It’s a good thing that Ugadi, the New Year’s day here, is not a dry day. Vijay Mallya’s team ensured there would be enough demand for his product when the first home match of the Royal Challengers ended on Tuesday. After all, when a big target is chased down, the good times roll.
The boys from Bangalore have never put 200 on the board in two seasons of the IPL, their previous best being 181 against the Chennai Super Kings, at this stadium, in 2008. They chose a good day to change this.
Jacques Kallis set a few tongues wagging when he began the pursuit of 204 by leaving a ball alone in the first over. But the old master from South Africa clearly knew what he was doing. Bedding down to anchor the chase, Kallis chose his deliveries to hit.
Manish Pandey, also careful to begin with, turned adventurous, launching sixes over long off and mid-wicket even as the fielding restrictions ended after six overs. Bangalore stayed well ahead of the curve, and even when Pandey (38) fell, the rate did not dip as Robin Uthappa ambled out with murder on his mind.
A period of pure mayhem followed as Uthappa brought up a 19-ball half-century that kept the crowd on its feet and a sea of orange RCB flags waved ceaselessly.
The IPL is meant to be a place where players from different countries play together and become friends, but this clearly does not apply to pals from the same country. Uthappa, who jointly runs the Bat & Ball Inn, a resto-bar in Bangalore, took apart his business partner, Sreesanth, in an over that read 6,6,2,6,4,1.
The 25-run over took the edge off the Kings XI target and Kallis was in no mood to leave the job half done even when Uthappa departed.
Heaving three massive sixes off left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma, Kallis stayed unbeaten on 89 as Bangalore got home with seven balls and eight wickets to spare.
When Anil Kumble lost the toss early in the evening, Manvinder Bisla and Ravi Bopara were happy to make first use of a good batting track, and it showed the way they batted.
The 129-run first-wicket stand, the best for Kings XI, set up their score of 203. On the day, though, it wasn’t enough.