Sunday, July 14, 2024

Lee’s bowling crucial in Knight Riders’ victory


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By Jacques Kallis

 I have always been interested in how sportsmen

are ‘measured’ in terms of success and failure. There are the obvious ways, of course, like goals or runs and wickets, but sometimes that simply isn’t enough.

Cricketers are always aware of the contributions made by their team mates over and above just runs and wickets but sometimes we wonder just how many people outside the team realise just how much a player does to influence the course of a match.

Obviously Brett Lee received plenty of praise for his bowling in the last match against the Super Kings but I wonder how many people actually realise the enormity of what it takes to produce a bowling spell like his.

His first three overs cost just five runs! And his fourth cost just three more! I suppose it must be impossible for people to understand just exactly how difficult it is to produce figures like that unless they have first hand experience of bowling at a very high level.

What is it equivalent to in batting? A 50 off 25 balls? No. It’s much harder than that. More like 50 off 15 balls. It was the single most important factor in our victory against CSK. Never mind the rain and Duckworth Lewis, and all the other excellent performances, because ‘Binger’ won the game. And he didn’t even take a wicket!

I have been on both sides of the equation. Sometimes I can bat at the top of the order and make 60 under no pressure and people say I won the game — but I know it was the bowlers who won the game.

On other occasions I can bowl a couple of vital dot balls at a critical stage of the game and nobody even seems to notice!

Anyway, the first part of the job has been done. But although we have qualified for the semi final, it is not time to start thinking about it. The next game against Royal Challengers is going to a huge occasion and, no doubt, many people will see it as an indicator of form for the knockout stages.

Bangalore have been in daunting form recently and Chris Gayle keeps showing that when he scores runs, his team wins — whoever they are.

Lee vs Gayle…now that’s a contest worth paying to see.


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