17 September 2010

All Red Things Come In Threes

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Redbacks

I don't get it. I am sitting here laughing helplessly, grabbing my head, and just don't get it. How bloody unbelievable is this team? The match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore had been the one I had deemed unwinnable. The team looks so scary on paper: Kallis, White, Steyn, Kumble, Kohli, Dravid, P Kumar, Uthappa, and of course the mighty LRPL! I didn't even have du Preez on the screen at that point.

I honestly thought if they don't totally slay the Saussies with the bat then they will definitely stone them to death.
Neither happened. No clue where to start from, who to mention first... let the facts speak:

Dan frickn Christian  (c) AFP
The Redbacks, yes, the leaky trundlers in the park, restricted the Challengers to 154. Except for Ross Taylor and du Preez, who whacked it really big, none of the batsmen reached double figures (Cameron White's 25 off 29 counts as single digit score, this is a T20).  

Shaun Tait struck in the first over, Gary Putland in the second; dream start for the Spideys. Tait bowled at under 6 an over, he is like wine, getting better and better. Or scarier and scarier. Ross Taylor, my admittedly favourite Kiwi one day skipper, remained entirely unimpressed: 46 off 33 really hurt me in the head. The eternal Klinger pulled a rabbit out of the hat and brought Tait back on for the 9th over. Hallelujah, praise the lord! Wicked stroke of genius from the new skipper, Taylor gone, innings gone. Nearly. Dillon du Preez at the other end hammered 46 from 25 and made a feast of the spinners.

High time for the next big tadaaaa: Dan frickn Christian, the saviour of mankind, entered the arena in the 17th over and GOT HIM. At this stage madness had already befallen me. But the guys with the stretcher came running in when in the last over Christian's little sausage fingers greedily grabbed the wickets 8, 9 and 10, and he thusly finished with 4-23 at 6.00. How, I am asking you, how could anyone of us ever doubt him?? We do not deserve his sight, we have not earned the pleasure of watching him bowl, field... or even bat. Speaking of fielding, we were granted another utmost fine display of will, determination and application, (Daniel Harris and Callum Ferguson for instance) but that goes without saying already!

What shall I say about the second innings... nothing happened! Michael Klinger carried bat, Daniel Harris nearly did so as well, Graham Manou went for a duck and The Fergum carried his team home. It was absolutely hilarious. Had Klinger and Harris not set off for this one suicidal single,that saw Harris eventually run out, I bet my entire backside that both would have survived the innings unharmed, which must be pretty extraordinary even for a T20. So that runout was a real heartbreak moment and I couldn't help swearing like a lumberjack. No clue why Manou came in with approximately 30 runs to get at about a run a ball, Fergs in the dugout, being the deputy, could have easily promoted himself, and thus have avoided another moment of snapping nerves - mine had been going zingg zingg zingg for 24 hours straight-, but that's irrelevant now, he and Klinger just made a mockery of the big names and took easy singles and twos and cracked the whip where possible.

So at the end the Redbacks defeated the mighty Royal Challengers by 8 wickets and with 9 balls to spare. A big box of kudos has to go to the magical partnership of Klinger and Harris again, after a slightly scratchy start, at which they had to see off the new ball, their sensible and careful batting started to pay off and after a while even the great Kumble couldn't restrict them anymore. Dale Steyn was suffering from his recurring elbow problem and after a venomous first over he couldn't pose a threat anymore and got taken apart.

Now Kaptain Klinger has three wins from as many international matches in his CV, and in all of these matches he scored half tons that served as a base for the victories. Yes we knew that he is good, but he has now lead his team into the semi finals, needless to say that he also retained his golden bat as the leading runscorer of the tournament.  

Dan frickn Christian amazingly nicked the golden stumps from Rusty Theron, what a cheeky little fellow! Ah well as long as they remain in good hands I will not oppose.

No clue if any of this makes sense, I am off to indulge in happiness. And to return from the dead. And to repair my senses. Which is quite an ask. Because I doubt that the nerves shop is still open. The positive side of this insanity is that now we can all relax and cheer for the Bushrangers tomorrow, who have an equally huge task on their hands, but only won one out of their two group matches so far.



Mahek said...

I loved how Harris and Klinger played such risk-free cricket. It amazes me that teams often ignore the importance of using every ball to score runs and focus on hitting fours and sixes.

It helped that Kallis didn't play but maybe it wouldn't have mattered in the end. Steyn is a shockingly bad T20 bowler, something no one really talks about because he's such a terrific test bowler. The biggest test for the Redbacks will come in the knockouts as I think the other group is much stronger.

half-tracker said...

Dan is worthy of his seat at the table headed by Jim. There is room in this world for those we thought could only survive in New Zealand in one dayers in the 1990s, the trundlers who bang the ball in then give it a clobber with the bat. Dan Dan Dan Dan Dan, what do you do to people? ;-)

Wes ~PFCNFS~ said...

Hello Mahek, the thing with most players is that once they have hit a six or a boundary the adrenaline makes them do stupid things, the cheers of the audience and the glove bump with partner seriously messes with their brains I think. Some cricketers manage to keep a cool head and call themselves to reason, I think Klinger and Harris are two of them. Didn't know that Steyn was rubbish at T20s, why are they playing him then or booking him for the IPL? His name can't win any matches, can it!

Big cheers HT! You name it. Hope Hamps will seize him again next year, he has a whole Australian summer ahead to keep maturing further.

Mahek said...

Steyn has a good record in international T20s so you'd imagine he would do well in these games. For some reason he doesn't. I'm a hardcore stats guy so it pisses me off when players keep getting chances because "there is something about them".

Sometimes reputation counts more than performance. The IPL franchises don't do a great job of spotting good players before they get famous. Sure there have been some picks like Warner, Nannes, Marsh but generally they'll prefer someone who has a reputation. That is why Kieron Pollard didn't find any takers in 2009 even though his base price was just $50,000. One Champions League later he was bought for $750,000 plus whatever Mumbai paid the IPL to outbid the others who were trying to buy him.

Rahul said...

Just wasn't shocked being a RCB follower. After seeing SA beat Mumbai the way they did, I did deem this match unwinnable; add to that Kallis not in the XI - yeah, duPreez played an unexpected part with the bat but if Jacques was around the chance of top order crumbling would have been minimal. So the result didn't actually surprise me. These freaking Red Backs have some awesome balls and I see them making more eyes pop in the future. Haven't followed much of this team but I can say picking a few early, very early wickets can be a way to knock these spiders.

Ben said...

Enjoy your indulgence in happiness. i shall be doing teh same thing, and have been already for about a day and a half :)