Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers to fight for Champions League T20 slot
Semi-final losses have put paid to their title hopes but Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore would be eyeing a slot in the Twenty20 Champions League when they take on each other in the third-fourth place play-off of the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
The team that finishes third would earn the right to join this year’s finalists Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in the September Champions League.
After the 38-run loss to the Super Kings, Chargers skipper Adam Gilchrist was confident his teammates would be up to the task of getting off the floor for one final flourish.
“We would pick ourselves up tomorrow for Saturday’s match. We want to play in the Champions League again. We enjoyed playing in it last year,” the retired Australian wicketkeeper said in his post-match comments on Thursday.
RCB skipper Anil Kumble said his team had two days at its disposal after losing by 35 runs to the Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
“We have a couple of days to prepare for that match which would be a consolation victory. The main prize was the IPL final,” Kumble said.
Toss is again expected to play a crucial role as the team that bats first will hold a big advantage with the wickets in the country having slowed down in the summer heat.
“Obviously I’m disappointed for not having a shot at the final. But it’s becoming difficult to chase on these wickets which have become a bit tired and also slowed down though not many matches have been played here,” said Gilchrist.
Royal Challengers would look forward to Jacques Kallis rediscovering his magic touch that gave them a superb run in the earlier part of the tournament.
The South African has gone off the boil after playing the sheet-anchor role to perfection for the others to revolve around him.
The Bangalore team has tried out Manish Pandey and Rahul Dravid in the opening slot to accompany Kallis with mixed results.
In the lower order, Robin Uthappa has given them a flourishing finish on a few occasions with his clean hitting. The team would look forward to the youngster with powerful shoulders to do the bidding against the Chargers along with Kevin Pietersen at the top.
The indifferent form of Virat Kohli (307 runs in 15 games) too has not helped Bangalore’s cause.
The bowling attack looks potent though a bit jaded at the fag end of the 45-day tournament in which teams crisscrossed the country leading to tired bodies and minds.
Dale Steyn, who blew away rival batsmen early on, needs to make one last determined effort to give his team the breakthroughs that would peg back the Chargers line-up.
Kumble too would be relied upon to do his job in the middle overs but the big disappointment has been Praveen Kumar.
Two big guns of Chargers have failed to fire. Skipper Gilchrist has had a very poor tournament, with only one half century to show for in 15 starts, while Herschelle Gibbs has not lived up to his reputation either.
Rohit Sharma’s indiscreet shot selections have led to his downfall as it happened in the semi-finals while Andrew Symonds has had a mixed bag. The batting needs to pick up force in the final clash for the team.
Ryan Harris has been penetrative for the Hyderabad franchise, while the other bowlers, especially left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (21 wickets) have also done well, but the batting has not lived up to its mark.
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