Enough is enough
Jacques Kallis and L Balaji shared a few duels in a one-sided game. The Chennai Super Kings fast bowler had made a mess of a catch offered to him at third man by Kallis, allowing it to bounce over him for a boundary. Kallis then dispatched his first ball for four, was met with a beamer the next delivery and was gifted four more when Muttiah Muralitharan mis-fielded at mid-on. Balaji, though, had enough and off his fourth ball, struck middle stump to end Kallis' unbeaten run in this year's IPL.
Like Balaji, Chennai's wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel endured the how-costly-did-that-prove moment before making amends. Murali was in action again, and was deprived a third wicket when Virat Kohli stepped out of his crease, was beaten in the flight but earned a reprieve as Parthiv missed a stumping. The next ball, hammered for six, would have stung the wicketkeeper hard but he kept his cool when offered an opportunity again the same over, snapping a doosra and clipping the bails to find Kohli short.
Luck in reverse
Robin Uthappa warmed up for his blistering half-century with some delicate touches and much fortune. Murali, after having nipped out two top-order wickets, may have sensed another chance when Uthappa tried to reverse-sweep him first up and missed. He perfected the shot the next ball, connecting well to beat short third man to the ropes but backed himself too far when, in Murali's next over, he tried to reverse-slog him over extra cover. The audacity, however, was rewarded with a drop catch by R Ashwin, after which Uthappa made Chennai pay for their butter fingers.
Awaiting the Mongoose
The word has spread, and the crowd proved it. Each signal made by Matthew Hayden to the dressing room generated cheers from the Chennai fans. Hayden opted for a regular one when he first changed bats, but a few overs later, came the call for the long handle. As the 12th man ran in with an assortment of Hayden's preferred blades, including the Mongoose, the crowd roared and their wish was granted when the batsman picked the smallest of them all.
Hayden was in the thick of things again as he survived a run-out attempt when Kohli missed an under-arm throw. But that was not all. Sensing an overthrow, Parthiv, Hayden's opening partner, ran halfway down the pitch, calling for a run that wasn't there. Hayden sent him back, the fielder at extra cover picked the ball up, took aim and missed. Both openers had been let off.
Hayden had begun to open up with his favoured bat but Bangalore struck a timely blow, though they weren't convinced they had. When Hayden had backed up too far and Rahul Dravid flicked a throw accurately at the non-striker's end, the customary appeal followed and was referred. But the Bangalore players set about returning to their field positions and the crowd's momentary high was silenced, only momentarily. Gestures from the dressing room upon watching the replay sparked off a celebration among the fielders, and the crowd joined in. The confirmation on the big screen a few seconds later marked a crucial moment in the chase.
The parting shot
Chennai's hapless chase in the wake of a clinical bowling performance had prompted spectators to make a dash for the gates well before the game ended. But Albie Morkel, bogged down until then, had one parting shot. He bludgeoned Vinay Kumar in the last over for a thunderous straight six that crashed into the face of the top-tier and rolled back onto the field. Many would have wished that had come much earlier.