Rajasthan v Bangalore, IPL 2010, Jaipur April 14, 2010

Bangalore reprise a familiar script

Much had changed statistically since these two teams last met, but in terms of familiarity of sequence it was pretty much the same story

Much had changed statistically since these two teams last met, but in terms of familiarity of sequence it was pretty much the same story. The recipe for success was simple, and Bangalore stuck to it much like they did in the previous encounter - Rajasthan Royals' batsmen were found out once again, by arguably the best bowling attack in the IPL.

It was in the field that Bangalore began repairing the damage from their morale-sapping defeat in the previous match. There was a familiar theme to Rajasthan's troubles, with pace and seam causing most of the problems. During their last match against Mumbai Indians, the new-ball pair of Zaheer Khan, especially, and Dhawal Kulkarni caused Rajasthan's batsmen many problems and here it was Vinay Kumar, Pankaj Singh and Dale Steyn repeating the dose. Steyn was hostile with the new ball, despite not achieving significant movement, Vinay varied his pace and Pankaj went hard into the pitch and generated appreciable bounce. Throw in Jacques Kallis' back-of-length precision and it again made for a forceful attack, especially when fielding first.

Vinay set the tone in his first over, and the rest of the pace bowlers took a cue. Vinay doesn't stand out as the ideal Twenty20 bowler. He doesn't have a searing yorker or mischievous changes of pace, and relies on plugging away to take wickets, seemingly not the best tactic when a bowler has just four overs. But his efforts tonight, which began with a clear short-of-a-length strategy, propelled Bangalore into the groove early. He began with a good delivery that was squirted for three, and a run-out followed. Then came an aggressive bouncer to Amit Paunikar, on debut, which was top-edged to the wicketkeeper. The intention was evident - Bangalore were here to hustle.

Then it was over to Pankaj with his with his hit-the-deck, back-of-a-length attack. In his first game of the tournament, Pankaj showed the adaptability that is required in Twenty20, mixing his pace and cramping the batsmen for room. Naman Ojha was kept quiet and a poor slog resulted. Pankaj began with a wicket-maiden and preyed on the batsmen's patience. Shane Watson was not given any room and that led him to pull a short-of-a-length ball, while Yusuf Pathan was welcomed with the short stuff.

The most crippling blow came when Steyn returned and cleaned up Yusuf first ball of the 14th over, but that was merely the finishing touch on a planned approach, which Vinay admitted to during the mid-innings break. During these teams' last encounter, the use of the bouncer to Yusuf was a central part of Bangalore's thumping win. So was the case tonight. He was welcomed with a bouncer from Kallis well outside off stump which was called wide. The second ball was a sharper short delivery which Yusuf pulled away. Cut to Pankaj, a rank rookie playing his first match of the tournament, who began with a bouncer to Yusuf. He went for the upper cut and missed, beaten for pace. That's gotta hurt. The next ball was also short and Yusuf inside-edged it onto his thigh pad. Another short ball followed, and Yusuf connected with a loose pull for one. Back on strike a delivery layer, Pankaj tried another slower bouncer which Yusuf pulled with ease for four. Forget that it sped to the boundary; the bait had been set.

The next ball Yusuf faced was an entire over later. Steyn was called back into the attack. Yusuf was expecting the bouncer and stood back in his crease. Steyn served it full and very fast and off stump went for a walk. Yusuf's frailties against the short ball had again led to his dismissal and with their most destructive player gone, Rajasthan had no chance of attempting a late surge.

Bangalore's fielding was another throttling aspect. Virat Kohli was amazing inside the circle, especially on the off side where he regularly intercepted drives and pushes from Watson, and alongside Manish Pandey and Kevin Pietersen he saved runs on reputation alone. With Rajasthan unable to locate the boundary regularly, the momentum never arrived. Pietersen took a sharp catch at square leg to get Watson, and Anil Kumble, hardly the most agile fielder on the field, plucked a neat running catch to deliver Bangalore their sixth wicket.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dre on April 15, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    @Mr. Ankur Jain....I never indicated at any time that Kallis eating deliveries is Dravid's fault. I think maybe you didn't read my comment properly or you couldn't follow (1000 words is all I have to type a message). I simply implied that they are 2 very similar players and as a tactic RCB should avoid a situation where they bat together. Hence if Kallis goes early... enter Dravid. Kallis is the form opener therefore the alternate scenario where Dravid opens with Pandey is not going to happen. Sorry if you misunderstood. @whizz_bang, I think calling Pathan a slogger is a bit harsh, I would say he's a limited batsman but not a slogger really. A slogger would be some1 like Van Der Merwe or H. Singh.

  • Avinash on April 15, 2010, 10:06 GMT

    I agree to mrshree420's comments. India will have a short tour in World Twenty20. The whole selection is full of flaws. Why is Rohit Sharma getting his umpteenth chance while inform players like Uthappa, Kohli, Vijay, S Tiwary, Rayady, etc are warming the benches? Even Yuvraj Singh should be shown the door. Among the bowlers, Murli Kartik and Ojha are in much better form than Chawla.

  • Rajesh on April 15, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    RR seem to depend too much on Yusuf to fire. If he is their key man, the logic of sending him down the order is amusing. He should come in latest at number4 to steady the ship. I agree with the view that his technique is being sorted by the top bowlers. Only a brave owner will pick him up for big bucks in the next auction. RCB should continue to maintain the 11 who played against RR for the next 3 matches ( assuming they would go to the final). Praveen Kumar even though he has picked up wickets, is like chicken feed in the slog overs.He is being miked to glory. Guys like Uthappa should be instructed by Jennings to use more of their brains and not throw away their wickets playing reckless reverse sweeps and switch hits.Pandey needs some counselling to keep a level head. With 7 top batsmen most of whom are match winners in their own right and with bowlers like Steyn and Kumble there is no reason why RCB cant lift the trophy this year.Certainly on paper they are the best team around.

  • Abhishek on April 15, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    Nice piece, Jamie. Though I wonder how you ignored the intelligent field placements that Kumble resorted to. The packed off side field and the disciplined bowlers who bowled consistently on that side of the wicket. Deep point and sweeper cover together. Brilliant!

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Mr. "_NEUTRAL_Fan_", if Kallis bats slowly, it can't be Dravid's fault. He played two marvelous innings at no 3. You can't continue to insult him by having him padded up and then sending someone else to bat. I find it shocking that Dravid continues to accept such insult.

  • Sujit on April 15, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    It's still difficult to predict IPL semi-finalist --- But after following recent results its most likely that traditional Ranaji trophy rivals will be up against each other in semi-finals.

    Mumbai Vs Delhi (Delhi loses to Chennai but wins against DC) Bangalore Vs Chennai

    Final: Mumbai Vs Bangalore

  • Vipul on April 15, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    As well as RCB played today, what struck me was the poor level of preparation of Indian domestic players in RR. The reason MI or RCB or CSK are doing well is because of the better talent in their domestic ranks. I think RR should concentrate fiercely on improving on fielding and the ability to face bouncers. Once again it was embarrassing to see Yusuf play into the hands of Steyn. @Tabish is right; Yusuf plays ten duds for one explosive innings. The only match-winning player is Watson in their team and he can't be expected to rescue them in all the matches.

  • harshesh on April 15, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    My comment is going to sound like it is off topic yet very much related with Indian cricket team going to take part in upcoming t20 world cup soon. None of the batsmen are in good form except S Raina and also none of the bowlers are doing fine either. Batsmen in good nick ( M Vijay ) are kept out of the team. Same with bowing unit, Piyush Chawla is selected before P ojha. I suspect this is going to be a short tour for indian team as they did last time in t20 world cup

  • Prakash on April 15, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    Well i still think both RCB and MI are equally strong.By winning yesterday they have almost confirmed their place in semi.With this bowling attack they are very much the strong contenders for final.

  • Ramesh on April 15, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    Inability to play pace + Inability to play the short ball + lack of form = Current Indian Team. Any team that has a decent fast bowler will take advantage of using the short ball against the Indians. Yusuf is destructive except against fast or short pitched bowling. You can't expect other teams to feed him in the slot during the world cup... So what are the chances in the world cup.....we will get past round 1 that too we have a weak 3rd team but apart from that not much hope. The team selection is also pathetic.

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