April 17, 2013 2:33:58 am
Royal Challengers Bangalore,whove had their share of failures in crunch situations this season,surprisingly looked to Ravi Rampaul for inspiration in the big crunch. But after all,it was his six with the bat in the final over of the second innings that got the hosts to a tie-breaker in the first place.
But before Rampaul could defend a total,the RCB batsman first had to put one on the board in the six-ball playoff. With just three runs from the first four balls,AB de Villiers somehow managed to salvage the situation with two sixes from the last two balls of the Umesh Yadav over,giving Delhi Daredevils a target of 16 to win their first match of the season.
If RCB handing the ball to Rampaul was astonishing,the Double-Ds ensured they werent lagging behind in that aspect either. While Virender Sehwag was ineligible to bat in the Super Over as he wasnt on the field for the last three overs of the RCB innings,Delhi decided to give IPL debutant Ben Rohrer a chance to make a name for himself. After David Warner got out on the first ball,Irfan Pathan nearly upset the hosts by smacking Rampaul for a four and a six,narrowing down the equation.
With six required off the last two balls,Rampaul bowled a full toss,which luckily for him yielded only a single. The onus was now on Rohrer to guide Delhi home and with five needed off the last delivery,Rampaul bowled Rohrer over.
The moment the stumps went flying,the West Indian took off the stereotypical fast bowler celebration the aeroplane only to crash-land into the arms of Virat Kohli. RCB were back to winning ways,much to the delight of the home fans. Delhi,on the other hand,slumped to their fifth consecutive defeat.
It was such a match,low on quality but high on drama. Except for a stunning catch by R Vinay Kumar off his own bowling,the early contest between Morne Morkel and Chris Gayle,and Rampauls six off Pathan,there were hardly any edge-of-the-seat moments.
But what the match did provide was another evidence of Kohlis ascendancy on the big stage. Gayles early departure,which left RCB stranded at 26/2,gave Delhi a much-needed shot in the arm during the second innings. There was a visible spring in their step the bowlers bending their backs and fielders giving that extra bit. They didnt look a side that went luckless so far.
But even as their body language muted the almost-packed Chinnaswamy crowd,one man stood his ground,unmoved and unflustered. Kohli (65,7×4; 1×6) decided to take the game by scruff of the neck,leading his side from the front. He,in fact,has quelled the notion of RCB being a one-man army,with focus firmly on the maverick Gayle.
That Kohli,the current holder of the Orange Cap,has surpassed Gayle in the run-scoring charts is testimony to the youngsters good form and reliability with the bat this season. The 23-year-old has absorbed the pressure as well as he has anchored the innings.
He played with typical swagger on a balmy night here on Tuesday and along with de Villiers,he took complete control of the game. The duo stitched together a stroke-filled partnership of 103 runs,erasing little hopes that Delhi harboured of winning the match after scalping Gayle early.
Then,came the twist. The hosts lost two wickets in quick succession,with de Villiers running himself out and Andrew McDonald caught and bowled by Shahbaz Nadeem. RCB were quick to lose the plot,handing the initiative to the visitors.
As Pathan marked his run up to bowl the final over,the match was Delhis to lose. Rampaul hit that six first ball,a stunning cover hit,and Mahela Jayawardenes side let it slip in a big way.
That Rampaul hit was followed by singles off the next two balls and a double from the fourth. After a dot ball,Rampaul scrambled for a single off the last delivery to tie the match and force a Super Over. He broke into a huge smile after rescuing his side from trouble and giving them another chance to claim the tie. Then he smiled again.
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