Bangalore v Rajasthan, IPL 2010, Rajasthan March 18, 2010

Bangalore bounces Rajasthan into submission

Bangalore's facile thumping of Rajasthan had a crucial sub-text to it - the perfect bouncer and the amount of strife it continued to cause Indian batsmen. Anil Kumble had a seasoned and varied seam-attack at his disposal and they repeatedly let Rajasthan get a good sniff of leather. As Bangalore continue to rise in confidence on the back of two home victories, the other franchises will do well to prepare for the impending bouncer-barrage.

Tip against Yusuf - push him back

Shane Warne can hype it all he wants but Yusuf Pathan's devilishly entertaining hundred against Mumbai lacked the stamp of class. Amazingly, under the captaincy of Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai bowlers didn't bowl even one bouncer to Yusuf. Not one. It was bizarre. Surely, by now, everyone knows if there is any chink in Yusuf's armour, it's the ball at his chin. There was a slow bouncer from Lasith Malinga and despite Yusuf struggling against that one, there weren't any more. Yusuf wasn't so lucky tonight - Anil Kumble was not as generous as Tendulkar.

And boy did Kumble's boys pepper him with bouncers or what? Time and again Yousuf was ready on that front foot, ready to swing his club through the line but the white ball flew past his face. It wasn't just the pacy Dale Steyn or the bumper-hungry Jacques Kallis but even Vinay Kumar managed to crash-land one on his helmet.

Where Yusuf redeemed himself was that he didn't let even one full delivery go unpunished. In that respect, his mental fortitude has to be lauded. Vinay was dispatched twice over long-on and even Steyn was crashed once to the cover boundary. He doesn't have the horizontal-bat shots to score against the short deliveries and though he tried couple of upper cuts, he couldn't connect today. It will be a fascinating to watch how he copes with this line of attack in the future. In trying to tackle the short ones by perhaps retreating further inside his crease, will his imperious front-foot play be impeded? Shane Warne put up a brave front when he was asked. "If other teams want to try it against Yusuf, they're welcome to. If they don't get it right and drop it too short, he'll send the ball sailing over the stands," the Rajasthan captain said.

Kumble likes it short and nasty

Perhaps it takes an Indian to know an Indian. It wasn't just against Yusuf that Kumble launched the bumper barrage but in the previous game, he went after his old team-mate for many years - Sourav Ganguly. As soon as Ganguly came in, he brought back Steyn, placed a short-leg and a slip and asked his fast bowler to hurl bouncers. Though Steyn couldn't find his radar on that day, Kumble had sent out the message loud and clear and you knew today he would go after Yusuf.

When in doubt against Indian batsmen, bounce

If we have learned anything so far, it's this - if you see a domestic Indian batsman, don't think too much, just bounce at him. Today, nearly every Indian batsman in the Rajasthan side was tested by bumpers. Naman Ojha, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Yusuf, Paras Dogra and Sumit Narwal were all given the perfume balls. Unsurprisingly, all of them struggled. As Kallis revealed later, it was all part of his team's preparation. "We had the plans in hand, and they worked even better than we thought. The wicket had some carry and we worked out early on that short of a length was the way to go. Some of the Indian batsmen are not used to this kind of carry," he said.

Not everything bad for the Indians

It wasn't all bad for the Indians though. Anil Kumble was as canny as ever and Manish Pandey played a few delightful shots but it was Praveen Kumar's night to remember. In his third over, he claimed a hat-trick. Damien Martyn - after a strange and insipid innings - charged out to york himself, Narwal found the bouncer too hot to handle and top-edged his pull to fine-leg and Dogra couldn't keep out the hat-trick delivery that skidded from short of length to take the fatal inside edge. Praveen couldn't hold himself back - he ran all the way towards third man, high-fiving every extended palm that came on his way.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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