For most part of the season, Royal Challengers Bangalore had neither been consistent with the bat or ball. For most of their victories, they owed it to the power-hitting of Chris Gayle. And when the Jamaican, who has been starting cautiously before exploding, paid the price for trying to do too much too soon in their most crucial game, the RCB failed to salvage the situation.
The Chargers have shown signs of life only towards the end of IPL V, only after their performances had been reduced to academic value. On Sunday, barely a day after the tumult caused by the assault chargers against Aussie Luke Pomersbach, RCB contained the Chargers batsmen to set themselves a manageable target.
However, it was quite clear the early tussle between Gayle and Chargers’ rare bright spot, Dale Steyn, would determine whether RCB can get through to a victory without much trouble.
But Gayle’s ill-advised, and pretty awkward, attempt to cut a Steyn delivery only resulted in a chop onto the stumps. And when Virat Kohli, who hasn’t really come to the party this IPL season, pulled a flat but less than well-timed shot to be caught in the deep, it was clear RCB’s hopes of clinching victory to go through was in trouble.
The result handed a huge lease of life to defending champions Chennai Super Kings, who qualified for the play-offs because of a better net run rate, leaving RCB to blame themselves for the way they threw it all away. The result now means Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and CSK complete the play-offs line-up.
The Chargers, who defeated Rajasthan Royals as well, were led by JP Duminy’s half-century to raise a modest total, but Bangalore knew it would all boil down to their batting.
Tillakaratne Dilshan was trapped leg before by Steyn and once the South Africa spearhead also got rid of the other, more destructive opener, the pressure was suddenly on RCB.
Kohli’s poor shot selection changed the equation and RCB’s long tail only made the Chargers’ job easy, infusing fresh life into CSK’s campaign.