Good teams know how to keep their heads down and let their actions do the talking. The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), after their defeat to the Deccan Chargers, went back to the drawing board, gathered themselves and played against the Rajasthan Royals as if it was their last chance of making it to the semis.
It was a do-or-die game for both teams and the visitors proved they are not just good on paper, but on the field as well. Kevin Pietersen scored a stunning 29-ball 62 to help Bangalore win by five wickets and keep their semifinal hopes alive.
The writing was on the wall for Rajasthan after they lost three wickets within the first four overs. Shane Warne opted to bat, looking to put pressure on Bangalore by putting up a decent total.
The plan backfired when R Vinay Kumar struck twice in the second over by removing Michael Lumb and Amit Paunikar. A 'yes-no' between Naman Ojha and Lumb saw the latter stranded and a short one from Vinay took a faint edge to end Amit Paunikar's joy in his debut game.
Vinay worked up speed, dug the short one in and steamed in always with a wicket on his mind. Medium-pacer Pankaj Singh removed Ojha and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and Dale Steyn hurled his 145 kph-plus cannon balls to splinter Yusuf Pathan's off-stick.
The Royals looked hapless and once again showed their susceptibility to short deliveries. They reached 100 in the 17th over and a 58-run unbeaten stand between Adam Voges and Abhishek Raut took them to 130 at yawning speed.
Though Kamran Khan got rid of Jacques Kallis and Pathan caught a leading edge from Manish Pandey, runs came easily for Bangalore.
Surprisingly, the buzz in the stands was not as electric as the previous two matches. Maybe, the spectators had anticipated the Royals' plight in advance or it could be IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi's, 'Twittergate' episode that kept them more engrossed than Wednesday's match.
The Royals' semi-final hopes are almost over and unless they win against the Kolkata Knight Riders, it is unlikely they will qualify for the next stage.