Kallis blues for Challengers

Kallis blues for Challengers

Hero or villian? Jacques Kallis’ go-slow batting has made things difficult for the Royal Challengers.

Statistics, however, tell only one part of the tale. Kallis’ impressive batting numbers stem from a sensational run at the start of the competition. The disparity in numbers between the first and second halves makes for dramatic reading.

While it will be unjust to dump the entire blame on the Challengers’ current predicament on the Protean, there is no doubt that the 34-year-old has had an influential part to play in the Bangalore team having to desperately scramble for a semifinal berth.

After a whirlwind start that saw them win four of their first five games, the Challengers have since won just two of the next seven. Kallis was instrumental in that brilliant early run; he has equally been the millstone that has dragged the team down in the next phase.

Savour these numbers. In those first five matches, Kallis made 283 runs, once dismissed, for an incredible average of 283 and a strike rate of 132.86. The last seven games have yielded 245 runs at 35, and the strike rate has dipped alarmingly to 110.36.

Kallis, of course, is not a one-man army. Indeed, he and Rahul Dravid – who has shown sensational touch – are considered the stablisers in an order otherwise full of heavy arsenal. Where he must assume blame is in putting immense pressure on the batsmen to follow by occupying the crease for long periods without too much to show as returns.
The Challengers’ slump began at home against the Delhi Daredevils, where Kallis made a 29-ball 27. His approach was only slightly different in the next game in Chennai, when after a flying start, he decelerated for no discernible reason. Three overs in the last quarter of the innings produced just 10 runs, meaning the Super Kings were left to chase a modest target.

Against the Daredevils at the Kotla, with 184 needed, Kallis was involved in a bizarre stand with Kevin Pietersen as overs six through ten brought a measly 20. After a blazing 68 against the Chargers at home, he was at it again in Nagpur on Monday, taking 37 deliveries for a painstaking 27 to make a middling target appear insurmountable.
As it turned out. Kallis’ value with the ball – he hasn’t completed his quota just thrice in 12 innings – makes him a crucial cog in Anil Kumble’s wheel, but of late, he has bogged the team down despite enjoying the luxury of field restrictions and left the likes of Robin Uthappa and Ross Taylor with too much to do in too little time. Surely, a rethink in approach, if not of personnel, is imperative?

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