After a high, the Royal Challengers Bangalore hit a new low. If their victory in the opener against defending champions Rajasthan Royals was remarkable; the defeat in the last game was simply deplorable. They next face the Deccan Chargers, the team that finished with a wooden spoon last time but have made close to a perfect start this season.
While the Chargers don’t have anything in particular to worry about as their batsmen and bowlers were not stretched in the first game, the Challengers have a lot to think about.
On the top of their list perhaps is a need to re-look their approach, which has perhaps been a bit too adventurous. And clearly, it hasn’t paid dividends.
The experiment to have Robin Uthappa keep wickets has worked well, but dropping Jesse Ryder and opening with Praveen Kumar turned out to be a disaster. Then, they kept Rahul Dravid — by far their best batsman in the first game — too far down the order while chasing the big total.
“Look, in hindsight one can always come up with different ideas. We did what we felt was right at that moment,” said skipper Kevin Pietersen, responding to a question on Dravid’s place in the batting order.
Other than the tactical front, the Royal Challengers haven’t been able to flex their batting muscles, which is surprising given the presence of power hitters like Pietersen, Ryder and Ross Taylor.
Scores of just 133 and the other another below 100 don’t reflect well on a batting line-up comprising such names. They looked ill at ease in the opener, and were simply pathetic in the last. To make matters worse, the bowlers also looked short of ideas when Matthew Hayden went after them the other day.
The Deccan Chargers, on the other hand, are cautiously confident in the wake of their comprehensive win in the opener.
“We don’t want to read too much into our first win. We just have had a good start, and it will take few more wins to actually say that we have the momentum with us,” said skipper Adam Gilchrist.
Herschelle Gibbs, also of the Chargers, sounded far more upbeat. “I think we are a changed team this year,” he said. “There have been quite a few changes, and the attitude is completely different.”