Bangalore struggle against fast bowlers
The Bangalore Royal Challengers scraped together a disappointing 143/8 against the excellent bowling attack of the Kings X1 Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Monday.
Only Mark Boucher, with a fighting 39, off 31 balls, with four fours and a six, played a significant innings in a batting line-up that lacked the urgency and the big hitters to accelerate after a promising start.
The Kings X1 Punjab team was spearheaded by Sree Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan and VRV Singh.
Sreesanth and Pathan were two of the three leading wicket-takers in the IPL competition before this match started, and they confirmed their status as bowling stars with their line and control.
Sreesanth finished with 3/29, while Pathan captured 1/23. Singh was arguably the pick of the bowlers and took 1/15.
He produced a series of yorkers in the nineteenth over as he thwarted Boucherís effort to scramble more than a couple of desperate singles.
Bangalore simply failed to accelerate after the early aggressive exploits by Misbah-ul-Haq (21, 6 balls, 3x4, 1x6) and Virat Kohli (21, 22 balls, 4x4).
In fact, with the dismissal of Kohli, who was bowled by Piyush Chawla, Bangalore had reached 49/3 in 5.2 overs.
But where Misbah impressed with audacious shot-making and a fearless approach, the middle-order just failed to change gears, or attack the boundary ropes.
Rahul Dravid and Boucher were content with scoring a run a ball and waiting for the arrival of the last five overs.
The fourth wicket fell with the score on 74/4 in 10.1 overs. The supporters of Bangalore had to wait almost five overs for Boucher and Dravid to scramble a few singles to get to 100 in the fifteenth over.
When Dravid was finally bowled by a superb late in-swinging delivery from Irfan Pathan for 29 off 27 balls, with two fours, Bangalore had slumped to 102/5 after fifteen overs, a sad decline after the early flurry by Misbah and Kohli.
Boucher tried valiantly to resurrect the innings thereafter, but Singh, Sreesanth and Pathan were simply superb and hardly bowled any boundary deliveries.