Delhi v Bangalore, IPL 2010, Delhi April 4, 2010

Canny Collingwood keeps it simple

Collingwood's ability to rebuild an innings when the opposition bowlers have gained the momentum is a trait that any team would love to have

Cricket is a mind game more than any sport with the possible exception of golf, the classic masochists' recreation and that is not a dig at Tiger Woods. Paul Collingwood doesn't do flash and flourish has never been his thing. But he knows his game and plays within its limitations, and tonight's match-winning half-century was as much about beating the opposition with mind as it was with strength. He's done this countless times for England but don't expect him to take this IPL game lightly.

Collingwood's ability to rebuild an innings when the opposition bowlers have gained the momentum is a trait that any team would love to have. On both occasions that Collingwood has scored big this season, Delhi Daredevils' top order stumbled and left him with a battle to avoid defeat; tonight it was tougher because there was no centurion to lead the way.

After 11 overs Delhi were 92 for 4 and conditions were just fine for batting. Collingwood was trying to lay a foundation but was losing out on partners. Carefully, he began to accumulate his runs, smartly trying to pinch a run off every ball. His front foot came forward even as the ball left the bowlers' hand and he deflected the ball away. Collingwood had a sense of what ball was going to be bowled, and in that regard Bangalore's attack proved to be ideal.

While Anil Kumble, Kevin Pietersen and KP Appanna bowled tidily to Collingwood, the rest were too one-dimensional. Jacques Kallis was too straight, Vinay Kumar attacked the stumps but didn't get any assistance from the track, Cameron White was terrible, and Abhimanyu Mithun didn't have the variation to set Collingwood off his game.

The over that ultimately proved decisive was the 12th, bowled by White. It cost 19, with Collingwood looting 18, and it gave him much-needed momentum. Until the ball landed in White's hands Collingwood was 15 off 16; at the end of the over he had 33 from 22. The tone of his innings had changed and he hit 42 runs in the next 24 balls faced. The shots that rocketed off his bat were powerful and precise, but they couldn't have flowed had Collingwood not sussed out the bowling earlier and played his natural game.

Compare this to how Kallis and Pietersen batted later in the night. Unlike Collingwood they had more batsmen to follow. Like Collingwood, they were trying to lay a strong foundation but one would have expected some urgency. Instead both withdrew into their shells and the run-scoring was drastically curtailed. Between Pietersen's entrance on the fourth ball of the fourth over and his exit on the second of the tenth, only 27 runs were scored, with 14 dot balls. Only one six was hit, and no fours. Unlike Collingwood, Kallis was unable to compensate towards the end.

The other key to Delhi's win also came down to discipline. Mithun and Kallis bowled three overs each and their consistency left a lot to be desired. Their length was erratic and on a surface that begged for discipline they could have kept the batsmen in check like Rajat Bhatia and Pradeep Sangwan did later in the night. The Bangalore pair bowled five short balls, five half-volleys and three length balls, which got hit for 42 runs. Even in the other 29 legal deliveries that were bowled, there were many drifting down the leg side when they should have been probing on off or middle.

Now look at what Bhatia and Sangwan achieved. They completely avoided the short balls and conceded only 17 runs when they erred in length. In four overs bowling in tandem, the pair allowed just 18 runs, with no boundary and Sangwan dismissed the dangerous Robin Uthappa. Bhatia finished with 1 for 24 in his four overs, and Sangwan ended his with 3 for 22. Their efforts tell a story, and they were successful because their heads were in the right place. That's a trait Collingwood, the most driven of players, knows only too well.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Athil on April 6, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    Pietersen should be dropped. After he left the team last year, RCB ended up in the finals. He is slow and bad luck. Malya should drop him or send him back to England. Or better, just donate him to another team for "FREE".

    I think the other teams will soon start deliberately dropping catches of Kallis and Pietersen looking at the way they played against Delhi.

    Kumble should bring back the old winning combination except for Taylor, White and Appanna coming in for Boucher, Morgan and V.Kumar.

  • seshu on April 5, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    there is no proper batting order without indian opener, kallis is too slow with 110 strike rate, he never raise his run rate during power plays.. first he should get dropped and bring boucher and let pandey and kholi open innigs, one down dravid followed by all foreign stars.. there is no other quality fast bowler in line up except steyn.... best choice dravid can open innings too, he doesnt waste balls at powerplays...

  • sudeep on April 5, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    Collingwood is one of the few players who has got a great cricketing brain. He precisely knows where the gaps are n wat he is fetching to achieve. His calculations are great as regards the power on the shot and the placement of the fielder, that is why on nop of ocsaions he ends up playing the littkle chech shots that even yield score in terms of single n twos. And mind he casn hoick the ball a lonmg way. He gets on with the game in a slow fashion but he can cut loose. He can hoick the ball in Razzaq way by getting his front foot away from the line n whacking over the mid-wicket.. He is a lovely player. I wish he plays long for England.

  • Dre on April 5, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    How does 54 from 42 SR=128 deliveries, when wickets are falling around you be a knock that makes life difficult for your team. His team all but lost the game when they conceded 180+ on a track that gets more difficult to chase on. He helped to set up a platform for guys like Uthappa and Ross Taylor but they didn't last too long, this is t-20, when you are stuck chasing a big score you need some luck and Taylor and Uthappa just didn't get any, had they each faced 5-10 more deliveries...who knows what could have been, that is just he way the game goes and to reduce your reliance on luck, big hitting and have to restrict the opposition.

  • sam on April 5, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    Kallis may be the greatest overall player of his generation; but he is also the most selfish player of his generation and in a team it is sometimes (not every time) better not to have those players (especially in limited overs) and play a team player.

  • Senthil on April 5, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    What most captains will do well to realize is that there are only so many batsmen you can fit into 20 overs. No matter how many wickets you have in hand, it is what the two out there in the middle do that matters. Uthappa showed yesterday what happens when he is not dropped in the outfield. Kallis showed how not to get dropped, even if your team sinks because of your slow approach. Three overs went for 2,3,and 4 runs, with Kallis and KP in the middle. That is not what they are there for, when tailenders can score faster than that - that too with 9 wickets in hand. And Kumble thought the bowlers let them down. God help RCB - their balance is upset now with too much food on the table!

  • Dummy4 on April 5, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Its a shame that Dravid's dismissal is not even a critical moment of the match. How can a batsman batting at 7 be critical to the team. May be RCB should drop him instead of insulting him by making him as the last batsman to come.

  • Dummy4 on April 5, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    RCB didn't do proper decision-making. Cameroon White who last bowled almost 2 yrs was given a bowl, Kevin Pietersen who gave just 3 runs was given just 1 over, and sending White to open. However, some decisions were good - bringing a player like Apanna into playing XI, Kumble opening the bowling and also playing Mithun

  • Ashish on April 5, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    sorry 4 the bangalore challengers but I support them loyally , the defeat was a setback but still a lot of matches remain n m sure they can make it to the semis ..... KP & Kallis were both dissapointing yes , i mean run rate wise n their partnership eventually made the target uphill for the batsmen to follow , still both are class players n tht they are impact players ..... sad to see Dravid at no 7 ,I m sure they can make it to the semis n frm there on its a bit dependent on luck as well, u never know ..... good luck to kumble n his team for the remaining matches ......

  • Rajesh on April 5, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Bangalore needs to bat Rahul Dravid up the order and give him more responsibility. It's no use playing a classy batsman like Dravid at number 7.......

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