These blooming Aussies, hey!

2010-09-18 00:00

THEY have only gone and done it again. The South Australian Redbacks won their third straight match in the Champions League last night, this time drubbing the Royal Challengers of Bangalore by eight wickets at Kingsmead.

They are now the first team to make the final four, and all this before they have played their easiest match on paper, against Guyana.

The Challengers lamented the loss of Jacques Kallis to injury, despite his replacement — Dillon du Preez — chipping in with a very handy 46.

“Losing him [Kallis][was a massive blow, because we had to almost pick two players. It disrupted us, and hopefully he will be back for the big match against Mumbai,” Anil Kumble explained.

Du Preez certainly tried, but it wasn’t enough.

Bangalore were on the back foot almost immediately, with the loss of Kallis’s bat keenly felt at the top of the order.

Shaun Tait’s pace has been relentless to this point, and the T20 specialist was at his searing best again last night.

Daniel Christian, now the leading wicket-taker in the tourney, praised the speedster for his contribution.

“We have tried to get early wickets in all our games, and ‘Taity’ has been just fantastic up front,” a beaming Christian said.

The Redbacks have impressed all and sundry with their grasp of the basics, and their fielding and running between wickets again shone through.

Skipper Michael Klinger said the preparations for this tournament had started in May, and this was reward for all that hard work.

“We don’t have the big names, so we knew that we just had to get the little things right. Our coaches pushed us hard through the winter, but you can see the benefit out there,” he said.

Bangalore, who chalked up a stuttering 154 all out, had only Du Preez and Kiwi Ross Taylor to thank for even getting to that point.

The Redbacks caught and fielded outstandingly, with Christian and Callum Ferguson again standing out with their sharp reflexes.

Cameron White muscled a few late blows, but one always feared that the target needed to be a lot nearer to the 200 mark to make a game of it.

Klinger and his partner in crime, Daniel Harris strode out and did it again.

An opening stand of 124 was ended in the most bizarre fashion. Having run with intent all night, the duo had a ‘four-way stop’ moment, each dummying to go, and then Harris (57) ending up short of his ground.

It made little difference, because by then Bangalore resembled an amateur club side, listless in its plans and wayward in execution.

Klinger, who racked up a third straight man of the match performance, stroked his way to a sublime 69 not out, mixing blistering power with a deft touch around the circle.

Having already made the semis, Tuesday’s game against Guyana may give the Redbacks a chance to give game time to a few others in the squad.

Still cock-a-hoop from their startling campaign, the Redbacks looked like a team ready to party last night, and Durban’s bars may have been besieged by a bunch of parched Aussie throats.

And haven’t they earned it.

Meanwhile, the fight for second place in the group will go down to the wire. As it stands, anyone of the Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers and the Highveld Lions can still join the Redbacks in the last four.

The Royal Challengers need a win on Sunday over the Indians, while the Lions need to win their final two matches.

Mumbai, however, have the unlikely route of beating the Challengers by a big margin, and then hoping Guyana surprise the Lions.

It may well go down to run rate, but that will not bother the Redbacks. They came in as unknown under-dogs, but have already earned their favourites tag.


Royal Challengers Bangalore innings

M.K. Pandey c Harris b Tait4

R. Dravid c Manou b O’Brien4

R.V. Uthappa c Ferguson b Putland0

L.R.P.L. Taylor c Manou b Tait46

C.L. White c Putland b Christian25

V. Kohli c Tait b Bailey3

D. du Preez c Harris b Christian46

P. Kumar b Putland6

R. Vinay Kumar c Borgas b Christian6

D.W. Steyn b Christian0

A. Kumble not out1

Extras (lb 2, w 11)13

TOTAL (all out in 19.5 overs) 154

Bowling: S.W. Tait 4 0 23 2 5.75 (2w), G.D. Putland 4 0 37 2 9.25 (2w), A.W. O’Brien 4 0 28 1 7.00 (2w), D.T. Christian 3.5 0 23 4 6.00 (1w), C.B. Bailey 3 0 29 1 9.66, D.J. Harris 1 0 12 0 12.00


South Australia innings

D.J. Harris run out (Kohli/Kumble)57

M. Klinger not out69

G.A. Manou b Kumble0

C.J. Ferguson not out21

Extras (lb 5, w 2, nb 1)8

TOTAL (2 wickets in 18.3 overs) 155

Bowling: P. Kumar 4 0 28 0 7.00, D.W. Steyn 4 0 38 0 9.50 (2w), D. du Preez 3 0 26 0 8.66, A. Kumble 4 0 25 1 6.25 (1nb), R. Vinay Kumar 3.3 0 33 0 9.42

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