The men who run the IPL have done their best to convey to the world that their tournament is inflation proof, are fighting a battle to show it is corruption proof, and on Saturday virtually suggested it was bomb proof.
Despite two low-intensity blasts injuring several and damaging a wall on the perimeter of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the show went on, albeit delayed by an hour. Overcoming the inevitable panic set off by unconfirmed reports, rumours and alarmist statements, the capacity crowd stayed put, and was treated to some crisp power hitting, largely by the visiting team.
Even the Royal Challengers losing by 57 runs did not dampen the enthusiasm of the loyals in red. If there was one question mark hanging over the heads of the table-topping Mumbai Indians, it was their ability to soak up the pressure and keep up the run rate when Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed early. And on the day, the proof was an ominous warning to other teams. Tendulkar fell trying to pull Jacques Kallis. At 34 for 1, with Tendulkar gone for 19, Bangalore’s bowlers had a good chance to make the most of their captain’s decision to put the opposition in.
Instead, what followed was a collective profligacy not seen once before in this tournament. Kumble’s four overs cost 38, while Kallis went for 41 off is quota, but it was Pankaj Singh who bore the brunt of the Mumbai onslaught.
Pankaj failed to hit the right length and provided enough width for the batsmen to free their arms and attack. Ambati Rayudu took 22 off the 9th over and Kieron Pollard replicated the feat in the 15th leaving Pankaj with a face matching the colour of his shirt.
Chasing 192, the Challengers needed everything to go their way, but nothing did. A shaky start quickly became wicket-ridden and consequently the runs dried up.