RCB has entered the 2011 IPL final. They have played the most dramatic cricket at the group stage. Considering they are the only team to have played all three editions of the tournament, the expectation is high on them to reach their first final. But, NSW is a balanced team and not only matches the batting firepower but also has one of the best bowling attack of the tournament.
In the first two matches they were completely outplayed, as the bowlers could not bowl with control. When they were looking out of the barrel, the batsmen provided huge wins to dramatically take them to their second consecutive semifinal of Champions League T20. As Vettori keeps explaining, after the historical win in last match, others can realise that RCB is not just about Gayle. Yet, Gayle is the key factor for the opponents.
Vettori is one of the best captains, nobody ever doubted that. But, the match pressure can even raise his adrenaline level. The matches during the tournament have seen him showing frustration, mostly while bowling. Yet, he has lead the team from the front. He is not their best bowler of the tournament but has also scored quick runs when required. As a captain, overall he appears to be well-settled and has his task cut out to tackle the opposition. Having represented the New Zealand team the sight of playing a team from Australia may further boost his skills and temperament.
The RCB batsmen are set to face their toughest challenge. The team that has just completed a record chase against another Australian team South Australia to avenge their 2010 defeat and to seal semifinal spot may find it intimidating to notice that NSW hass not allowed any of the four opponents at the group stage to cross 155 run mark.
RCB Batting trio of Gayle, Kohli and Dilshan have crossed the 100-run mark. But besides these three Saurabh Tiwary, Vettori, Mayank Aggarwal, Arun Karthik and Bhatkal have also played good cameos so far. While the top order trio has given good starts, other players have followed the trail to lead team to victory in the last two matches.
RCB can be easily termed as the big-hitting team of the tournament. While Gayle has already created a new Champions League tournament with 16 sixes, breaking Pollard’s 14 sixes record of 2009 and 2010, other Challengers players have amassed 32 sixes. Overall in 4 games RCB batsmen have hit 48 sixes already that contributes to more than 25% of the sixes hit in the tournament till the end of Group Stage matches.
Weak Bowling of RCB
The strong batting performance is facing the biggest challenge from the weak bowling performances. In all the matches opponents have scored more than 150 runs and RCB bowlers have managed oonly 16 wickets.
None of the 8 bowlers applied so far have managed a 3-wicket haul. Vettori is the most successful bowler with 5 wickets. Fast bowlers are leaking runs at a rate crossing 10 runs per over. Syed has showed some good support with an economy of 7.75. Even Vettori, their most economical bowler averages 6+.
Syed, Nannes, Aravind and co must produce some decent bowling to support the high performance of their batsmen and lead the team to the final against one of the most balanced team of the tournament and 2009 champion, New South Wales.
Playing at home may not make RCB the favorite as NSW has enough power packed batsmen in the team to benefit equally from the high-scoring pitch. Bowling is the key concern that may prove fatal for RCB, if batsmen fail to gain momentum as desired. Overall, it looks difficult for RCB. Yet, with in-form players like Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli and Vettori set to play their best, the team looks the favorite.