Bangalore's road to the final
Eyeing their first IPL title after scripting an amazing turnaround in fortunes, Royal Challengers Bangalore take on a powerful Deccan Chargers in Johannesburg. Leading their resurgence is Anil Kumble, skillful in the field and successful with the ball. Key characters Kumble, Jacques Kallis, Ross Taylor, Praveen Kumar and Rahul Dravid will have to play out of their skins to lift the title. On the eve of the final, Cricinfo takes a look at how Bangalore got there.
Match 1 v Rajasthan Royals in Cape Town
Bangalore Royal Challengers 133 for 8 (Dravid 66, Mascarenhas 3-20) beat Rajasthan Royals 58 (Kumble 5-5) by 75 runs
The result shocked everybody. Last year's champions, Rajasthan Royals, were humbled in the most embarrassing manner by Bangalore, who finished second from last the previous year. They scratched out 133 and in reply, Rajasthan crashed to 58. It was a day for the old folks - Shane Warne was at his mesmeric best, Rahul Dravid scored 66 and Anil Kumble returned astonishing figures of 5 for 5, cleaning up the lower order.
Match 2 v Chennai Super Kings in Port Elizabeth
Chennai Super Kings 179 for 5 (Hayden 65) beat Bangalore Royal Challengers 87 (Murali 3-11) by 92 runs
Bangalore saw the other side of the coin in the following match, collapsing to 87. Matthew Hayden rolled back the years with a brisk 65 as Chennai Super Kings piled on an imposing 179. Bangalore were out of the contest when they lost five wickets for 26 runs before the 11th over.
Match 3 v Deccan Chargers in Cape Town
Deccan Chargers 184 for 6 (Gilchrist 71, Rohit 52) beat Bangalore Royal Challengers 160 for 8 (Kohli 50, Dravid 48, Styris 3-32, RP Singh 2-17) by 24 runs
For the second game in succession, Bangalore were batted out of the contest. Adam Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma slammed half-centuries, scored 123 between them off 75 deliveries, with 88 of them coming in boundary hits. Bangalore lost a wicket without having scored a run for the third time in a row and struggled to keep with the asking rate. Virat Kohli managed a fifty but the rescue effort came too late.
Match 4 v Kings XI Punjab in Durban
Kings XI Punjab 173 for 3 (Bopara 84) beat Bangalore Royal Challengers 168 for 9 (Kallis 62, Abdulla 4-31, Pathan 3-35) by seven wickets
The euphoria of their opening win was followed by three successive defeats as Bangalore went down comprehensively to Kings XI Punjab. The match was best remembered for Ravi Bopara's ice-cool and risk-free 84, helping Punjab overhaul the target with ease. Bangalore were set for a much higher total but lost their way towards the end of the innings.
Match 5 v Delhi Daredevils in Port Elizabeth
Delhi Daredevils 150 for 4 (Dilshan 67*) beat Bangalore Royal Challengers 149 for 7 (Pietersen 37, Nehra 2-34) by six wickets
Bangalore had a chance to upset the tournament favourites when their weak bowling attack kept them in the game longer than most people expected. However, their fielding went to pieces towards the end, which allowed Delhi to get away. The image of Pietersen bowled through the gate after attempting a switch-hit symbolised Bangalore's shambolic state of affairs at this stage.
Match 6 v Kolkata Knight Riders in Durban
Royal Challengers Bangalore 143 for 5 (Goswami 43, Hodge 3-29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 139 for 6 (van Wyk 43*, Kumble 2-16) by five wickets
Down and out, Bangalore turned the corner against an equally insecure team, but they huffed and puffed to victory. Bangalore's spinners restricted Kolkata Knight Riders to a below-par total and their batsmen put them on track to an easy win before a sudden collapse gave Kolkata hope. Ten were needed off the last over and Bangalore emerged the deserved winners thanks to Mark Boucher's heroics.
Match 7 v Kings XI Punjab in Durban
Royal Challengers Bangalore 145 for 9 (van der Merwe 35, Abdulla 4-36, Yuvraj 3-22) beat Kings XI Punjab 137 for 7 (Yuvraj 50, Praveen 2-27, Kumble 2-25) by eight runs
Yuvraj Singh stole the show with a hat-trick to keep Bangalore to 145 and he seemed to make the match his own when he strolled to a fifty. But at the stroke of the time-out, Bangalore scripted one of the most amazing turnarounds thanks to Kumble and Roelof van der Merwe. Fortunes oscillated towards the end and Bangalore prevailed under pressure when Praveen Kumar bowled an amazing final over to seal the game.
Match 8 v Mumbai Indians in Johannesburg
Royal Challengers Bangalore 150 for 1 (Kallis 69*, Uthappa 66*) beat Mumbai Indians 149 for 4 (Jayasuriya 52, Bravo 50*, du Preez 3-32) by nine wickets
The once-whipping boys of the tournament meant business against the strong Mumbai bowling attack, strolling to one of the easiest chases in the tournament. The little-known Dillon du Preez set the tone with a double-wicket maiden and that kept Mumbai under check for most part. Robin Uthappa and Jacques Kallis led the chase with brisk sixties and Bangalore, all of a sudden, were in the top four.
Match 9 v Rajasthan Royals in Centurion
Rajasthan Royals 107 for 3 (Ojha 52*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 105 (Singh 4-19, Jadeja 3-15) by seven wickets
Rajasthan had their revenge following a spineless effort by Bangalore's batsmen. Rajasthan's bowlers got the measure of the pitch better, keeping the ball short and restricting the opposition to 105. Their counterparts failed to exploit the bounce and overall it was a no-contest simply because there was no cushion of runs to work with.
Match 10 v Mumbai Indians in Port Elizabeth
Mumbai Indians 157 for 2 (Rahane 62*, Duminy 59*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 141 for 7 (Boucher 48*, Harbhajan 2-15) by 16 runs
Bangalore cracked again, this time against a team desperate for a win after being pushed into a corner. Chasing 158, the Bangalore top order failed to click and felt the heat at 58 for 4 at the strategy break. The loss of wickets only piled the pressure on Boucher who made an unbeaten 48 with little support from the other end. It wasn't a great day for Bangalore's bowlers either, who managed to pick up only two wickets.
Match 11 v Kolkata Knight Riders in Centurion
Royal Challengers Bangalore 176 for 4 (Taylor 81*, Kartik 2-28) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 173 for 4 (McCullum 84*, Hussey 43, Vinay Kumar 2-33) by six wickets
Ross Taylor's blinder of an unbeaten 81 off 33 balls symbolised Bangalore's late resurgence, one which made them contenders for the semi-final line-up. They looked out of depth in the chase of 174 but later feasted on some shoddy death bowling. Taylor's brutal assault overshadowed Kolkata's admirable batting display and gave Bangalore much-needed self belief following some inconsistent results.
Match 12 v Chennai Super Kings in Durban
Royal Challengers Bangalore 132 for 8 (Taylor 46, Kohli 38) beat Chennai Super Kings 129 (Hayden 60, Kumble 2-12) by two wickets
It was a tale of batting collapses from both sides. Bangalore survived a Hayden-assault to keep Chennai down to 129 and were coasting at 86 for 3 in the 15th over before hell broke loose. The calm Taylor held firm in the nervy moments of the chase and helped Bangalore across the finish line. It was Praveen Kumar's six in the penultimate over which swing the game in Bangalore's favour.
Match 13 v Delhi Daredevils in Johannesburg
Royal Challengers Bangalore 135 for 3 (Kallis 58*, Dravid 38, Taylor 25, Nagar 2-20) beat Delhi Daredevils 134 for 7 (Karthik 31, Praveen 3-30, Kumble 2-24) by seven wickets
There were no such anxious moments against a strong Delhi outfit. Jacques Kallis played an important role in keeping Delhi to a chaseable score with a restrictive spell, before shepherding the chase with an assured half-century. Praveen did the damage with 3 for 30 and the below-par target of 135 was approached intelligently by the top order.
Match 14 v Deccan Chargers in Centurion
Royal Challengers Bangalore 170 for 4 (Pandey 114*) beat Deccan Chargers 158 for 6 (Gibbs 60, Akhil 2-18, Kumble 2-23) by 12 runs
Bangalore unearthed a talent in Manish Pandey who became the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. Sent up to open, Pandey single-handedly led Bangalore's charge with some fierce hits to push his team to 170. It was game on when Herschelle Gibbs waded into the attack but the script turned Bangalore's way once the spinners came on and make Deccan's task tougher by plugging at the wickets. The win sealed Bangalore's semi-final berth.
Semi-final v Chennai Super Kings in Johannesburg
Royal Challengers Bangalore 149 for 4 (Pandey 48, Dravid 44) beat Chennai Super Kings 146 for 5 (Parthiv 36, Vinay Kumar 2-38) by six wickets
Bangalore were one step away from the summit clash and batted with the intent of avenging the embarrassment of the last season. They overcame a strong start from Chennai's openers to restrict them to 146 before unleashing Pandey again. His stylish strokes demoralised Chennai and Rahul Dravid at the other end was just as imposing. After suffering a minor hiccup, Bangalore made it through and set up the final clash with last year's no-hopers Deccan Chargers.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo