In the end, it was almost a 'we told you so' that reverberated throughout the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday. Hyderabad, it seems, cannot win a match for love or money at the moment, and their losing streak at home extended to six straight at home with a five-wicket drubbing at the hands of Bangalore.
There was a joke going around the stadium that Adam Gilchrist wouldn't have lost as many games in his entire career as he has with Hyderabad, and though that might be far fetched, the Aussie would certainly not have had this in mind when he joined the outfit.
<b1>You've got to feel for the man. He has been trying just about everything in his power to arrest the slide his team is in, but hasn't quite got it right. And it was no different on Sunday either. Despite an opening stand of 101 between Gibbs and Gilchrist, the remaining nine batsmen could only manage to add a further 64 to the team total. 166 was a target, which would, at best, push Rahul Dravid's men. And that's exactly how it turned out. Useful contributions from most of the batsmen, and a blitzkrieg from Balachandra Akhil, left Hyderabad firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.
Hyderabad's innings, however, began much better than it finished. Gibbs (47) and Gilchrist (46) began very cautiously, deciding to play themselves in and then launch an assault. And while they got the first part of their plan right, they faltered in executing the second. Both fell to needless rushes of blood, and starting a bizarre and brazen display of mindless and spineless batting from the rest of the bats.
For the most part, Bangalore paced their chase to perfection, and though there were the odd jittery moments, they were too few in number. If Jacques Kallis started the quest for 165 with a delightful 31, Akhil finished it with 27 off only 7 balls. In between, the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq (34) and Rahul Dravid (31) played with a lot of authority and were rarely troubled by a bowling attack that lacked tooth and technique.
Not one of the seven bowlers Gilchrist employed ever looked like picking a wicket, or clogging the flow of runs. If anything, they bowled to the strengths of the opposition, either pitching it too short or inexplicably opting for length. Akhil's attack only hastened the end, with the winning runs coming in the last ball of the 18th over. It cannot possibly get worse than this for Hyderabad, or maybe it can. By the time Tuesday comes around, six in six could become seven in seven. This pain couldn't end soon enough.