It is often said that form is temporary and class is permanent. Yuvraj Singh proved that old adage to be true in the 2nd match of the Indian Premier League 2014 that pitted Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils at the historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Team composition: Both the teams were missing their talismanic batsmen – Gayle for RCB and Pietersen for the Double Ds. For Delhi the loss was even more significant considering the fact that Pietersen was also the skipper and his absence meant there was added pressure on Dinesh Karthik to lead the side as well as keep the wickets.
Batting: Bangalore won the toss and put Delhi in to bat first. It was as if to prove that Kohli was right that the Delhi batsmen got off to a poor start and were reduced to 4 for 35 within the 8th over. Eventually the overseas batsmen Duminy, who top scored with 67 from 48 balls and Ross Taylor who scored 43 from 39 helped the team to a respectable total of 145.
In Bangalore’s innings Parthiv Patel got the team off to a good start and the win was achieved thanks to the excellence of Yuvraj who scored a magnificent 52 from just 29 balls. Kohli anchored the chase with a characteristically calm and controlled 49 from 38 deliveries.
Bowling: Fast bowler Varun Aaron was easily the standout performer for the Royal Challengers with exceptional figures of 1 for 9 from his 3 overs. It was strange that he was not given his full quota. Yuzvendra Chahal, who was chosen to be the man of match, also had a decent outing (1 for 18) as well as Albie Morkel (1 for 18 from 3) and Mitchell Starc (1 for 33). Their disciplined performance ensured that Dinda’s less than satisfactory performance – 51 from 4 overs – did not become very crucial in the final analysis.
When Delhi bowled Shami (1 for 30) and Rahul Sharma (1 for 33 from 3 overs) tried hard but their efforts were unable to bring the team its first win. Parnell was economical but Neesham and Nadeem leaked way too many runs and this ensured that Delhi lost the game with 20 balls yet to be bowled.
Where do the teams go from here?
As far as the Royal Challengers Bangalore is concerned the team seems to have found a team combination that works for them. The balance in its squad ensures there will be alternatives as and when the need arises.
Delhi Daredevils, on the other hand, will be ruing the missed chances as well as the inability of its bowlers to defend a smallish total. Their biggest problem will come when Pietersen returns from injury – who will make way for him? Will it be Ross Taylor who performed well in this game but is a like for like substitution or will it be Jimmy Neesham whose ouster will mean that an Indian bowling allrounder, preferably a pace bowling one, will have to be included. Unfortunately, the team does not have one such player in its ranks. This is one question that Kirsten and Simone will have to think over and over again before the next game against Kolkata. How well they are able to find an answer to this will determine how far they progress in the days that lie ahead.