Royal Challengers Bangalore v Warriors at Bangalore
|The death at the death ^^|
What a wonderful opening match, energetic, closely fought, with great performances by both teams, and won by good running off the last ball. You really couldn't have asked for anything better, except perhaps for an audience more appreciative of good, exciting cricket.
For the third time in a row I find myself tremendously enjoying this tournament, no matter how many Indian teams are taking part in order to improve attendances, TV ratings, or to make an Indian winner more likely.
I think the point of the Champions League lies somewhere else. You still get to see the deserving domestic teams from all bigger cricketing nations, and being able to enjoy the Warriors again, this wonderful organic combination of many of my all-time Saffa faves, captain Johan Botha, the eternal Nicky Boje, the ginger dominator Rusty Theron, the good old Lonwabo Tsotsobe aka Tsobie ((C) PFCNFS), and the legend that is Mark Boucher, as if they had not been away from the screen for one year, felt as pleasant, refreshing and inspiring as in 2010.
I am actually wiping a tear over Botha's stunning knock and the way Rusty turned up in his second and final spell. Like warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream: comfy food for the cricket connoisseur. Plus, somebody said Nicky Boje was 38 - I deem this a blatant lie :D
And on top of that, due to the lopsidedness towards the IPL participants, a whole bunch of other favourite players of mine appear in the competition as well. With delight I watched Daniel Vettori putting in a fighting performance with the ball as the captain of "the opposition", Anil Kumble was jumping around, AB de Villiers played his part, and the Messrs Kohli and Gayle do at least command my respect.
So I will keep enjoying this tournament as in the years before, even the matches in which none of my favoured teams are playing; in fact the CL is one of the highlights of my personal cricket year, and of course it would be nice if the Redbacks or NSW or Somerset or some Saffas made it to the final, but even if not, there's always a bunch of guys playing for who you can keep your fingers crossed. Thanks for that, Lalit.
This post also appeared on DieHard Cricket Fans