Tiwary rises above slow pitch
This was a pitch where five specialist batsmen faced 20 balls or more and ended up with a strike rate of 120 or less. Another faced 18 balls for 14 runs. Steven Smith, MS Dhoni, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson were some of the big names that struggled to get going. Both the teams had good bowling plans - wide yorkers to Dhoni, straight to de Villiers - and executed them well. One man, though, was not budgeted for: Manoj Tiwary, who struck 27 off 11 balls to give Rising Pune Supergiant something to bowl at.
Tiwary had been in good striking form in this IPL, but coming into this match he had faced only 50 balls. He had also missed because of his father's death last Tuesday. Now he was asked to bat below the struggling Dhoni. At that time it appeared Rising Pune might have erred, but in hindsight, on a slow track they kept for the end a man capable of hitting from ball one, which has been the problem with Dhoni over the last two to three years.
That might be strictly hindsight: Rising Pune sent out even Dan Christian ahead of Tiwary. By the time Tiwary got to face a ball, Rising Pune had gone from 127 for 2 to 132 for 7. Forget about having to prove a point, Tiwary must now have wondered if he was going to be left stranded. He scored 27 of the last 30 runs, did so off just 11 balls, hitting Watson for three fours and a six in the 19th over, and then the impressive Adam Milne for a six in the 20th. What could have been 140 bowled out or 145 for 9 was now 161 for 8 thanks to Tiwary.
You would wonder if Royal Challengers Bangalore would have approached the chase differently if there had been 10 fewer runs to get. In particular, Virat Kohli played some high-risk shots against the new ball, looking to take full toll before the older ball started sticking into the surface. One such ball brought about his wicket.
The wow moment
Forget the six that landed on the roof, while Dhoni and Smith batted there was a lull. Twenty-two balls went unscored of in the 49 played between them. Only seven boundaries were hit by them. Then came the big glut of wickets. It was almost like Rising Pune had stopped swimming, and were now being swept away by the current time. At such a time, Tiwary took Watson on, for 19 runs in the 19th over, capping it with a flat six straight into the sight screen. It was a night for the cameo and the small six.
Stats that matter
- This was the third time four batsmen scored 25 or more runs at a strike rate of 120 or under in an IPL match at Chinnaswamy Stadium
- This was only the third time an innings at Chinnaswamy Stadium featured three knocks of 20 balls or more that went at a strike rate of 120 or under
- Tiwary's strike rate in this match: 245.45. He now has 98 runs off 61 balls this IPL season. Among batsmen who have faced a minimum of 60 balls, Tiwary's is the second-best strike rate, behind only Chris Lynn
What they said
"I thought Manoj Tiwary finished beautifully. We thought about 160 was par for that pitch."
Tiwary's captain, Steven Smith is thankful
"You might disagree vehemently...but my Man of the Match for today is Manoj Tiwary."
Aakash Chopra is one of the many not in agreement with the match award going to Ben Stokes
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo