If Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had intended to set a benchmark in the inaugural Champions League, this was it. They duly beat Otago Volts by 80 runs and qualified for the league stage of the premier Twenty20 event.
The home team approached the game with a well-set plan, and, thanks to a combined team effort, the hosts came out triumphs in a one-sided clash.
RCB skipper Anil Kumble won the toss for the second time in a row and opted to bat. The idea must have been to post a good total on the board and let the Otago Volts chase the target. And that the home side was not willing to take any undue risk was evident in the openers, Robin Uthappa and Jacques Kallis's cautious approach. Uthappa shed his aggressor's role for a change and looked to build a partnership with Kallis. And the ploy succeeded as the duo put on the best opening partnership (75 runs) for the RCB, improving their previous best of 69.
Uthappa gradually started launching his big hits, one nearly knocking off Ian Butler's head in the latter's second over. The ball was on the slot and Uthappa slammed it past Butler's head. He tonked Dimitri Mascarenhas for a huge six over long on and reverse swept Nathan McCullum for four. But Otago skipper Craig Cumming took a stunning catch to stub out Uthappa off Aaron Redmond in the 10th over.
Kallis hammered an unbeaten 73 off 59 balls, his best score in Twenty20 so far. With Virat Kohli, he added 59 runs for the second-wicket.
Kohli was quick to get off the blocks with a first-ball boundary and scored a breezy 32 off just 19 deliveries. Ross Taylor blasted 24 off the last five balls to take RCB's total to a challenging 188.
The Volts wilted under pressure after Kallis snapped up the top three batsmen within the first six overs. When they returned, after a light drizzle held up play in the eighth over, the fizz was gone. Wickets continued to tumble from either end, and the Kiwi side folded up for a paltry 108 in 17.5 overs. Kallis was the pick of the RCB bowlers with figures of 3 for 18 from four overs. He was awarded the man of the match for his all-round performance.
Kallis not out 73, Uthappa c Cumming b Redmond 42, Kohli c N McCullum b Wagner 32, Taylor not out 32
Extras (lb-1, w-8) 9
Total (for 2 wkts; 20 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-75, 2-134
Bowling: Wagner 4-0-27-1, Mascarenhas 4-0-37-0, Butler 3.3-0-42-0, McSkimming 3.3-0-38-0, N McCullum 2-0-20-0, Redmond 3-0-23-1.
B McCullum c Kumble b Kallis 5, Redmond c Uthappa b Kallis 11, H Rutherford c Kumble b Kallis 14, Broom run out 7, Cumming c Uthappa b Akhil 20, N McCullum lbw b Kumble 8, Mascarenhas lbw b van der Merwe 3, Butler lbw b Kumble 1, de Boorder b Vinay Kumar 16, McSkimming not out 12, Wagner c Kallis b Vinay Kumar 1.
Extras (b-4, lb-4, w-2) 10
Total (in 17.5 overs) 108
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-19, 3-32, 4-49, 5-67, 6-70, 7-75, 8-90, 9-106
Bowling: P Kumar 2-0-13-0, Kallis 4-1-18-3, Vinay Kumar 2.5-0-20-2, Kumble 3-0-20-2, van der Merwe 4-0-19-1, Akhil 2-0-10-1.