When Bharat Chipli arrived for the Deccan Chargers’ selection trials ahead of IPL-4, he had few expectations, given the lack of form.
The 28-year-old had last played a Ranji game for Karnataka in 2008 and the four opportunities he got for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first three seasons saw him score just over 50 runs.
But fortune smiled on the Bangalore resident in the form of a Chargers’ call, and on Thursday he played a pivotal role in ending the 2009 champions’ 10-match losing run at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium with a 33-run victory over the Royal Challengers. Chipli had displayed the ability to hold the innings together with a top score of 48 against KKR two days ago.
On Thursday, he took the next step and played the role of a match-winner. Unlike the earlier games, Chipli came in after Sunny Sohal (38) and skipper Kumar Sangakkara (36) had built a strong platform with a 50-run partnership for the second wicket. After taking almost an over to settle down, he dismissed a short ball from Tillakaratne Dilshan with a short arm jab over midwicket to set the ball rolling.
The baby-faced batsman wasn’t as brutal as Kings XI Punjab’s Paul Valthaty (against the Chennai Super Kings), but he showed enough maturity to run the singles till Sangakkara was at the crease, and stepped on the gas with two consecutive sixes against off-spinner Ryan Ninan three balls after the skipper’s dismissal.
It was the treatment Chipli meted out to Zaheer Khan that changed the course of the match. The left-arm seamer had conceded just nine runs in his first two overs but was welcomed to the crease with three consecutive boundaries.
Chipli scored 22 off Zaheer’s nine balls, as he scored 40 of the 61 runs scored in the last five overs. RCB, who had opted to field, never looked in control.