In Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot, two characters wait endlessly for the arrival of someone named Godot, believing that his appearance would change their fortunes forever. The poor duo is not sure when he'd come or if they were even waiting for him at the right place, but they nevertheless believed that Godot would alleviate their burden.
Much like the duo waiting for Godot, the players, fans and team management of Royal Challengers Bangalore had been awaiting the arrival of the England fast bowler Chris Jordon, believing that he would be the answer to the team's prayers. But unlike the Godot in the play, this Jordon did make an appearance and that is where the script almost went wrong for RCB.
Instead of being the spearhead of the bowling attack and thus banishing RCB's worries, Jordon almost turned out to be the team's weakest link. But King's XI Punjab batsman Marcus Stoinis scored only four runs off the last three balls to provide Jordan and RCB a last-gasp escape from ignominy. The thrilling one-run win provided RCB their second consecutive victory in IPL and kept alive their hopes of squeezing into the semi-finals. They now have eight points from nine matches.
In his debut match against the Rising Pune Supergiants last week, Jordon struggled with length and gave away 43 runs from four overs. At that time, his full tosses were explained as being caused by the city's altitude, which made the ball travel a bit farther than he would have bargained for. Jordon, it was expected, would make the requisite adjustments before long.
But his showing on Monday at Mohali was worse, if anything. He got plastered on both sides of the wicket and bowled everything except his famed yorkers: Short-pitched balls, length balls and a variety of full tosses, most of which were clobbered with glee by Murali Vijay and company. His figures of 4-0-52-0 — the worst in yield and economy rate by any bowler on either side — tells its own tale.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli must have had a prayer on his lips when he threw the ball to Jordon for the final over. KXIP needed 17 runs from six deliveries. Jordon's first ball was a full toss and was whipped to square leg where Yuzvendra Chahal made the most important save of the match.
Jordon bowled with four men guarding the fence on the leg side and with just a long off deep on the off. All four mandatory fielders within the circle were stationed on the off-side. The field placement was clearly set for leg stump-line yorkers. However, Stoinis stepped away from his stumps and drilled the second delivery to the cover fence, while the third one was a length delivery, which got duly lofted over long-off for a six. Now, a mere six runs were needed from three deliveries. But with victory in sight, Stoinis choked while Jordon kept his nerve and bowled a slower delivery and two low full tosses on the off stump line to concede just four runs.
While Jordon's last over provided all the drama, it was the 17th and 19th overs, both bowled by Shane Watson, which made the crucial difference between victory and defeat. The all-rounder who probably understands the mindset of a batsman better than most bowlers, mixed it up superbly with slower ones, short-pitched bouncers, yorkers and angled deliveries to concede just three and seven runs in those two overs. Additionally, he also dismissed the dangerous Murali Vijay (89; 57b 12x4 1x6) who had played the innings of his life. Chahal (4-0-30-1) too struck at crucial times, though one of his scalps (Saha) went into the record books as a run-out.
Watson's figures of 4-0-22-2 fetched him the man-of-the-match award. His teammate AB de Villiers, who had earlier batted like the champion he is, would certainly have run him very close for the honour. It was de Villiers' 88-run partnership with Sachin Baby for the fourth wicket that helped RCB recover from a situation of peril at 67 for three. While the other RCB batsmen were struggling to come to terms with the pitch and huge boundaries, ABD was in a different league altogether. His innovative strokes, including sweeping paceman Sandeep Sharma for two sixes, were truly awe-inspiring.
RCB's total of 175 for six was a tribute to the team's batting depth. They lost two key batsmen — Kohli (20) and Watson (1) — cheaply, but still managed to notch up a competitive total. While their bowling might have defended three targets this season, it is their batting that must seize the initiative in the rest of the matches.
Published Date: May 10, 2016 11:43 am | Updated Date: May 10, 2016 11:43 am