In Chris Gayle’s shadow,RCB’s unsung heroes

In initial games,RCB missed their experienced pacer Zaheer but soon their back-up bowlers hit grooves.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Published: April 27, 2013 1:43:20 am

When Chris Gayle shocked the whole world with his 66 ball-unbeaten 175,it was inevitable for all talk of Royal Challengers Bangalore to centre around their batting line-up. Gayle,in the Twitter world,has already been branded a ‘big monster’ while their younger batter Virat Kohli has been riding the peaks of his career. Their South African import AB de Villiers too has fit in perfectly and is amongst the best finishers in his IPL franchise,and the Reds have acquired an aura of being the most lethal batting attack in the league.

Being league toppers (12 points in eight matches),RCB are clearly enjoying the spotlight on their willow wielders,but ask coach Ray Jennings and he’ll admit that it’s in fact their bowling which has indeed been quietly plodding away and getting the job done.

Media hype

Jennings believes the media has heaped praise on their team’s batting,but his bowlers have discreetly set up wins for his side. “It’s the media that takes the focus away from our bowling. If you look at it,it’s difficult to take bowlers away from our winning combination. All bowlers have chipped in well — Vinay (Kumar) and Jaidev (Unadkat),and we have players like (Abhimanyu) Mithun on the bench,” Jennings explains.

It was Vinay,Bangalore’s medium-pacer,who set up the close game against the team they will be taking on on Saturday,the Mumbai Indians,by not allowing Ricky Ponting’s star-studded line-up to score nine runs from the last over,when they met a few weeks ago. RCB’s bowling line-up has managed to maintain a decent strike rate in the T20 tournament — Vinay (13 wickets at 7.25),RP Singh (10 wickets at 7.38),Ravi Rampaul (7 wickets,6.31) and Jaydev Unadkat (7 wickets at 7.35),none of them really plundered for runs.

Getting over zak

In the initial games,RCB missed their experienced pacer Zaheer Khan but soon their back-up bowlers hit the grooves. “If you look at our team,then all our bowlers have played Test cricket. We had the vision during the auction to prop our bowling arsenal and we covered it. Chris (Gayle) had a great game against Pune. But our bowlers too came to the party,restricting Pune to 130 that gave us a big win on that night. So,I am pleased to see the bowlers doing a great job for us,” Jennings added.

Kohli had earlier said how his team had suffered last season after most of their pacers were ruled out due to injuries. However,Jennings feels that it will be their young pacer Unadkat who will make a comeback to the Indian team in the next 18 months riding on his IPL performance.

The Saurashtra pacer has been impressive so far for the Bangalore unit and has improved manifold in this last season. “He has worked on his bowling and he puts his body on the line while fielding. So,the next 18 months,we have a lot to look forward to from him in Indian cricket,” Jennings predicts.

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