Tusker challenge for RCB

Vettoris boys eye perfect start against debutants in opening tie

Tusker challenge for RCB

Fresh off India’s World Cup success, Virat Kohli will have a huge role to play, alongside AB de Villiers, for the Royal Challengers in IPL IV. DH Photo

Their hurriedness and anxiety were quite understandable. The first Indian Premier League match on Kochi soil will be staged on Saturday, and everybody wants to be a part of it. It’s their big day and it has come after innumerable struggles and legal tangles.
The crowd will certainly anticipate the happiest result for the home side, but they will also look out for the highest quality cricket, something they now have been accustomed to in the last few weeks during the World Cup. In that sense, the two protagonists – Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kochi Tuskers Kerala – have a huge responsibility.

They will have to make sure that the spectators go back home relishing the memories of an entertaining contest and they will have to do that without compromising on their intent for a winning start to the tournament.

Winning start

Terms like winning start and gaining momentum might sound a bit clichéd, particularly in the Twenty20 format, but it’s a fact in a six-week long tournament like the IPL. So, both the teams will be eager to get off the block in a sprightly fashion and it’s also a matter of convincing themselves about the solidity of the squad.

Let’s take a glance at RCB. They have presented to the world a new squad and a new captain in Daniel Vettori and they will have to convince the followers that this bunch of players is as competent as the one that played for the last three years.

Under Anil Kumble, the Bangalore outfit had conquered some really high peaks while developing into a feared unit in the last couple of years. Now, Vettori and his wards will have to maintain those standards and nothing short of a commanding victory in the first match will help them achieve it. Such a result can instill a lot of self confidence in the team while sending a strong warning to their rivals and positive signals to their believers, very crucial elements with so much hinging on the outcome of the competition for the players and the owners alike.

They indeed have a set of players who can propel the team to newer heights. In Vettori, they have a shrewd captain and a canny left-arm spinner. The destructive abilities of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been well-chronicled while Zaheer Khan provides the cutting edge to their bowling attack.

“We’ve a good and balanced unit that I believe will help us to go all the way in the IPL. Now, it’s all about staying together and helping each other. It’s very important in a format like the IPL,” RCB skipper Daniel Vettori said.

Kochi are the beginners of the tournament and they will be desperate for a favourable verdict in their first-ever IPL match to get more public support. But they have a group of players who have experienced the frenetic pace and demands of IPL over the last three years.

Players like skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Brendon McCullum, Thisara Perera, Parthiv Patel, S Sreesanth and Ravindra Jadeja are match-winners in their own right. Add the experience and skills of Muttiah Muralitharan to the mix, and you have a team that can spring quite a few surprises.

Teams (from):

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori (capt), Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan, Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, A Mithun, Dirk Nannes, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohommad Kaif, Charl Langeveldt, Nuwan Pradeep, Johan van der Wath, Jonathan Vandiar, KB Arun Karthik, CM Gautam, Raju Bhatkal, S Arvind, Ryan Ninan, Asad Pathan, Rile Roussouw, Luke Pomersbach, Mayank Agarwal, Abrar Kazi, Bhareth Narayann.

Kochi Tuskers Kerala: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Muttiah Muralitharan, VVS Laxman, S Sreesanth, Parthiv Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Ramesh Powar, R Vinay Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Steve Smith, Thisara Perera, Brad Hodge, Michael Klinger, John Hastings, Owais Shah, Steve O’Keefe, B Akhil, Chandan Madan, Deepak Chougule, Kedar Jadhav, Raiphi Vincent Gomez, Sushant Marathe, Tanmay Srivastava, Y Gnaneshwara Rao, Yashpal Singh, Prasanth Padmanabhan.

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