Play offs for 3rd place for this year’s IPL offers the incentive of a place in the next T20 Champions League. The Royal Challengers take on the Deccan Chargers in Mumbai on Saturday and RCB are the favourites.
Who can pick themselves after semi final disappointment? The Royal Challengers were comfortably beaten (35 runs) by the Mumbai Indians in Wednesday’s semi final whilst The Chargers fell 38 runs short when chasing a modest Super Kings total on Thursday. Both the semi finals were played in Mumbai and both were won by the side batting first.
Despite the comfortable winning / losing margins in the semi finals both RCB and Deccan had their chances. RCB got the prize wicket of Tendulkar early doors and looked to be on their way to restricting Mumbai to a manageable total until a combination of slack bowling and awesome hitting saw Mumbai cut loose and eventually post 184/5. RCB were never really in the chase. Meanwhile the Chargers restricted the Super Kings to 142 and were trading deep in the red at the interval before failing miserably in the chase.
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 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.
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.
Prior to the semi finals, Deccan won 8 of their 14 games including 5 straight wins to reach the semi finals. RCB won 7 of 14 with 4 of those wins coming in the first 5 games and just 3 in the last 9.
In the head to heads, both meetings were won by the Deccan Chargers who came out on top by 7 wickets in Bangalore on April 8th and by 13 runs when the sides met in Nagpur shortly afterwards. This is also a repeat of last years final when The Chargers won by 6 runs at The Wanderers.
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 wicket keeper said yesterday in his post-match comments yesterday.
Head to Head:
Deccan Chargers lead the head to head record against Royal Challengers Bangalore by a slender margin of 4 – 3. This season, the Chargers won both the “home” and away ties against RCB. At the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore
Win the toss and bat first seems to be formula. The Chargers have chopped and changed a lot and may well do so again. RCB have been more consistent with selection but may shake things up. I’ll place a bet when the teams are announced and the toss is decided.
Last year’s finalists will now have to settle for a consolation prize of qualifying for the Champions League T20. Deccan Chargers will be keen to bounce back after the mauling they got against Chennai, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore will be eager to get their revenge for the loss in the final of IPL-2. Expect the game to be a close affair, and Deccan to continue their impressive record against Bangalore of late, by picking up their fourth successive win.