The struggling Pune unit,after losing their last five fixtures,will look to exploit Royal Challengers Bangalore’s away woes when the teams clash in the IPL 2013 match in Pune today.
Bangalore won all their home fixtures,and have failed to register a win away from the Chinnaswamy. It has been a pattern this year,and Chennai Super Kings are the only team to operate away from the pattern,and sit comfortably at top of the points table.
All is not lost for Bangalore as they still are in the second position. However,their 12 points are tied with three other teams and they need to ensure that there is no downward slide from here on.
It is clearly an overdose of Chris Gayle for Bangalore. With too much hype and dependence on Gayle,other batsmen,after a string of poor performances,are getting a sweet escape. On days when the run-machine is in full flow,results are in favour of the unit,but Gayle’s failure scripts a different story. Struggle for a working combination at the top of the order continues as Bangalore have tried,but only Gayle works. Mayank Agarwal,Dilshan and Abhinav Mukund have looked very ordinary,and will have to get among runs. Even the middle-order has failed to deliver on a consistent basis and looks good only when the big man gets them off to a brisk start. The likes of Saurabh Tiwary and Arun Karthik have just not fired.
It might be a short format,but numbers do reveal a story.
Dilshan: 76 runs in 5 innings.
Agarwal: 67 runs in 5 innings
Tiwary: 56 runs in 4 innings
Karthik: 41 runs in 5 innings
Virat Kohli’s last four knocks won’t reveal a good picture,but the aggressive leader is marshaling his resources brilliantly in the middle. The Delhi dasher sprints like a Cheetah,hits the stumps on most of the occasions,gets the right bowler at the right time,and shares the burden of scoring runs with Gayle. What else do you want? Yes,he is aggressive. Yes,he is vocal. Yes,he is expressive. But,yes,he has been very successful. The right-hander has scored 366 runs in his ten innings,including three half-centuries.
As far as their body language on the field suggests,Pune are still recovering from the Gayle storm. They have been poor in the field and leak too many runs in the death overs. The middle overs are still contained by Rahul Sharma’s leg-spinners,but death bowling is an area of concern for them. In their last fixture against the Chennai Super Kings,they allowed MS Dhoni to go berserk and score a 16-ball 45. Ashoke Dinda tried too many things,and got it all wrong against the skipper. His slower ones were picked very early,and the seamer missed his line very often. Coach Allan Donald’s reaction in the dug-out exhibited how frustrated he was with the effort.
It was not the first occasion that they let this happen. Even in the high-scoring fixture against the Kings XI Punjab,they released a match comfortably in their grip,courtesy a very expensive last over. The team was not able to defend 29 in the last two,as the opposition ran home with one ball to spare.
Pune’s local talent has looked very ordinary. Their performances are not up to the mark,and have added a lot of pressure on the likes of Aaron Finch,Steven Smith and Luke Wright. One can’t expect the trio to score every time,and when they don’t score,Yuvraj Singh and Robin Uthappa will have to do justice to their reputation. Yuvraj has only scored 140 runs in his seven innings,and Uthappa has managed 214 runs in the 10 matches he has played so far. Clearly not enough.
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