"Anil got a five for?" V.V.S. Laxman couldn't help wondering looking at the TV screen in the press box of the Newlands Stadium the day IPL II began. On Sunday, there was no way of knowing know how Laxman reacted as Kumble was at it against the Chargers. But even marvelling at Kumble's success must have given way to unbridled happiness as Deccan Chargers literally rose through the ranks to lift the trophy that has taken the cricket world by storm.
On April 18, when Laxman watched Kumble's five-for on TV it was evident that the very, very special batsman was speaking from his heart and that there was a considerable amount of joy in seeing his long-time India teammate put in an extraordinary performance in a form of the game apparently loaded in favour of youngsters. When it mattered the most Kumble rose again, but this time the opposition came out on top.
There couldn't have been a better start for Bangalore when Kumble sent back Adam Gilchrist for a, duck. He was in the thick of things afterwards too, getting rid of Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma.
When the Challengers stopped the Chargers at 143 despite Herschelle Gibbs carrying his bat, it looked as if they had the game under control.
Unfortunately for the Challengers, there was no Kumble in their batting. Many got starts but none carried on as Kumble had done with the ball, using himself in three spells and striking body blows in each of them.
Bangalore repeatedly chose the wrong man to attack and gave a wicket too many to Pragyan Ojha. When his team needed him the most, there was Ojha justifying his skipper's faith in him, as well as his selection to the India squad for the T20 World Cup. Final frames
It was sad to see Kumble come out as the last man when his team had practically lost all hope, needing 15 from the last over. The Chargers were having the last and loudest laugh. They deserved to. Any team that overcomes such a challenge does.