Kumble wins the toss, Bangalore to bat first
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Anil Kumble won the toss and elected to bat against Victoria Bushrangers in the first League B match of the Champions League on Thursday.
Both the teams took the same stop-start route to the Super Eight stage, tasting both win and defeat before eventually making the top-eight cut. With little margin for error in the League segment, both the teams would be hoping to get off to a winning start.
For Kumble and his teammates, playing before home crowd can work both ways. While it would ensure that there would not be any dearth of support, it also means additional pressure, which the Indian Premier League runners-up would have to cope up with.
The local favourites did not start well, losing their tournament opener to Cape Cobras by five wickets before South African old warhorse Jacques Kallis inspired them to a comprehensive 80-run win over Otago Volts that cleared their Super Eight passage.
Bangalore's top-order is formidable enough to give sleepless nights to any attack and with Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor in good nick, Victorian bowlers have their task cut out.
And even if the top order fumbles, the Challengers can rely on Rahul Dravid to bail them out, something the former India captain has done time and again in his illustrious career.
In comparison, their bowling unit may look a little low on glamour but Victoria would do well not to underestimate an attack that includes Praveen Kumar, Kallis, Kumble and Roelof van der Merwe.
Victoria, however, can draw inspiration from the fact that they bulldozed the mighty Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets with 20 balls to go in their tournament opener.
It was a surgical display by Shane Harwood, Clint McKay and Andrew McDonald who restricted the Daredevils to a meagre 98/8 before Rob Quiny and captain Cameron White saw them through.
The Victorian giant-killers, however, stepped on a banana skin in their next encounter against the lowly Wayamba Elevens, losing the low-scoring tie by 15 runs even though it could not halt their Super Eight march.
Once again, the Victorians bowlers did a decent job against the Lankans restricting them to 118/9 but their batsmen goofed up, managing just 103 runs even though they had lost just four wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Anil Kumble (Capt.), Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Mark Boucher, Balachandra Akhil, Roelof van der Merwe, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn.
Victoria Bushrangers: Cameron White (Capt.), Rob Quiney, Brad Hodge, Aiden Blizzard, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Matthew Wade, Clint McKay, Shane Harwood, Jon Holland, Peter Siddle.