With the umpires calling play at 9.45 pm, it was perhaps a record of sorts in terms of late starts in any form of organised cricket in India. Rain, the covers taking longer than usual in coming off, more rain and another long wait for the covers to be removed — it was a tedious time of inaction for the turnout of over 60,000 at Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Probably to be part of something that unites the top names of cricket with the cream of Bollywood and industry and creates a lot of noise along with the promise of a deluge of big shots, the crowd stayed back, even if it meant a hazardous way back home well past midnight. What unfolded in this 16-overs-per-side Kolkata-Bangalore contest made it worth the wait.
The entertainment dished out wasn’t exactly the stuff Twenty20, or Sixteen16 in this case, is all about. Barring a brief period dominated by David Hussey, there were few fireworks. It wasn’t what smaller boundaries are supposed facilitate but on this day at least, the crowd wasn’t complaining. The local favourites didn’t set the stands ablaze while batting but bowled to a plan and fielded brilliantly.
Desperate to turn things around after four straight defeats, Kolkata brought in Aakash Chopra and Tatenda Taibu for the first time. Chopra’s debut lasted five balls and Taibu was around for seven balls more with none doing anything that they would fondly remember. The total was still competitive due to an enterprising stand between Wriddhiman Saha and Murali Kartik.
Bangalore have had as many batting problems if not more than Kolkata and it was no different on Thursday. After being kept quiet by the frontline bowlers barring Umar Gul, they were tied down completely by Sourav Ganguly. With eight matches gone, Vijay Mallya's men need a series of miracles now to make the semifinals.
Chopra lbw b Steyn (5 b) 2
Hodge c Praveen b Zaheer (11) 10
Ganguly run out (22) 20
Hussey run out (12) 26
Taibu c Boucher b Steyn (12) 15
Shukla b Steyn (9) 11
Saha not out (10) 17
Kartik c & b Praveen (13) 17
Gul not out (2) 6
Extras: (lb 3, w 2) 5
Total: (for 7 wkts in 16 ovrs) 129
FoW: 1-9, 2-20, 3-46, 4-64, 5-80, 6-88, 7-122
Bowling: Steyn 4-0-27-3, Zaheer 3-0-27-1, Praveen 3-0-36-1, Vinay 3-0-15-0, Kumble 3-0-21-0
Arunkumar run out (17 b) 22
C’paul c Kartik b Ishant (11) 7
Boucher not out (40) 50
Dravid b Ganguly (11) 5
White run out (16) 30
Praveen not out (2) 4
Extras: (lb-3, w-2, nb-1) 6
Total: (for 4 wkts in 16 ovrs) 124
FoW: 1-17, 2-32, 3-51, 4-96
Bowling: Dinda 3-0-20-0, Ishant 4-0-25-1, Gul 3-0-30-0, Ganguly 3-0-7-1, Kartik 2-0-24-0, Shukla 1-0-15-0.