Royal challenge for Warriors
Two sides on opposite ends of the form spectrum face off at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Friday as hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore, unbeaten in their last three matches, take on the Pune Warriors, who have lost four games on the trot. Rohit Bhaskar reports. Match boxcricket Updated: Apr 29, 2011 02:07 IST
Two sides on opposite ends of the form spectrum face off at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Friday as hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore, unbeaten in their last three matches, take on the Pune Warriors, who have lost four games on the trot.
Both sides had contrasting starts to their IPL campaign. The Royal Challengers lost three of their opening four matches, while the Pune Warriors won their first two games.
THE GAYLE EFFECT
The turning point for the Vijay Mallya-owned team was the addition of West Indies opener Chris Gayle, who came in as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes. The southpaw announced his entrance in grand style with a spectacular 55-ball 102 against his former team, the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Gayle’s addition has provided some much-needed stability to the Royal Challengers' batting, which up to that point was over-dependant on South African stalwart AB de Villiers.Virat Kohli, also joined the party in their last match against the Delhi Daredevils, hitting a match-winning 56 off 38 balls. Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was recently named the national team captain, however has failed to find form, and is one of the few worries for the home side.
ZAHEER’S POOR FORM
Another major worry for RCB skipper Daniel Vettori is the poor form of bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan. The left-armer has failed to provide breakthroughs, and has also proved to be a tad expensive. Vettori has been bowling superbly, and has been ably supported by local recruits, Syed Mohammad and S Aravind.
For Yuvraj Singh’s Pune Warriors it will be an uphill task. In addition to a four-match losing streak, they will also be minus two of their biggest names as South African opener Graeme Smith and Ashish Nehra are both out injured.
The troubling aspect for Yuvraj and coach Geoff Marsh has been the lack of consistency both in the bowling and batting departments. While Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj have had a few good outings with the bat, they haven’t clicked together. More often than not, it has been a case of one batsman finding form, while wickets fall all around him.
On the bowling front, Pune have looked much better with foreigners Alfonso Thomas, Wayne Parnell and Jerome Taylor bowling well. Amongst the locals, veteran tweaker Murali Kartik and rookie left-arm pacer Shrikant Wagh have had some success. But, with the batsmen failing more often than not, the workload has doubled on the bowlers.