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Onus on batsmen to make the crucial difference

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2009 07:36 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Perhaps the Good days are finally here for the king of good times. The wholesale changes Vijay Mallya made to his ‘Test’ team to transform it into a crack T20 outfit brought the desired result against defending champions Rajasthan Royals. However, the irony underlining the victory wasn’t lost on anyone: the triumph was largely carved out by ‘Test’ specialists Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble.

Anyway, it’s the result, not who engineered it that’s significant at the end of the day. The win upfront has set them up nicely for their next encounter against the Chennai Super Kings here on Monday. Last year’s runners-up faltered in their opener against the Mumbai Indians and will be desperate to get an early taste of victory.

However, it’s not all rosy for the Royal Challengers ahead of the Monday’s clash. Despite the huge win, the fact that they managed to put up just 133 on the board – 66 coming from Dravid – makes it clear that batsmen have their work cut out. Had it not been for a combination of poor batting from Rajasthan and superb bowling from the Bangalore team, especially Kumble, the game might well have slipped from Bangalore’s hands. The top-order comprising New Zealand imports Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor and Robin Uthappa need to give a good start.

It’s the same for the Chennai Super Kings. They did reasonably well with the ball to restrict Mumbai to 165, but couldn’t get their act together with the bat. Old war horse Matthew Hayden and skipper MS Dhoni were the only two to hold their ground, but even that wasn’t enough in the final analysis.

It’s the batting that needs to buck up in both the teams, but it won’t be easy given the conditions. It’s been pretty windy and a little wet here, making it tricky for the batsmen.

Besides, the contest will also throw up a battle within the battle as it pits the two most expensive players — Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff — against each other. It will certainly set the pulse racing once Flintoff starts charging in to bowl to Pietersen. Will they exchange a glare or a word or two when things get really hot out there? Keep watching.