of never being beaten by the home side here at Bengaluru. Observing the grass on the track, Ricky Ponting decided to give his pacers a chance to use the conditions by bowling first. Although RCB would have had some relief at the fact that Lasith Malinga wasn’t playing, his replacement Mitchell Johnson’s angle from left-arm over the wicket was very hard to score of for the RCB openers. In his second over, Johnson castled Tillakaratne Dilshan with a fuller delivery, and sent the off-stump out of the ground. Captain Virat Kohli showed flashes of aggression by taking on Johnson and Munaf Patel. Then he hit debutant Jasprit Bumrah for 3 boundaries in 4 balls before getting lbw on the 5th. Mayank Agarwal – who was batting at number 4 in the absence of AB de Villiers – perished shortly after, again to Bumrah. Chris Gayle then used Daniel Christan’s solidity at the other end to go for his shots. Although Christian fell to Harbhajan for 4 later on, the fact that he had stayed there gave Gayle the momentum he needed. Although domestic hero Karun Nair fell to Bumrah for a duck later, Gayle teamed up with Arun Karthik (19 of 19) to take RCB to a defendable 156. Just to demonstrate how Gayle’s aggression in the middle and death overs piled, consider this: he was at 21 of 20 at one stage, and finished at 92 of 58. Gayle went particularly severe on Munaf Patel, converting his figures from 0/8 in 2 all the way to 0/40 in 4. Many people had raised their eyebrows at the selection of the bowling attack, in which Jaydev Unadkat had been played ahead of RP Singh. Even more eyebrows were raised as he came in to bowl the opening over to the opening pair we have all been waiting to see since the auctions in Feb: Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. Although the RCB bowlers were not outrageously expensive, Sachin and Punter were still scoring with little difficulty, and brought up a 50-run stand in 7.1 overs. However, some sharp fielding by Unadkat resulted in Sachin’s run out 2 balls later. RCB then forced their way back into the game as Murali Karthik had Punter stumped about 2 overs later, and Vinay Kumar dismissed Rohit Sharma for the 3rd time in their last 3 meetings. However, Dinesh Karthik didn’t give up so easily. He took Christian for 24 in one over, and his efforts made sure that MI needed just 10 of the last over. However, Vinay Kumar bowled the best death-over of his life. First Ambati Rayudu sneaked a bye. Then Karthik perished attempting to clear the stands again, then Vinay clattered Rayudu, who was on strike because they had run in KArthik’s dismissal. Bhajji took a single, and Pollard struck a boundry that was almost a six. Then, VK – with 4 to defend – bowled a beautiful yorker that Pollard could only dig out for a single. It was heartbreak for all the MI players – particularly Dinesh Karthik – as they had come so close, but failed to pull it off. Ironic, as MI have given so many other teams this heartbreak in the past. Chris Gayle was adjudged Man of the Match for his match-winning knock, although Vinay Kumar was very much in contention. Well, now we will progress on to Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Pune Warriors India, which is yet another interesting game. Check back for the preview in about half an hour. See ya!

Ricky Ponting failed to make it large on his debut as an IPL captain

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MI vs RCB – What to expect.

We saw a great game of cricket in the first game, and now the second game is hours away. This one, however, promises to be an even more interesting competition. The Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on the Mumbai Indians in Bengaluru. In the auctions, RCB were the most active team, with 7 buys: left arm pacer RP Singh, Windies Ravi Rampaul and Chris Barnwell, All rounders Moises Henriques and Daniel Christian, and Indian pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Pankaj Singh. MI were almost just as noisy with 5 players. Their buys were captain Ricky Ponting, million-dollar baby Glenn Maxwell, Jacob Phil Hughes, and all rounders Oram, and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Now on the teams. Mumbai have changed their captain now to Ricky Ponting, and also brought him in as yet another potential opening partner for Sachin Tendulkar. This is something MI has really struggled with in the last 3 years. Davy Jacobs, James Franklin, Rajagopal Sathish, Aiden Blizzard, Herschelle Gibbs, and Richard Levi have all been tried, and discarded. If Ponting fires with Sachin, MI have very little to worry about in the batting department. In the bowling, Lasith Malinga is injured, and will not play this first game. This means that Mitchell Johnson now has a very good shot at an IPL debut. Johnson was not very special in the one and only test he played in the Border-Gavasker trophy, but still can be very effective as a bowler. He can also bat a fair bit, so it gives the MI lineup more depth. So Ponting and Johnson have now filled up 2 of the 4 overseas spots. Kieron Pollard will definitely get the third. The fourth will most likely go to Glenn Maxwell. Not because of his awe-striking form, but because of his $1 million price tag. Spots 3 and 4 will go to Rohit Sharma and keeper Dinesh Karthik. 5 will go to Ambati Rayudu. Munaf Patel will combine with Johnson to spearhead, while Harbhajan Singh and Praghyan Ojha will slow the ball.

MI POTENTIAL SQUAD:

Ricky Ponting (c)

Sachin Tendulkar

Rohit Sharma

Dinesh Karthik (wk)

Ambati Rayudu

Kieron Pollard

Glenn Maxwell

Mitchell Johnson

Harbhajan Singh

Praghyan Ojha

Munaf Patel

 

RCB have really done their homework this auction. They have brought in lots of bowling reserves, and two all rounders. On paper, they have a tremendous side. However, they don’t have a full strength side either. AB de Villiers is in South Africa playing for the Titans, and Zaheer Khan is recovering from a hamstring injury. This means that Arun Karthik will have to keep wickets. It also gives RP Singh the responsibility of spearheading the attack. Chris Gayle and TM Dilshan will make two of the 4 overseas players for RCB. Dilshan has been in the form of his life off late, while Gayle simply cannot be left out of any side. the third will probably go to Muttiah Muralitharan. The fourth will be fought for between the 3 Ozzie all rounders Christian, Henriques and Andrew McDonald, and also Ravi Rampaul. However, my preference would be McD, as the middle order is inexperienced, and a strong batsman is needed there. Also, McD was very succesful for RCB with the ball. If everything goes this way, RCB will have a better balance in the middle. Another thing is that Cheteshwar Pujara should bat up at number 3, as he has looked very good up there for India in tests, and Kohli is an equally flamboyant player at number 4. RP will be joined by McD and Vinay Kumar as they spearhead the attack while Murali will combine with Murali Karthik – who was recruited by RCB outside the auction – to slow down the ball. Saurabh Tiwari  – who is in a desperate need of some runs – will play at 6 while Karthik will play at 7.

 

RCB POTENTIAL SQUAD:

Chris Gayle

TM Dilshan

Cheteshwar Pujara

Virat Kohli (c)

Andrew McDonald

Saurabh Tiwari

Arun Karthik (wk)

Vinay Kumar

RP Singh

Murali Karthik

Muttiah Muralitharan

 

CLASHES TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Mitchell Johnson vs Tillakaratne Dilshan: Dilshan is one of those guys who likes to start playing his shots from ball one, but has had trouble with left-arm seamers. Ponting will definitely be relieved if Mitch can send Dilshan back early.

Chris Gayle vs Munaf Patel: Out of the 3 times MI have got Gayle out, two of them have been to the courtesy of Munaf Patel. So if Munaf can remove Gayle early, we’re in for something.

Muttiah Muralitharan vs Sachin Tendulkar:

Two legends playing against each other. If Murali can outfox Sachin and expose the middle order, game on.

RP Singh vs Ricky Ponting: RP was purchased by RCB with the hope that he can bring them some early wickets, and some good death bowling. If RP can take out the Mumbai skipper, the Challengers would definitely breathe easier.

Gayle and Virat hold the key for RCB
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