Despite their awesome win in the last game, the bowling should be a cause for concern. In both the games so far, the bowling has looked a little flat and predictable, possibly because of a lack of variety in the attack. Praveen has been dealt with, Steyn has looked listless so far, Kumble hasn’t found his groove yet, and Kallis is splitting his energies between bowling a few tight overs and leading with the bat. A look at the reserves section will reveal Appana and Sriram , both capable of bowling left-arm spin (the latter being something of an all-rounder). However, RCB might not tamper with their combination right now, and hope that primarily Steyn and Kumble find their rhythm , and the other bowlers work around them. It is imperative for Vinay Kumar to keep things tight in the middle overs. The team catches a break here, with a depleted Rajasthan team being the opposition. This might be just the game for the bowlers to settle down.
No Changes here.
Where do we begin? Your star all rounder AND your leading wicket taker from the first edition aren’t around. You let go of another all-rounder who has been very useful in recent times for India with his restrictive left-arm spin. The best leg-spinner in the history of the game and the captain has been ineffective. The only fairly successful opening bowler is out for the season with an injury. The other super-speedster has a radar worse than what I’d put together in a science project. Can Rajasthan even catch a break? Yes they can, and this is how they will.
Get Morne Morkel to replace Tait. Morkel has the speed and bounce to trouble the openers, and show Tait the direction to the bench for a couple of games ( looking at his form right now, I don’t think he’ll find that either). Botha should replace Mascarenhas. What RR lose in a bit of all-round ability, they’ll gain in variety.
Thus, Munaf and Morkel to open the bowling. Munaf will be adequate, and they don’t have other options really. Warne and Botha the spinners with Yusuf and Uniyal (I’d also try out Kamran Khan or Amit Singh instead) to take care of the remaining 4-6 overs.
There’s a bit of gamble and a bit of variety in there now. Nothing’s gone right for the RR, so why not try it out?
The last match… WOW. It was a batting strip alright, but the domination displayed by Kallis, Uthappa, and Pandey was quite incredible. Kallis’s new avatar as a T20 force to reckon with had his team-mate address him as the “Bradman of the T20 game” (what are you smoking, Robin? Pass us some of that good stuff). While it’s early days to annoint him that yet, the combination of experience, skill, and ability that Kallis brings at the helm provides RCB an immense advantage over other teams. Pandey showed glimpses of his potential , and Uthappa was all over Punjab like a diaper rash. It’s critical for Bangalore to get Dravid, Morgan and Kohli into the scheme of things .
No changes are anticipated for now.
RR has to do without Grame Smith’s towering presence. The options to replace him are Martyn and Lumb. I think Martyn might be the one taken to lend some experience/solidity the line-up and relieve some pressure off Yusuf. The absence of Watson and Jadeja really has an effect both in batting as well as bowling.
The key here is the performance of 2 players- Asnodkar and Ohja. Asnodkar had been one of RR’s better performers in the 1st edition, but this time his form has been horrific coming on top of the order. Without Smith now, he HAS to deliver. Perhaps , Martyn can open with him and guide him a little. Ohja , occupying that one-down position too needs to stay rather than attempt to swat every delivery he sees, and it might make sense to bump JJ-wala or Dogra up the order.
RCB: Kallis, Pandey, Dravid, Uthappa, Kohli, Morgan, Boucher, Praveen Kumar, Kumble, Steyn, Vinay Kumar
RR: Asnodkar, Martyn, Ohja, JJ-wala, Dogra, Botha, Yusuf, Warne, Munaf, Morkel, Uniyal
RCB bowling vs RR Batting: Slight ADVANTAGE RCB
Outside of Yusuf, there’s nobody else on that line-up who can brings anything definite to the table. Shane Watson is missing. Graeme Smith, though out of form, had the experience and if he got into the game, could have guided the younger players well. With this in mind, we will see Martyn get into the XI to play that role, to make sure others around him atleast keep a cool head. Martyn , Asnodkar/Ohja have to see out Steyn’s opening spell out (I’d imagine Kumble keeping a couple of overs for Yusuf). Warne should NOT promote Yusuf up the other, it hasn’t worked too well in the past.
RCB on the other hand would be looking to do the exact opposite. They might even hold up Steyn’s spell for the RR middle order, banking on Asnodkar’s form and Ohja’s rush of blood to cause their own downfall against Praveen , and possibly Vinay kumar. Once the middle order is in, give them a good dose of Steyn and Kumble from both ends and make them crumble.
Right now, though RCB’s bowling has been indifferent, this could be the game where their 2 big guns start firing. I love Yusuf, but he cannot be playing God every game.
RR Bowling vs RCB Batting: ADVANTAGE RCB
With Pandey and Kallis both stitching together a good partnership, Bangalore opening combo is the least of their worries ( a stark contrast from the 1st edition).
It’s their middle order of Dravid , Morgan and Kohli who are “unknown quantities ” (relatively speaking..) for now.
The 3 haven’t had an opportunity to display their wares yet, and Bangalore will be hoping for a great start from the top, so that they can promote Morgan/Dravid up the order and get them into some kind of rhythm.
On the other hand, for RR, it might be worth trying to open the bowling with Morkel on 1 end and Warne/Botha on the other to test the openers and try to account for them. Hey, Kallis has 2 good innings, surely there’s something called the law of average right?
No upsets this time, the game might be close because RR is due a good game. A couple of players and the subs step it up. RR has a better chance chasing than setting the target. But Bangalore comes away with the “W” here, leaving Warne twittering with nervousness.