It is no secret that Rajasthan Royals (RR) aren’t a side high on talent. It is thus much
to their credit that, in spite of their limitations, they have managed to be among
the more consistent sides in the tournament so far. However, when they came up
against the exceptionally gifted Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the latter’s
home ground on Saturday, their limitations were clearly exposed. First, their batsmen
couldn’t stand up against a competent Bangalore bowling outfit, and when it was
their turn in the field, they couldn’t find a way past the batsmen from the home side.
Right from the start of the game, the Royals were on the backfoot, and they could
never recover to put Bangalore under any sort of pressure at all. To put up a big
score after batting first, the visitors were hoping for a blistering start from their
talisman Shane Watson. Unfortunately for them, the Aussie all-rounder couldn’t
provide his team with the desired start. Once Watson fell, the Royals could never
built any sort of momentum into their innings. The fact that even Ajinkya Rahane had
a rare failure made matters worse for them.
Stuart Binny was the only batsman from the Royals’ side who was successful in
taking on the Bangalore bowlers. He hit some wonderful shots during his stay at the
crease, but having gotten off to a slow start, the Royals needed Binny to stay at the
crease right till the very end. However, he was dismissed at the halfway stage, and
with him went the Royals’ best, and possibly only, chance of recovering from the
poor start. Skipper Rahul Dravid once again came up with a sedate knock, but he
also fell soon after Binny to leave the Royals in big trouble.
After a less than convincing showing with the bat, the Royals did not have much
wherewithal to put up a fight with the ball as well. Had speedster Shaun Tait fired
and unsettled the Bangalore batsmen with a few snorty deliveries, the visitors could
have put some sort of pressure on the Bangalore batsmen. But, it wasn’t to be as the
Aussie ended up being the most disappointing of all the Royals bowlers. To be fair to
Dravid’s bowlers, it must be said the batsmen were the bigger culprits since they did
not give them enough runs to bowl. Still, a better bowling effort could have given the
Royals confidence for the upcoming games.
As for Bangalore, it was a near-perfect exhibition by them. Ravi Rampaul and Vinay
Kumar got the big breaks while RP Singh finally overcame his no-ball horror, picking
up three wickets while being economical as well. With the ball, Chris Gayle yet again
proved his greatness in this format. Aware that too many big shots were not needed,
the explosive left-hander held himself back, and patiently killed the Royals’ faint
hopes. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Saurabh Tiwary chipped in with useful cameos to
absorb some pressure off Gayle. It was all too easy for Bangalore in the end.
Turning point of the game: Binny’s dismissal for 33, which restricted the Royals
from putting up a fighting total.
--By A Cricket Analyst