Royal Challengers v NSW, 1st semi-final, CLT20, Bangalore October 6, 2011

Warner, Watson the major threats - Vettori


Royal Challengers Bangalore have been one of the most consistent IPL teams over the past three seasons. They are the only team to have reached the Champions League T20 every year so far, reached the finals of the IPL twice, but still have no trophy to show for their efforts. Their captain Daniel Vettori said he hoped the incredible last-ball win over South Australia which helped the Royal Challengers squeak into the semi-finals would be just the boost the team needed to land their first title.

"I think everyone was pretty exhilarated after the game [against South Australia], there was a lot of excitement within the dressing room," Vettori said a day before their semi-final against New South Wales. "RCB has come so close to a title for a number of years now, we're sort of hoping that after a game like that yesterday, we will continue that form and go on and achieve the big one."

The win provided even more of a lift since it was achieved with only a bit-part role from their perennial match-winner Chris Gayle. "It was Virat [Kohli] and [Tillakaratne] Dilshan who did the majority of the work," Vettori said. "I know Chris has been amazing for us, but to see two other guys step up, their partnership was just incredible, and then little cameos all the way along, it was a real team effort. I think that's the thing that probably brings the most confidence to the side."

One thing that has been a downer for Royal Challengers is their fielding, with catches going down in every match. "I think our ground fielding is getting a little better, but it's the catching that people remember, and unfortunately that has let us down. All we can do is work hard on it and keep talking to the guys about trying to relax and improve on what they have done because there is no point getting tough on anyone because that will make them more nervous."

Vettori's team's main challenge in the semi-final will be to keep New South Wales' big-hitting opening pair of Shane Watson and David Warner quiet. "They are crucial to NSW's success. We saw what Warner did in the last game and everyone is aware of how good Watson is, so they will probably be our main focus going into the game. We will try to work out ways of getting into that middle order who are still very experienced and very good, but not as destructive as their two top guys."

New South Wales captain Simon Katich was satisfied with the performance of his middle-order. "We got tested against Mumbai when we were 28 for 5," Katich said. "The boys had a good partnership there and put on 70 in tough conditions against a very good attack." The track at the Chinnaswamy has generally favoured the chasing side, but the range of scores have varied widely - Trinidad & Tobago nearly defended 98, while South Australia couldn't win despite posting 214. Katich said the key in Twenty20 was being flexible in the sort of total the team was looking to put up. "I think we saw that in Chennai the other night when David Warner batted the way he did," Katich said. "I don't think anyone expected to get 200 on the board given the way the wicket had been throughout the tournament. Just goes to show that you can't have a preconceived idea of what a good total is. There's no point planning to go and get 140 if the wicket might end up being better than that. You just don't know until you get out there and play on it."

New South Wales haven't played in Bangalore in this tournament, while the Royal Challengers have plenty of experience of the Chinnaswamy deck, but Katich hoped that wouldn't have much of impact in the semi-final. "There's nothing we can do about that. We've played all our games in Chennai. It's part of the draw. We knew that and we're just going to have to deal with it."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nahim on October 7, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    will any pakistani players be playing in ipl 2012???players like Afridi,Razzaq,Ajmal,Imran Nazir,K.Akmal,U.Akmal,S.Malik,U.Gul????i think its only fair that they do...what do the rest of you think????

  • nahim on October 7, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    this should be a crackerjack of a game...the hardest hitters in the game will be on show here.i've got a sneaky feeling that Watson will come to the party tonight!!!i just hope that the weather stays fine and we get the full 40 overs in.ive got a £300 bet on this game that there will be over 14.5 sixes in the whole game at odds of 13/8....i just hope that the big boys come to the party,and if i do get stuck,im sure that Arun Kartikh will help me out on the last ball!!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    If Gayle fires then RCB will win

  • grace on October 7, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    What happens in case the match is rained off today? looks very gloomy here in Bengaluru.

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2011, 10:27 GMT

    Both the teams have equal chance..... So called best Teams are out of the tournament.... I wish Its RCB vs MI in Finals!

  • Allen on October 7, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    What a match we have on our hands here, with the lights of the most destructive openers in world cricket up against each other ( Dilshan, Gayle) vs (Watson , Warner).What more can you ask for in a semi-final. One thing is for sure though the first 6 overs of both sides batting would be a real threat to watch. But concerning who the winning team would be, i would have to go with the Royal Challengers as they are on a role, due to the fact that the Challengers have played on this ground plenty of times and also chased down a target 215, where as the New South Wales have never played in Banglore leading up to this match, in this years Champions Trophy.

  • Marcio on October 7, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Will be interesting. Just one thing I have long noted in many forms of sport. When a team has a last second miracle win, they almost always lose the next game. I think this has something to do with the psychology of it; expecting things to just fall into place as if on script.

    By the way, wasn't it Watson who ran out Warner in the T20 world cup final a couple of years ago? Anyway luck is a huge part of T20. In that game Warner was run out right away, Watson was out off a ricochet catch - one slip to another, then Haddin was given out caught off his hip when it went nowhere near the bat. Bang, bang, bang, 3 down for eight runs! AUS never recovered, and they were by far the form team of the comp up till that point. Just goes to show, nothing is guaranteed in these games.

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    today is watoo day bang has just three batsmen and watoo is enough for bat and ball.

  • Anver on October 7, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    WOW !!!! Its gonna be a "BANG BANG" show all the way in "BANG"alore......with all the hard hitters in this match & small ground we can expect a real run feast today!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    When we got two of the best teams playing on best T20 PITCH in India, how many does care about the other Semi Final between Somerset and Mumbai Internationals ? Really this is be the biggest and most anticipated game of the CLT20 and infact IPL as well. I wish we will get another game like the one on Wednesday and hoping to see all the openers Warner, Watson, Gayle & Dilshan to fire today. We will not see any crowd in Chennai for 2nd semi final and even Final, but today the stadium will be......... SO ENJOY THIS GAME FRIENDS.

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