For a change, fast bowling thrived on a sub-continent pitch. And a few bowlers, keen to stage a comeback, made the most of it. When RP Singh and Vinay Kumar were done stifling the Deccan Chargers, few would have predicted an even better response.
But Ishant Sharma, who spent three fruitless years at Kolkata Knight Riders, came good with a vengeance. And the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium pitch afforded bounce and prodigious swing. He returned a sensational five for 12 to rip through the Kochi Tuskers line-up, eventually leading to a 55-run victory.
Faced with a target of 130, Tuskers opener Brendon McCullum, after a couple of wild swings and misses, poked at a Dale Steyn's delivery that moved away a bit after pitching. The next over, Sharma was all over Kochi. Parthiv Patel was snared with a delivery that took off after pitching. Raiphi Vincent Gomez was cleaned up with one that kept low. Brad Hodge staved off the hat-trick only to be castled two balls later.
Kochi were five for six wickets, five batsmen out without scoring. Ravindra Jadeja and Thisara Perera tried to restore some hope but it was all over.