Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kochi Tuskers Kerala by 5 wickets
(Challengers: 162/4(, Kochi: 161/5). Man of the match: AB de Villiers
Two poor overs from Kochi Tuskers Kerala in crunch situation, which was preceded by the some shoddy batting display, and a great exhibition of big hitting for A B de Villiers saw Royal Challengers Bangalore shut out the debutants Kochi Tuskers Kerala in third game of IPL 4. At one stage, Kochi looked as if they possessed the upper hand, with 59 needed off the last six overs. However, R P Singh sprayed it all over the place in the 15th over, and Saurabh Tiwary and de Villiers capitalized on it, punishing the left arm seamer for 15 runs.
With Singh guilty of bowling length, Kochi skipper Mahela Jayawardene was forced to turn to Raiphi Gomez, who hadn’t bowled till then. Unfortunately, Jayawardene did not have Warne-like luck or the Midas touch of Dhoni. While Gomez did send back Tiwary, caught going for the big shot, de Villiers took a liking to him, spanking him for two sixes on the on side and finishing off the over with a smacking boundary. As many as 20 runs came off the Gomez over, and despite the wicket, the result was now a foregone conclusion.
Asad Pathan came in and spanked three fours off R. Vinay Kumar, and the game was over in a flash. What was supposed to be a close contest had turned into a no contest in a mere 10 balls, with Bangalore eventually cruising home by six wickets. A lot was expected of home boy S. Sreesanth, but he came out with his erratic streak once again, conceding 15 in one of his overs, to swing the momentum Bangalore’s way.
It was a highly disappointing result for Kochi in their debut especially considering the manner in which they started. Brendon McCullum was at his attacking best while VVS Laxman proved that there is still some place for the sublime in his game as the duo added exactly 80 in nine overs. McCullum began well with a customary boundary off Zaheer Khan before taking the usually economical Dirk Nannes to the cleaners. He drove and pull the left arm seamer with aplomb as Nannes had to answer to McCullum’s exploits.
While the New Zealander went on the attack, Laxman too played his part. He crunched a couple of VVSesque boundaries to keep the scoreboard flowing, but shocked one and all, including himself, by flat batting Abhimanyu Mithun straight down the ground for a maximum. Unfortunately, the stroke gave Laxman false confidence as they tried to slog sweep his way against Tillakaratne Dilshan but perished caught in the deep. Laxman knew this was not his strength and even admonished himself. As he was walking back to pavilion, little did Laxman know that he had given Bangalore a foot in the door, which would transform into an eventual victory.
Following Laxman’s dismissal, innings just fell apart. McCullum perished to Virat Kohli for 45, his cute paddle sweep not working for a change. Skipper Jayawardene and Brad Hodge got stuck in the midst of a superb spell from Daniel Vettori. Taking over from Kumble, the left-arm spinner returned with exceptional figures of 01/17 from his four overs, including the wicket of his opposite number. Some smart batting from Ravindra Jadeja enabled them to cross 160, a highly disappointing total considering their flashing start, and one which was well below par in the wake of de Villiers’ onslaught.
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