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Speaking about bouncing back from a defeat like the one against Kings XI Punjab, left-arm spinner Murali Kartik said, “IPL is a roller coaster ride. We had a good run and unfortunately for us one innings in a situation where nobody in their wildest dreams thought somebody could do play an innings like that happens. At the end of the day, as professionals you are used to such things. It happens once in a while and the strength of character is to bounce back and I think we have that, we have shown that, we have done exceedingly well so far. If somebody were to ask us, if we are happy to be in this position right now, we are in a good position so I don’t think it should be a problem.”
Although they have won all their home games, the Challengers have had a poor run in their away games. Reflecting on their losses in the away games, the senior bowler elaborated, “I think that is the way the IPL has panned out this year. It is difficult sometimes to put a finger on it. We have had our own introspective analysis as to some of the games where we have lost. CSK was something which we are still trying to figure out how it happened and MI was a misnomer. They played really well to get to 194 and we couldn’t chase it down. It is one of those situations. The game against Rajasthan Royals could have gone either way. If you look at other games, I think it is only the Mumbai Indians contest. As is said it has been really difficult to put a finger to it. We have had a look at how things have happened or panned out in those games.”
So would the Daredevils be another opportunity to win an away match since the hosts have lost a few games at home. Kartik’s take was, “Can anyone say that any team will take any other team lightly? As cricketers we don’t take anyone lightly. The Daredevils are a very good team and it is another matter that sometimes there is a year when a team doesn’t click or things don’t work out. But at the end of the day when you are in the top and some other team is below they can hurt you. You are more aware of a wounded tiger then somebody who is hale and hearty. I don’t think even in our wildest dreams we will take somebody lightly.”
Of his own team and if RP Singh’s bowling has been a concern sometimes, he said, “If you are bowling a crucial over and it doesn’t go your way, people are always going to point fingers at you. But at the end of the day if you take all the games he has had before, like the three for thirteen (against RR) he has started off brilliantly. These things happen. When somebody is entrusted with a crucial over he will either be the hero or get blamed, so it is one of those things.”
Speaking about their batting and whether there is dependence on Chris Gayle, he explained, “I don’t think it is exactly like that but obviously Gayle is a big influence. A destructive batsman like him, who plays like he does... we talk about Virender Sehwag, because they are players like that, of that caliber. So obviously teams do depend on the starts that they can provide, their performance to a good extent, but it is not like RCB has won all the matches because of Gayle alone. There have been times when Gayle got out early and AB de Villiers batted. Initially Virat Kohli was the Orange Cap holder and at that time Gayle hadn’t made so many runs and was behind him in the run-getters list. It is wrong to say that we are entirely dependent on him but also it is not the exact opposite. We depend on him to give us the kind of starts which only he can give. So he is a factor. His is a wicket which every team wants. So we can say it is partially true.”
What is it like for him, as a bowler, to watch such innings as Gayle’s, or being at the receiving end of it? Kartik said, “It is never pleasant even when I was sitting in the dug out or sitting in the pavilion looking out at what Chris Gayle was doing. You feel bad for the bowlers. I have always been a bowler’s persona and it has never been a pleasant thing. As bowlers you always get blamed because we are ones who go out in the nets and get hit by the batsman and the same happens in the match as well. So as Anil (Kumble) rightly called it we are ‘Cattle Class’.”
Discussing batting further and the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahul Dravid successfully scoring runs without appearing as destructive as Gayle, he stated, “Twenty20 is all about hitting but at the end of the day the kind of shots which they have played have been cricketing shots and there have been aggressive cricketing shots. There is a place for everything. Everybody have their own choice and they have got their own game plan on how to go about it. I can’t bat like Gayle, Rahul Dravid cannot bat like Virender Sehwag and vice versa. So you have to look at what you can do to make your game better in T20 cricket and that is exactly what Rahul and Cheteshwar and all these classical players have done.Somebody like a Sanju V playing the inside out shot consistently, it is a very classical shot so guys have adapted, looked at what they can do within their own game plan.”
While speaking about the role of Zaheer Khan and his influence although he is yet to play a game, Kartik said, “He is someone who has always done a back room job. He always talks to all the young seamers whether it is during the game, after the game or during practice. The likes of Abhimanyu Mithun or Jaidev Unadkat, RP (Singh) keep having a chat with him and he is always there mentoring them with all that experience. He is always there doing a back room job.”
Eighth placed Delhi Daredevils clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 57 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
Table-toppers in IPL 2012, things have not quite clicked for the Delhi Daredevils as they have managed to win only three of their twelve matches so far. After a poor start to the season, DD back got into contention for a place in the Pepsi IPL 2013 Play-Offs by winning two matches at Raipur. However, they have failed to carry that momentum forward and have finished second best in their two most recent matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals. While a victory in this match will not only bring joy to their supporters, it will also hurt their opponent’s chances of progressing to the Play-Offs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have 14 points from 12 matches, though they have won only one of their six away matches. With several teams tightly packed at the top of the table, RCB need to win at least two more of their remaining four matches to remain in contention for a place in the Pepsi IPL 2013 Play-Offs. In their previous outing, RCB were blown away by Kings XI Punjab – thanks to David Miller’s 38-ball century.
Friday, May 10, 2013, 8 p.m
Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi
Given the kind of reputations they carry, Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardene and David Warner are the most important batsmen in the Delhi Daredevils’ ranks. While Sehwag and Jayawardene powered DD to a convincing win over KXIP, the team has had little else in terms of match-winning knocks from them. Warner played an influential part in the team’s wins over PWI and KKR and is the team’s top run-getter too. With little or no pressure riding on their shoulders, we could yet see the best from these players.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary have all scored half-centuries for RCB this season. In these circumstances, it would not be wrong to call batting as RCB’s strength. Numbers agree too; RCB have lost the fewest wickets of all the teams this season, have the best overall scoring rate (8.55) and have the highest runs-per-wicket too (34.36). For the third season running, Gayle has scored more than 500 runs in a season and is in a close fight with CSK’s Michael Hussey for the Orange Cap. Though Kohli has not scored a half-century in the last six innings, the lack of runs from him has been made up by spectacular finishes from AB de Villiers who has scored his runs at a strike-rate of 165 this season.
Although the head-to-head record between the Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore reads five wins apiece, it is RCB who have dominated matches between the two teams in recent times. Not only did RCB defeat the Delhi Daredevils in the Super Over when the two teams met at Bengaluru earlier this season, they also beat DD in the three matches prior to that.
Royal Challengers Bangalore is one of the two teams who have not been bowled out this season. Sunrisers Hyderabad is the other team.
Spinners have been very effective at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium; the overall economy rate of spinners this season at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium is 6.02 (as opposed to the economy rate of 7.54 for quick bowlers).
Delhi Daredevils head to Chennai for their match against Chennai Super Kings on May 14 while the Royal Challengers Bangalore head to Ranchi for their away fixture against the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 12.