Bowlers save the day for Bangalore
The Bangalore Royal Challengers, spearheaded by their superb fast bowlers, beat the Deccan Chargers by three runs in a pulsating match at Bangalore on Saturday.
The Royal Challengers scored 156 in their 20 overs in the Indian Premier League. It was a total that owed much to the 72-run partnership for the second wicket between Virat Kohli (38, 29 balls, 1x4, 2x6) and Wasim Jaffer (44,37 balls, 6x4).
The Chargers finished with 153/6.
In the final over, the Deccan Chargers needed 20 runs to win the match.
Sanjay Banger (17*, 7 balls, 2x6) hammered two sixes in that final over, bowled by the veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble, and almost pulled the match out of the fire.
But Kumble bowled two excellent last deliveries to deny the Chargers.
Praveen Kumar, with 3/23, and Zaheer Khan, with 2/24, effectively won the match for Bangalore as they induced a collapse that saw four wickets fall for only five runs.
The Chargers slumped from 127/2 to 132/6 in the space of nine deliveries.
Two South Africans featured prominently in the win. Jacques Kallis took 1/35 in four overs, but his wicket started the slump when he had Rohit Sharma caught on the mid-on boundary for 57 (42 balls, 5x4, 3x6) as the Chargers were reduced to 127/3 in the 17th over.
With 45 runs needed for victory off five overs by the Chargers, Dale Steyn bowled his last over, and only conceded three runs to pressurise the Chargers. He bowled with electrifying pace and one delivery was measured at 149.1 km/h in that fourth and last over. He kept the in-form VVS Laxman and Sharma on the back foot.
Steyn finished with 0/20 from four impressive overs.
The Chargers started off tentatively. They lost Adam Gilchrist (ten) and Herschelle Gibbs (five) early and only managed 31/2 in their first six overs, whereas Bangalore had 46/1 at the corresponding stage of their innings.
Sharma and Laxman (52, 44 balls, 7x4) added 96 runs in 11.4 overs to steer the Chargers to 127 in 16.5 overs before Sharma was caught on the mid-on boundary by Jaffer off Kallis.
It was Sharma’s ability to improvise with his wrists, and hit sixes and fours over the inner ring with contemptuous ease that gave the innings some momentum after the uncertain start.
Earlier, Kallis (6, 5 balls, 1x4) and Mark Boucher (16, 14 balls, 2x4) did not feature prominently with the bat.