When a side drops a player like Virat Kohli twice in a T20 game, it is often made to pay dearly. And, the same happened to Delhi Daredevils, who were punished for not being able to latch on to a couple of simple offerings from the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain. Kohli may consider himself extremely lucky on the day, but it is also true that he deserves some luck as some of his great knocks in the past have gone in vain. To his credit, he utilised the chances and led RCB to victory in the opening tie.
Even as Kohli was the star with the bat for RCB, the match was actually set up by some superb bowling earlier in the evening. Having been inserted in, Delhi needed a good start; instead they were off to a disastrous one. Once they lost four wickets inside eight overs, Delhi were always going to struggle to put up a competitive score, which is exactly how things turned out. They ended up losing only four wickets, but the momentum and overs that were lost in the rebuilding phase couldn’t be made up for in the end.
The two big wickets that hit Delhi in a major way were those of Murali Vijay and skipper Dinesh Karthik. Over the years, Vijay has played some sensational knocks for Chennai Super Kings at the top of the order. For some reason, he couldn’t get going for Delhi against Bangalore’s bowlers. Probably, the conditions in Sharjah weren’t to his liking. Still, Delhi were hoping for better results than a strike rate of 90 in his 20-ball stay. Karthik’s dismissal was even more disastrous as he fell first ball. Over the years, Karthik has flattered to deceive on numerous occasions, and this was no different.
Delhi did reasonably well to recover courtesy the partnership between the experienced JP Duminy and Ross Taylor. Both showed a lot of maturity by first stemming the rot of wickets, and then getting some quick runs towards the end. However, it was a case of too little too late. All the Bangalore bowlers, barring Ashok Dinda, made a significant impact on the game. Mitchell Starc struck at the start, Albie Morkel got a quick wicket while Varun Aaron also chipped in with one. But, Yuzvendra Chahal was most impressive of all. He picked up the big wicket of Vijay, and never allowed Delhi batsmen to settle down.
Delhi’s bowlers needed some quick wickets at the top to make a match of it. But, while Mohammed Shami got one early, the partnership between Parthiv Patel and Kohli put them on track for an easy win. Delhi could have been in with an outside chance had they held on to Kohli’s catches. The match was also important for Yuvraj Singh, who returned to form with a blazing half-century, outdoing even Kohli towards the end. While Bangalore would be might pleased with their all-round effort, Delhi would be hoping for their captain and swashbuckling batsman Kevin Pietersen to be fit for the next game.
--By A Cricket Analyst