For the second game in a row, Chennai Super Kings allowed the opposition to get the better of them, after having dominated nearly one half of the match. For 17 overs after winning the toss and asking the Bangalore Royal Challengers to bat, the Chennai bowlers had Bangalore under the pump.
Jacques Kallis was finally dismissed after having made a rather streaky 19, on a day he surprisingly seemed off colour. Manish Pandey and Rahul Dravid, who hadn’t had a hit in the last three games, were accounted for by some wily bowling by the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan.
But, Robin Uthappa, who bided his time by and was dropped more than once, smashed 68 from 38 balls to help Bangalore finish on an impressive 171 for 5. Most of those runs came in the latter part of the innings. He was especially severe on Laxmipathy Balaji, whom he hit for three consecutive sixes in the penultimate over.
The bowler too didn’t do himself any favours by constantly pitch the ball in the same areas. Still, it was an amazing show of power and skill by Uthappa. At one stage it seemed like Bangalore would struggle to reach 150, but with Uthappa in such fine form, they managed to go well beyond that. It has to be said that Uthappa paced his innings beautifully.
When the early wickets fell, things were quite tough. Also, the bounce on the pitch was quite spongy. As such, he did well not to throw his wicket away.
What Uthappa’s knock did was it ensured the momentum was with Bangalore, going into the break. And this facet was evident when they came out to bowl. Praveen Kumar took out Parthiv Patel in the very first over. And though Matthew Hayden threatened to unleash the Mongoose effect once again, this time its impact was rather brief courtesy a smart piece of fielding from Dravid, resulting in his run-out. All this while, the batsman at the other end, George Bailey, was also kept quiet, which meant Hayden’s dismissal was a body blow for the Super Kings.
Skipper Anil Kumble chipped in with yet another remarkable four-over spell during which he leaked just 15 runs. He troubled Bailey bowling his typically nagging line to which the batsman had not answer. Kumble was eventually rewarded with the wicket of Murali Vijay. But, the biggest beneficiary of the pressure built up by Kumble and Kumar was R Vinay Kumar. With the batsmen having no option but to go after him, he ended up claiming four scalps.
He did go for plenty, and S Badrinath, in particular was impressive against him, caressing the ball for a few pleasing boundaries while not trying to hit the cover off the ball. Albie Morkel too joined in the act towards the end with some monstrous hits. Kumar, though, had the last laugh claiming both of them.
After having Bangalore five down for 119 in 17th over, Chennai should never have allowed them to get away. The fact that they did and were ragged in the field as well rubbed on to their batsmen, who also came up with an uninspired showing.
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