Adam Gilchrist and Anil Kumble in a press conference ahead of CL T20
The inaugural CL T20 began yesterday with Bangalore Royal Challengers taking on the Cape Cobras from South Africa. CL T20 has been touted as the first global domestic league and has received lots of press. The Challenger trophy event which is being played simultaneously has almost gone unnoticed. The Challenger trophy for me is more the measure of a young talent than the Bang Bash CL T20. Anyways keeping that aside lets analyze the IPL teams participating in this event and how they stack against the rest.
Bangalore Royal Challengers:
Touted as the Test X1 as opposed to a T20 team in the first edition of IPL, they surprised one and all by entering the finals in the second edition. Yesterday they played the Cape Cobras and put up a decent show. BLR scored 180 batting first only to be defeated by a great innings from Jean-Paul Duminy who remained unbeaten on 99. Bangalore team is a mix of youth and experience but very light on bowling. Yeah they have Kumble but he doesn’t bowl often these days and if they don’t choose Steyn then their bowling is pretty thin. Kallis has not had a great time with the ball in T20 and Praveen Kumar does not have the pace to trouble the batsmen in the final overs. It seems like the bowling depends too much on Steyn and Kumble. Batting wise they have some exciting talent. They have Ross Taylor, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey (Scored the first hundred by an Indian in T20) and then experience with Rahul Dravid, Kallis, Uthappa and Boucher. But when you compare BRC with the rest of the teams in the competition, it will be a surprise if they make it to the final stages.
They are the winners of the IPL 2 and have a balanced lineup. The team has fire power in batting as well as in bowling. The bowling has pace with Edwards and batting has Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds. They will do okay in the competition if they bat well. RP Singh has been in a really bad form which means that they have to play Vaas in his place. The spin department will be taken by Pragyan Ojha who has been great whenever he played for the country. But one thing noticed in the IPL 2 was that their bowling lacks consistency and they rely too much on Gilchrist to get them off to a flier.
They will miss Hershelle Gibbs in CLT20, who was one of the main contributors in the IPL 2 for DC. Even though they have some good youngsters in the middle order, their chances squarely rest on how Adam Gilchrist plays. That probably might be a big disadvantage for the team. Rohit Sharma off course will have to play a major role along with Venugopala Rao. I guess they have the fire power to make it to the semis, more so than BRC.
Probably the best team among the three IPL entrants in the competition. Explosive batting and a good bowling lineup makes DD one of the favorites where ever they play. Batting comprises of Sehwag, Dilshan, Ghambir, Devilliers and also Dinesh Karthik. The batting is solid and the bowling also is pretty solid with Nannes, Nehra, McGrath (If he plays), and Mishra. So that sums up the squad pretty much. The batting has quality and aggression and bowling has consistency and pace. Sehwag is making a return to competitive cricket after a break and would want to get back to his groove before the all important series against the Aussies. Ghambir newly named as the captain of the Daredevils has been in fantastic form. Dilshan has been explosive over the past year and has played some blinders for SL in that period.
The bowling also has pace with Nannes, consistency with McGrath and Nehra and spin will be in good hands with Mishra. All in all DD have the best chance of reaching the finals of the three IPL entrants in this competition. They play Victoria later today and I hope that they start their campaign on a winning note.
That pretty much ends my analysis of the three IPL teams in the competition. I would have personally preferred youngsters like Kohli playing in the challengers rather than in the CLT20 but thats my opinion. I hope the youngsters in the teams take this as an experiance and pick the brains of the stalwarts they are privileged to share the dressing room with. Dhoni pretty much summed up the T20 leagues after India’s CT exit when he said “T20 should not be the yardstick for the team selection”. So I dont think this is going to help any youngster to improve their skills but can be used as a experiance to play against the best in the world.