The near d j vus
In front of the biggest Test crowd Sri Lanka had ever played for, Tillakaratne Dilshan played one of the most boneheaded shots of his career against Mitchell Johnson, who cleaned him up last Boxing Day. Johnson's first ball to Dilshan on Thursday was almost a repeat. Seeing it pitch on middle, Dilshan aimed a heave across the line, and missed the ball by a distance as it straightened. Luckily for the batsman, the bounce in the Bangalore pitch took the ball over the stumps. He was not so fortunate in Johnson's next over, when he played a similar shot to a delivery on the same line, but fuller in length. Dilshan missed again, and the ball uprooted off stump.
The pitch repair
At 19, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah made his IPL debut against Royal Challengers, and the beginning of his first spell betrayed his nerves, as he pitched short and wide to Virat Kohli, who smote him on the offside for three boundaries. After the fourth ball, however, he alerted the umpire to some loose soil on the crease where he had landed, and had a groundsman fill that area in with sawdust. From then on, Bumrah was a man transformed. He trapped Kohli lbw next ball, then dismissed Mayank Agarwal with his first ball next over. He eventually finished with the best figures for his side, collecting 3 for 32.
Cricket fans who thought their dreams had come true when two all-time batting greats strode to the crease together to begin Mumbai's innings, had another treat in store for them in sixth over. While Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting remained together, Kohli introduced the greatest spin bowler of all time into the attack. Tendulkar had the best of the battle, hitting two consecutive fours in the first over from Muttiah Muralitharan - one down the ground, and another over mid-on.
After Dan Christian's disastrous 17th over, which leaked 24 runs, Mumbai edged ahead and arrived at the final over needing 10 to win. Two length balls from Vinay Kumar dislodged both set batsmen, however, and put the game right back in Royal Challengers' hands. Dinesh Karthik first attempted to heave Kumar's second ball into the leg-side stands, but managed only a top edge that settled in the hands of the deep midwicket fielder. Kieron Pollard then came to the crease, but because the batsmen had crossed, Ambati Rayudu faced the next ball, and was cleaned up by a delivery that ducked back in sharply.
The near miss
When Pollard finally got the strike, he had to score 8 off the last two deliveries to take his side to victory. When he struck his first ball sweetly though, a couple more inches of distance on the shot, or a little more elevation, might have seen Mumbai finish the night much more happily than they did. The low full toss was hit hard back over the bowler's head, and bounced just before the boundary rope to eventually be ruled a four, by the third umpire.