ICL: Indian Cricket League

Rajasthan maul abject Bangalore


Bangalore Royal Challengers’ woeful IPL campaign plunged new depths at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium as they slumped to a 65-run drubbing at the hands of Rajasthan Royals, who are virtually assured a place in the semi-finals with their eighth win in ten games.

Apart from the toss, everything was perfect for Rajasthan as Bangalore put in another thoroughly abject performance with the ball, bat, and in the field. Swapnil Asnodkar and Graeme Smith were the protagonists for Rajasthan, putting together 109 in a mere 12.2 overs - the second first-wicket century stand for the team - before Shane Watson applied the finishing touches with a 28-ball 46. They finally settled for 197, which was far too many for a batting line-up, which is completely lacking in form and confidence. The first three wickets went down within 14 deliveries, and though Rahul Dravid struck a defiant 36-ball 75, the result was never in doubt.

Dravid decided to field first despite afternoon temperatures soaring to 48 degrees Celsius, and if that wasn’t bad enough, his bowlers were subjected to a pummelling by Asnodkar and Smith, who cut, drove, pulled and edged the rivals to distraction.

With two wins in nine games, Bangalore could have done with all the luck possible; instead, through the early exchanges it was Rajasthan that got the rub of the green as both batsmen pinged the third-man region regularly. Asnodkar got a 50, but it was one of the most unconvincing half-centuries of the tournament, as he got the benefit of an lbw shout, and then edged twice over the wicketkeeper off Jacques Kallis.

After seven overs Rajasthan were motoring along at 63 without loss, mostly thanks to Asnodkar, but Smith soon joined in the act, making room and striking the ball cleanly over mid-on and midwicket. Abdur Razzak became the first Bangladesh player to get an IPL game, but his start was hardly auspicious: he began with a no-ball which was edged for four by Smith, and the free hit was deposited on the midwicket roof.

Those early exchanges swung the momentum Rajasthan’s way, and they ensured they never let it go. Anil Kumble finally got his first wicket of the tournament, but Asnodkar’s departure only brought in the even more destructive Watson, who quickly made his presence felt with a couple of superb pull shots when Kumble pitched it fractionally short. Smith reached his half-century in the same over, pulling the last ball of Kumble’s spell over midwicket for six. Dravid turned to pace, medium pace and spin, but the run-fest continued unabated as Watson teed off whenever the ball was pitched on a length, freeing his arms to cut, pull and drive the bowlers.

As has happened throughout the tournament, Bangalore were let down in the field as well. Apart from Patil’s poor form behind the stumps, there were misfields galore in the outfield. Misbah-ul-Haq dropped a tough chance from Watson when he was on 19, Praveen didn’t react at all to a lofted shot from Smith four balls later when it dropped a few feet in front of him, and Vinay Kumar rounded off a miserable performance by missing a sitter from Watson in the final over.

Bangalore’s run-chase was a non-starter. The out-of-sorts J Arunkumar holed out to mid-off in the first over. Misbah’s disappointing tournament continued - he has now scored 32 runs in four innings - as he hopelessly miscued a pull to mid-on, and when Virat Kohli chopped on onto his stumps off the impressive Sohail Tanvir, Bangalore’s total read a shambolic 5 for 3. Kallis’ method of moving across his stumps and flicking everything to the on side fetched him a disappointing 20 from 29 balls. The difference in the fielding of the two teams came out starkly too, as Shane Warne plucked off a stunning caught-and-bowled low to his right when Zaheer Khan clubbed one straight back to him.

The only show of resistance came from Dravid, whose unbeaten 75 was a strong message to the rest of his batsmen. The result was admittedly a foregone conclusion, but Dravid made his point emphatically, carving six sixes, including three in an over from Yusuf Pathan. That knock lifted Bangalore to a somewhat respectable total, but it was hardly enough to stop Rajasthan, who have now won all six games at home.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Sunday, May 18th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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