Back at the Wanderers in less than 17 hours, I arrived very early to watch the Royal Challengers Bangalore take on the Mumbai Indians. The gates open for the public only at 2.30 pm for the 4.45 pm start. Fortunately the media and VIPs were let in, but early bird spectators were not so lucky and spread their mats and bedspreads for a nap on the pavement till their time arrived.
Having made it in it was pleasing to see the White Mischief girls go about their routine. Not so much because the cheerleaders gave a good display, but because I felt at 'home' for the first time in a week. In the inaugural IPL in India last year I watched every game of the Royal Challengers. It was a routine sight to watch the RCB cheerleaders (then from the Washington Redskins) go through their pre-match routine, with the music blaring and the supervisor relaying instructions.
The revitalised men in red, led by Anil Kumble were further boosted by the return of their batting mainstay, Rahul Dravid, who missed three matches. Dravid is second in the RCB run-scorer's list, only 8 behind Jacques Kallis, who has played two matches more.
Dravid sprung into action soon, snapping Sachin Tendulkar off IPL debutant Dillon du Preez, who completed the RCB line-up with four South Africans in the foreigners' list.
The 27-year-old du Preez's three prized wickets placed RCB in a pedestal from where they could look for their third win in a row and move into the top-four of the points table.
The MI, who were kept quiet until the slog, accelerated through Dwayne Bravo to reach 149 for four, the last five overs yielding 63. The Sunday crowd was right behind Tendulkar's side, but even this did not stop Bangalore's march towards victory. Jacques Kallis showed the way with a half-century, and RCB reached 134 for 1 after 17 overs.
Mumbai Indians: Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar (c), JP Duminy, Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Pinal Shah, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Dwayne Bravo.
Bangalore Royal Challengers : Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Dillon Du Preez, Jacques Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Mark Boucher, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, RE van der Merwe, Anil Kumble (c), R Vinay Kumar.