Which cricketer does the city Ahmedabad bring to your mind? Based on recent performances at least? . Yup, that’s right – AB de Villiers. With a test double and a ODI 100 off just 60 balls on the previous two visits, who else but AB. With Ahmedabad getting its own team next year and all the player contracts being discontinued at the end of this year, the outcome of AB’s auction (next year) should seem pretty straightforward. (The duty I have is to focus on the Daredevils and the only players whose excessive scrutiny might not bore the DD followers must be Sehwag & Gambhir. Nevertheless, pardon my AB indulgence)
From the previous DD-RR clashes, the memory most vivid is that of Yusuf Pathan dismantling Dan-the-man. So when they brought in Ladda (for Yomi), a few eye-brows shot up. One other thing that caught the eye even before the match started was how RR liked to be called ‘Underdogs’. If I glance through their squad they look anything but, especially having won this tournament already. They have proven international stars in Shane Watson, Shane Warne, Graeme Smith; potential international stars in Morne Morkel, Shaun Tait; capable international stars in Martyn, Dimitri?, Botha? ; IPL’s trump card in Yusuf Pathan; promising talent unearthed due to IPL in Naman Ojha, Asnodkar, Dogra; and quite possibly the best Indian ICL player in Jhunjhunwala. (Focus on DD dude)
Ok, here’s the match report: Nannes showed that a wood-cutter* can become an able bowler, but not an able fielder as the unlucky Maharoof went for a few without picking any wickets. However, once Mishra beat Ojha with a wrong ‘un and Yusuf went for a duck after coming in at no.4 (a tactical mistake?), any hopes of DD being stretched virtually vanished. Jhunjhunwala and Dogra tried well, and up to 141 the score went.
After being out-performed by Dilshan in the 1st game, Sehwag came prepared with a cunning plan. He decided to finish off the match before Dilshan even got a chance. To say he was successful would be an understatement. He scorched it, aced it, beat the opposition to a pulp and much more. Gambhir, sadly, let Sehwag down and let Dilshan in. Dilshan, having realized, he couldn’t match Sehwag stroke-for-stroke tried to revert the competition parameters. Sehwag, concerned the parameters might be changed, blazed away with increased vigor to a score of 75 from 34. The team was now at 99/3 from 10 and the competition was over.
AB could have drawn level with Gambhir had he stayed till the end, but he fell for a loopy wide delivery. Karthik and Manhas, free from any inner team battle pressures, stayed till the end and brought up a win that was indeed, emphatic.
There are times when I think how much better writing for RCB would be. In their case, there’s always a chance to complain. With DD, all I can complain is about how good they are. Let’s hope the match against Mumbai changes that, and gives me something to write about (kidding).
Inner team battles:
Dilshan(1) vs Sehwag(1)
Gambhir(1.5) vs AB (0.5)