Guilty of not playing Sanju in KKR
In our last game on Friday, before I could notice changes in Delhi Daredevils’ lineup, the first change that hit me was Zaheer Khan’s official relationship status. One of the most genial cricketers you could ever meet was now ‘booked’ or, as bachelors happily like to term it, ‘engaged’.
I have played a lot of cricket with Zak and travelled with him too. He was easily the most desirable bachelors of the Indian cricket team that I played in. Throw in a Yuvraj Singh and women were spoilt for choice.
Zaheer had those piercing eyes, an effervescent smile and presence. Yuvi stood out for attitude, gift of the gab and a lot of chivalry.
In the heat and the pressure of an IPL game, I was tempted to ask
Pune Supergiant finally seem to be rising while Royal Challengers Bangalore experienced their seventh loss of IPL10, which virtually threw last year’s finalists out of the playoffs race.
Lockie Ferguson’s 4-1-7-2 and Imran Tahir’s 3/18 helped Pune restrict Royal Challengers to 96 for nine in 20 overs in reply to 157/3 to win the match by 61 runs at the MCA Stadium on Saturday.
Except for Virat Kohli’s 55-run knock, the rest of the Royal Challengers batsmen lacked the appetite to fight as they collectively managed only 41 runs.
That only six boundaries were hit by the RCB batsmen speaks volumes of Pune’s quality bowling. It was also a pointer to RCB’S Zak if he was feeling any side-effects of engagement but decided against it. I was only too happy to win the toss.
Most teams are happy to chase under lights as ball comes on better during that time of the day at Eden Gardens.
Till about a few years back, Sanju Samson was with KKR. I was guilty of not giving him an opportunity. Each time he scores against KKR, I feel he is trying to prove a point.
My coach Sanjay Bharadwaj tells me that Sanju spent some time with him at Delhi’s LB Shastri Club. And by Sanjay sir’s assessment, Sanju has rebooted his game. Sanju was smooth in his batting.
We didn’t bowl well either. Later on, we tightened things up and bowled better lines. Top four Delhi batsmen falling to lbws is a testimony to that.
Our best efforts came in the latter half of DD’S innings where we switched our bowling plans. batting display that the only six of the innings was hit in the 17th over – a first in IPL’S history.
RCB’S POOR POWERPLAY
Royal Challengers again had a poor Powerplay performance, managing only 39 runs in their six overs and also lost two wickets. Travis Head (2) was bowled by Jaydev Unadkat in the second over while AB de Villiers was dismissed in single digits for the third consecutive time when he hit one straight to Manoj Tiwary at cover for three.
In the next four overs, RCB could add only 10 runs and lost Kedar Jadhav, who was involved in a mix-up with Kohli, and Sachin Baby in the next over, courtesy a superb diving catch by skipper Steve Smith.
Frustration was writ large on Kohli’s face as no one was willing to shoulder the responsibility with him in the chase.
Kohli smashed Imran Tahir for a six over midwicket to bring up his half-century and also some From wicket-taking deliveries, we were looking to bowl dots and then go for the kill. Rishabh Pant and Chris Morris’ dismissals were more out of this strategy than aggression.
Delhi were 130-odd for 2 in 15 overs and looking set for around 180 or more. I am proud the way our bowlers pulled it back.
For a change, Sunil Narine had an off day in batting. I hope that keeps him on the toes as we take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
I am hitting them well and so is Robin Uthappa. The best part is that the team is in a wonderful frame of mind.
Our post-match celebrations cheer for fans here. His resistance was finally broken as he holed out at deep cover.
Earlier, Pune’s Rahul Tripathi, who was dropped by Kohli at mid-on on 11, again failed to capitalise on the start. He threw away his wicket for the sixth successive time in the 30s as he nicked it to wicketkeeper Jadhav on 37.
Royal Challengers bowlers kept Smith quiet for the first 22 balls, where he managed only 17 runs with one boundary. But it is difficult to keep the Australian quiet for too long as he took on Samuel Badree in his third over, scoring 16 runs off it which included a slog sweep for six, followed by a back-foot punch and a cut that raced to the boundary.
Smith’s next target was Stuart Binny, as he welcomed him with consecutive boundaries – the first one flicked off his pads and the other between the point and backward point fielders by opening the face of his bat. Two balls later, Smith took a risk, but it landed in the hands of Milne. are getting wilder. On Friday, Yusuf Pathan was at his best. I sometimes wonder who is more fun -- Yusuf or his son Ayaan!
In KKR, we have this practice where we pick our own ‘gamechanger’.
This is a synonym to ‘man-ofthe-match’ award. This is my way to keep the camaraderie thread going.
While the biggest contribution already gets man of the match, game-changer award recognises small but significant performances. The award carries a cash prize and lots of cake on the face. As long as we’re winning don’t mind the cake.
Sunrisers are a tough side to beat. I think with Shikhar Dhawan coming good and Kane Williamson fitting in the combination, they look a formidable unit. Besides, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan present their own set of challenges in bowling. I think this is a game where we need more than a few ‘game-changers’.
MY COACH SANJAY BHARADWAJ TELLS ME SANJU SPENT SOME TIME WITH HIM, AND BY HIS ASSESSMENT, SANJU HAS REBOOTED HIS GAME.
Imran Tahir’s three wickets played a vital part in restricting Royal Challengers.