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Punjab's batting never imposed itself, the bowlers lacked the venom to stop Bangalore, and their fielding … well that was just deplorable
April 2, 2010
Kings XI Punjab's seventh loss has left them needing a miracle to stay in the tournament and they have only themselves to blame. Their batting never imposed itself, the bowlers lacked the venom to stop Royal Challengers Bangalore, and their fielding … well that was just deplorable. You cannot drop the opposition's top scorers and expect to win. Here's looking at the key passages where Punjab lost the plot.
A perplexing innings
Sent up the order to open, Manvinder Bisla ate up 26 balls for 28 runs. Once Shaun Marsh was dismissed early, the pressure was on Bisla to justify the decision to open with him. Bisla scored the majority of his runs off the South African pair of Dale Steyn (eight off four balls) and Jacques Kallis (nine off eight balls), whom he seemed keen to charge and waft at. Watching him repeatedly charge or back away, it was evident how limited a player he is. Apart from the cut, when he made room, and the uncontrolled clip off the pads, a shot he appeared eager to play but couldn't pull off regularly, there was little to his stock. No matter what the line or length, Bisla wanted to jump out of the crease and put the ball over the infield. You couldn't help but contrast his methods with those of Virat Kolhli, who paced his innings with solidity while scoring at the frenetic pace required in this format.
And what was Bisla attempting against Anil Kumble? When veteran international players have had troubles against Kumble's wiles this IPL - the delivery that beat Matthew Hayden was one of the season's best - Bisla should have been more cautious instead of trying to step out first ball. On the third ball from Kumble he tried to hit across the line and was beaten. He then made room and streakily cut Kumble in the air wide of the catchers. After again trying and missing, his dismissal was the result of an apparent brain freeze. He tried to scoop Kumble over short fine leg, exposed the stumps, and had the furniture rearranged. Instead of helping Punjab, Bisla's inning hurt them.
Catches win matches … oh dear
This was the worst fielding effort I have seen this IPL and when - not if, as there is now virtually no chance - Punjab sit down and look at on-field reasons as to why they didn't reach the semi-finals, this match will return to haunt them. In the 14th over, Sreesanth put down what will rank as one of the easiest chances of the competition; Kohli hit a slower ball straight to Sreesanth at long-on but it went in and out at about shoulder height.
The less said about Ravi Bopara's fielding the better. First he ran around from third man and let the ball through his legs to give Kevin Pietersen a much-needed four. Then, in the 16th over Bopara was again at it, running in from long-on and failing to take a simple catch from Pietersen that came at him at a nice catchable height.
But … drum roll … the enduring image of the evening. After glaring at his butterfingered fielders, it was time for the captain to step up. After a 25-run over that turned the match around, Kumar Sangakkara ran backwards from cover to a swish from Pietersen, settled under the ball, and muffed it. It wasn't over: before lying on his ground wondering how he'd missed the catch, Sangakkara managed to kick the ball to the boundary for four. These were international cricketers fielding like middle-aged men in Zimmermen.
Let down by Lee
With 48 required from 24 balls, Punjab were still in with a shot. Enter Brett Lee, the team's strike bowler, their most expensive overseas name, and a figure they had been dying to have back in the side. Lee begins with a full toss, which Robin Uthappa dumps 15 rows behind the straight boundary. The next ball is also wretched - length - and is slammed for four. After two near-yorkers Lee reverts back to length and watches Uthappa send the ball over midwicket for the biggest six of the game. He then sprays five wides down the leg side. That horror over took Lee's IPL returns to three games, 63 deliveries, zero wickets, 111 runs, and an economy rate of 10.57. Lee has been short of match practice but there are no excuses - that 25-run over cost Punjab the match.
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