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07-Oct-2011 02:10:00 GMT
Royal Challengers v NSW, 1st semi-final, CLT20, Bangalore

Indian Challengers Take on Aussies Blues

Bangalore: Just who will reap the rich harvest for the all the hard labour put in, will be unravelled when Bangalore take on New South Wales in the first semifinal of CLT20.

The New South Wales Blues have their task cut out in the last-four game against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday.

While the threat of rain seems to have receded, the dew factor is now coming into play when teams decide whether to bat first or chase.

RCB did the unthinkable when they scaled down the 215-peak set by the Redbacks, putting Daniel Harris' century, one of the finest seen in T20 cricket, in the shade.

Just a day earlier, the Blues, batting first, rode on their own centurion, the small built but powerful David Warner, to put it across CSK.

In effect that should mean RCB would prefer to continue chasing while the Blues would perhaps again want to set the tempo by batting first.

RCB will take heart from the fact that their epic run chase was accomplished without a telling contribution from Chris Gayle.

The last IPL season was a near one-man show for RCB but that has finally changed. Even in the opening game that they lost to the Warriors, there were contributions down the order that took them to a good total, though not enough.

What this could do is free up Gayle. If you think your team is overdependent on you, the little extra pressure can bring about mistakes.

Gayle can approach the Friday semifinal with that much more freedom and that will make him more dangerous.

With the batting coming on superbly, it is the bowling and fielding that continue to cause problems for RCB. Then again, with each side scoring in excess of 200, the bowlers cannot exactly be taken to task.

The fielding, more so the catching, cannot fall back on any such excuse. For example, should Warner or his highly capable opening partner Shane Watson be reprieved, RCB's attempt to make their first ever CLT20 final could go up in smoke.

The Blues, on the other hand, have been there and done that. They may have not qualified for the last edition in South Africa but in the inaugural one, they emerged champions.

Led by Simon Katich, who has a point or two to make to people back home, the Blues have the wherewithal to repeat their fate but if there is one team that looks red hot enough to stop them, it has to be RCB, who can expect a near full house to back them to the very end, even if six is again required off the final ball.

Even though Karthik struggled to get words out during that post-match interview, what he said was clear and instructive. He said he knew Daniel Christian would bowl a slower ball, the sixth of the over, and he just waited for it before giving it his all. The slower ball is no longer a surprise delivery in today's limited-overs cricket. In fact it is the new middle overs: the necessary evil. Hopefully there will be some real quick ones from Cummins and Dirk Nannes.

Teams from

Royal Challengers Bangalore
DL Vettori (capt), MA Agarwal, S Aravind, KB Arun Karthik (wk), RR Bhatkal, TM Dilshan, CH Gayle, M Kaif, V Kohli, A Mithun, DP Nannes, AUK Pathan, J Syed Mohammad, SS Tiwary, JJ van der Wath.

New South Wales SM Katich (capt), SR Clark, PJ Cummins, NM Hauritz, JR Hazlewood, MC Henriques, PJ Hughes, NJ Maddinson, SNJ O'Keefe, BJ Rohrer, DLR Smith (wk), SPD Smith, MA Starc, DA Warner, SR Watson.

Stats and trivia

  • The Royal Challenger's win over South Australia was the first time an IPL team had beaten an Australian team.

Match facts
Friday October 7, 2011 (day/night)
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

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