Delhi's street-wise batsmen scrapped their way to 191, a total that put pressure on Bangalore's top order and just when they needed to hold their nerve, they faltered, giving Glenn McGrath three wickets in his first spell and leaving the middle-order with too much to do. Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis could not sustain an assault and Bangalore fell short by 10 runs, registering yet another loss. Delhi, however, now go into their big game against the unbeaten Chennai team, with a triumph behind them.
Ross Taylor leaves the IPL shortly and he would have liked to go on a high. He scored quickly, got his team off to a brisk start, and, on the verge of seeing off McGrath, miscued a catch to Shikhar Dhawan at midwicket. McGrath, who had already sent Praveen Kumar packing, then tempted Wasim Jaffer into pulling from outside off, the ball merely ballooning to mid-on. McGrath's first spell read 3-0-23-3 and he had done his bit.
The pigeon returns
On the wrong side of 30 and battling to lift their team to a much-needed win, Dravid and Kallis managed a rousing 87-run partnership with barely a shot played in anger. But it would not be enough.
McGrath returned for a final over and had Dravid (38), becoming the first bowler to pick up four wickets in an IPL match, ending with 4 for 29. Kallis (54) blustered on, meaty shoulders opening up towards the death but when he played around an arm ball from Daniel Vettori with two overs to spare and 30 still needed, the game was up.
If at all there is something that can be termed a classic in this nascent form of the game it is the manner in which Gautam Gambhir bats. With no interest in aesthetics and little regard for accepted batting norms, he carves the ball in the arc spanning third-man to long-off with aggressive regularity.
On the day it was not a sustained assault, and that was understandable with wickets falling more often than the Kotla faithful liked. Rather, Gambhir's 86 lasted only 10 balls less than the course of the entire Delhi innings and 12 of the 54 balls he faced crossed the ropes, one without bouncing first.
Making them count
The innings' fourth over bowled by Zaheer went for 18, with Sehwag launching a six over midwicket, flicking one off the pads for four and brutally hitting the third into the first floor of the stands at long-on.
The other big over was the 14th, when Sunil Joshi's loopy deliveries landed perfectly for Dhawan (50) and Gambhir to clatter 19, via a pull over midwicket, a loft over long-on and a scorching cover-drive. Those two overs made the difference between a merely healthy total and one that would give their bowlers the breathing room they needed in the face of an inevitable counter-attack.