On Sunday, everything was just about perfect for cricket: almost a packed house, the sun frequently breaking through the clouds, and some peppy music sending energy levels through the roof. The match, too, promised to be a pulsating affair. However, it’s becoming harder and harder to see what it will take for the Royal Challengers to turn their fortunes around as they crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat – this time by six wickets, in the last over, against Delhi Daredevils.
This particular loss will hit them hard, for their bowlers had kept them in the hunt with a valiant effort after the batsmen put in yet another disappointing performance and put only 149 on the board. Bangalore were in the game until Kallis leaked 19 runs in the 18th over, paving the way for a pulsating win for Delhi. Bangalore probably need to keep Kallis away from the ball, for he has been giving away far too many runs at crucial stages.
The new new-ball pair of Vinay Kumar and Pankaj Singh did well to pick up Sehwag and Gambhir without allowing them to inflict much damage, and then spinners – Anil Kumble and left armer KP Appanna – did an outstanding job to rein in AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Dilshan stood his ground and guided the Daredevils home with a superbly paced unbeaten half-century. The Sri Lankan soaked in the pressure really well, and, with the help of crucial cameo from Mithun Manhas at the finish, scripted Delhi’s third consecutive win.
Bangalore still looked a confused lot, still struggling to get their playing XI fixed even after five games. They sent out a new opening pair comprising Kallis and Robin Uthappa, but the result was the same. Kallis went for a first-ball duck and Uthappa left soon after.
Pietersen, though, finally looked like the player the world knew him to be. With the runs finally starting to flow from his bat Pietersen (37) must have felt the pressure lifting a bit. But then his adventurous streak got the better of him, and he committed hara-kiri trying a switch hit off Vettori and being clean bowled.