The fans who had piled into the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium to watch Dale Steyn vs Chris Gayle had been disappointed. Having taken a single off the first ball of the match,Gayle remained off strike for the rest of Steyns opening over.
First ball of the second,Gayle had slashed at off spinner Hanuma Vihari,and edged a catch to the wicketkeeper.
But there was to be a second installment of the mini-tussle. When Vinay Kumar ran in to bowl the last ball of the allotted 40 overs,Sunrisers Hyderabad needed two runs. Vihari,batting on 44,swung and missed. The slower ball bounced again as it approached Royal Challengers Bangalore wicketkeeper Arun Karthik,who underarmed the ball at the stumps and missed as Steyn,running from the non-strikers end,completed a bye to tie the game.
Hyderabad took first strike as the Super Over commenced,and made 20,with Cameron White tonking Vinay for two big sixes,the second a mishit that just about cleared long offs head.
And so it was that Gayle faced Steyn once again. A double and a single took the West Indian left-hander to the non-strikers end. Virat Kohli found the fine leg boundary off the next ball,and pushed the next one to long on to bring Gayle back on strike. Twelve from two would tie the Super Over as well. Gayle saw the next one early,and swatted it back over Steyns head for six.
Everyone reached for the rulebook. What happens when both teams score the same number of runs in the Super Over?
Were Gayle to smash another six,both Bangalore and Hyderabad would have the same number of sixes over the course of the match. But Bangalore had hit more fours than Hyderabad,and would win if Gayle would manage to connect one in the sweet spot.
He didnt,only managing a tennis-forehand swat down to long off for a single. Hyderabads first franchisee,Deccan Chargers,had taken eleven matches to register their first win at their home ground. The citys new franchisee,the Sunrisers,had begun life in the Pepsi IPL with back-to-back home wins.
With three overs to go in their chase,Hyderabad had seemed out of it. Jaydev Unadkat had dismissed their two dangerous Sri Lankan southpaws,Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera,in successive overs,while Muttiah Muralitharan had strangled them with a spell of 4-0-18-1. Then,Vinay had hared 20m on the off side boundary and dived to his left to stop what seemed a certain boundary before lasering in a flat,accurate throw to find Amit Mishra short of the batting crease.
When Vinay began Hyderabads 18th over,they needed 28 from 18. When Bangalore made only 130,it didnt seem like such a situation would arise.
But it had. Fourth ball of the over,Ashish Reddy leaned back and clubbed Vinay over long on for six. A single brought Vihari back on strike. Till now,he had struck just one four in 41 balls to make 36. Now,he spotted Vinays slower ball early,went on one knee,and clinically dispatched a one-bounce four between long on and deep midwicket. Two local boys had brought Hyderabad back into the game: 14 from 12. With Murali Kartik and Vinay Kumar sending down two nerveless overs,they managed 13. It proved just about enough.