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Gayle short-circuited, Challengers fizzle out

  • Subhash Rajta, Hindustan Times, Bangalore
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 11, 2012 07:37 IST
  • Balaji

    Kolkata Knight Riders' Balaji celebrates wicket of Mayank Agarwal of Royal Challengers Bangalore during the IPL match in Bangalore. (PTI Photo)

  • Kolkata Knight Riders

    Kolkata Knight Riders cheerleaders perform during the IPL 5 match at M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. Agency

  • Royal Challengers Bangalore

    Royal Challengers Bangalore team members celebrate the fall of wicket of Kolkata Knight Riders Jacques Kallis during the IPL 5 at M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. Agency

  • Gautam Gambhir

    Kolkata Knight Riders' skipper Gautam Gambhir and Brett Lee celebrate win over Royal Challengers Bangalore during their IPL 5 match in Bengalore.  PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak

  • Dedniel Vettori

    Daniel Vettori captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore walks after bowled out by Laxmipati Balaji of Kolkata Kinght Riders at M. Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore . HT Photo/Rajnish Katyal

  • Gautam Gambhir

    Kolkata Knight Riders' Gautam Gambhir plays a shot against Royal Challengers Bangalore during their IPL 5 match in Bangalore. PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhoja

  •  Gautam Gambhir

    Gautam Gambhir celebrates his half century during the IPL 5 match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders at The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in ...

  •  Zaheer Khan

    Royal Challengers Bangalore Zaheer Khan, right, celebrates with captain Daniel Vettori, left, the dismissal of Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Manoj Tiwary, center, during their Indian ...

  • Kolkata Knight Riders

    Kolkata Knight Riders cricketers celebrate the wicket of Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Chris Gayle during the IPL 5 match at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in ...

  • Zaheer Khan

    Royal Challengers Bangalore's Zaheer Khan takes the catch off Laxmi Rattan Shukla of Kolkata Knight Riders during their IPL 5 match in Bengaluru. PTI Photo/Shailendra ...

Call it coincidence, the Kolkata Knight Riders' fortunes took a dip the minute Shah Rukh Khan's smiling face was flashed on the big screen in the stadium. Until then, the KKR batsmen were playing with total abandon, smashing boundaries and sixes at will, and racing towards a massive total.

But after watching the "Don" on the big screen, the batsmen seemed to develop cold feet and they sort of started to compete with each other to get to the safety of the dug-out.

"They just succumb to pressure whenever they are required to stand up and seize the big moment," lamented a KKR fan. Well, pressure has always been the feared word for this team.

Captain curious
Win or lose, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir stays angry. Hitting fluently, he was furious with his batting partner Manoj Tiwary over a run, giving him a piece of his mind from the non-striker's end. It was a perfect way to lose concentration as Gambhir fell to a cheeky reverse hit off Zaheer Khan and Tiwary holed out.

Against this backdrop, someone in the KKR camp showed foresight in hiring the world renowned sports psychologist, Rudi Webster. The old shrink, says coach Trevor Bayliss, has started working on the team.

"He speaks with the individuals and meets them over coffee or breakfast without my knowledge. He doesn't like to be called sports psychologist as he talks common sense with players."

Well, irrespective of what he does and how, he seems to have started to make some effect on the team, at least that's what one could imply from their huge win over the Gayle-powered Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Modest target
By the end of their innings, though, it appeared they had blown away a fine opportunity to put it across the hosts, what with their great start petering to a limp finish. From a daunting 123 for 3 with seven overs to spare, thanks to a sizzling half-century from Gautam Gambhir and brisk contributions from Jacques Kallis and Manvinder Bisla, the visitors could manage just 42 runs in the last seven overs.

The total looked inadequate for the power-packed Royal Challengers, with danger man Chris Gayle back in the team. But the big man, for once, failed to click, and the rest of the batsmen just couldn't recover from the shock, handing the game to the visitors without a semblance of fight.

 

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