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AB, Murali turn it around

Express news service

Posted: Apr 09, 2012 at 1517 hrs IST

Bangalore: Royal Challengers Bangalore couldnít field their biggest star, Chris Gayle, who sat out because of a groin injury, but the four foreigners they fielded made it count as they played key roles in their 20-run win over Delhi Daredevils at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald showed that he can use the long handle when he hit four boundaries and two sixes and though it is difficult for any batsman to replicate Gayleís strike rate, the Victoria playerís 30 off 19 helped RCB to maintain a steady run-rate though they lost early wickets.

Irfan Pathan has been in fine form with the bat but the poor showing with the ball on Saturday was only an extension of his form in One-day Internationals. McDonald was the first batsman from Bangaloreís foreign stable to take a liking for Pathanís gentle medium pace. McDonaldís scoring sequence in the third over of the innings, Pathanís second of the innings read: 4, 4 6 and 4. Pathanís first spell read 2-0-23-0. The day was only going to get worse for Pathan. Doug Bracewell took three wickets and Morne Morkel two but the thrashing Pathan received in both his spells changed the equation.

Convention, out of the stadium

The 17th over of the innings marked the start of Pathanís second spell. He conceded eight runs in that over of which four came off the last ball following a paddle sweep from AB de Villiers. Unfortunately for Pathan and Daredevils, the former Delhi batsmen had a trick too many up his sleeve on the day.

One of the stock balls that the left-arm seamer uses these days ó the wide yorker ó went wrong and de Villiers, in an unconventional bent of mind, made them look worse than they actually were. At 56 for three, which included the wicket of the in-form Virat Kohli, Bangalore were in a spot of bother but de Villiers executed two audacious reverse hooks off Pathan, the first one for a six and the next a four, in an over that cost Delhi 18 runs. The third ball of that Pathan over, the 19th of the innings, was hit by de Villiers to backward square-leg for a four.

Slow death

De Villiers wasnít the only RCB player who effectively Ďturned aroundí the fortunes. Aaron Finch the Victoria all-rounder flayed the first three balls of the Daredevils innings, delivered by Zaheer Khan, through the covers. Khan struck in the fifth ball when Virender Sehwag cut straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at cover. However, Naman Ojha kept up the tempo with a four and six in consecutive balls off R Vinay Kumar. The two batsmen found it easy against the pacers, so Vettori turned to spin by bringing himself on in the seventh over of the innings and bowling in tandem with Muttiah Muralitharan. The six over period of spin saw Delhi lose three wickets, all to the old fox Murali, and score just 30 runs. Muraliís first spell read 3-0-11-3. The fall in the scoring rate and the loss of wickets were a crushing blow for Delhi, one they didnít recover from.

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