Having notched up a morale-boosting win over Delhi Daredevils without some of their star players, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) faced another test of character when they faced Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) yesterday at Holkar stadium. RCB began their campaign without skipper and star batsman Virat Kohli as well as another key player A B de Villiers due to injuries and lost their match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
RCB has also lost Indian batsman Lokesh Rahul for the entire tournament owing to an injury and the talented Sarfaraz Khan was also unavailable for the season after hurting himself on the field during a practice match.
Kohli was anyways not ready to play and even the medical assessments told that he wont be able to play for a couple of weeks which is why Glenn Maxwell happened to step into Kohli’s shoes as a captain. Explosive South African batsman de Villiers was once again a doubtful starter and in his absence Shane Watson continued to lead the side as an interim captain. Watson had marshalled his bowling resources well in RCB’s 15-run win over Delhi at home, himself taking one wicket and bowling economically by conceding just 21 runs from his quota of four overs.
The KXIP squad has been training at the Holkar Stadium for about 10 days now and was well-versed with the conditions. The team was dealt a blow in the run up to the IPL when senior batsman Murali Vijay was ruled due to an injury. Pacer Ishant Sharma, who went unsold in the auction, was named Vijay’s replacement. Wriddhiman Saha is no MS Dhoni. There is nothing fancy about the way he looks or carries himself. His batting is old-school too. But talk about wicketkeeping and there arises his ‘awesomeness’. As R Sridhar, Kings XI Punjab’s fielding coach, likes to put it, “Wriddhiman Saha is the best wicketkeeper in the world. Period.”
He wasn’t exaggerating, Saha has pulled off brilliant catches and made terrific saves in the past. Today, was no different. Among some amazing stops that he made behind the wicket, there was the catch to dismiss Mandeep Singh. The batsman pulled Varun Aaron’s delivery, but ended up getting a top edge. The ball went high up in the air behind the wicketkeeper. Saha ran backwards and even as he found himself wrongly positioned, he made up for it with a superb last-minute dive to pouch the chance.
Axar Patel won the man of the match for his best performance on the field while Kings XI Punjab celebrated their mini victory. Overall it was an undistinguished match to watch with some sleepy moments and some freaking ones.