If not for a bloke from Barbados who once flayed Dennis Lillee and friends for 254 at the MCG, Jacques Henry Kallis would end his career as the greatest all-round cricketer in the history of the game. His numbers in Test and one-day cricket brook no arguments, but there were many who felt that Twenty20 represented a bridge too far. It was fashionable to stereotype Kallis as the dour defender of his team's fortunes, a consolidator rather than a destroyer.
"Two years ago, there was a lot of criticism from people who said that I couldn't play it [T20]," he said, after the stunning 55-ball 89 that piloted the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a target of 204. "I've worked at it. It's something I pride myself on. Technically, you don't need to change much. In Test cricket, you get a bit more behind the ball. In T20, you need to give yourself a bit more room to hit."
To watch Kallis in the final stages of the chase was to witness a master in action. Both Manish Pandey and Virat Kohli were guilty at times of going too hard at the ball, perhaps forgetting that the same strokes which get you four and six in first-class or one-day cricket will get you the same rewards in this format. Kallis waited for the ball to come to him, saw it on to the bat and then used that massive physique to power it beyond the rope.
There were few preconceived notions or premeditated shots either. "We wanted to have 50 or 60 on the board after the first six overs [the Powerplay]," Kallis said. "It needed one guy to bat through and the others to play around him. Robin [Uthappa] came out and played an unbelievable knock. That was as good as I've seen the cricket ball struck."
After Pandey had lit the torchpaper with a 26-ball 38 that included three sixes, Uthappa's 19-ball half-century and demolition job on Sreesanth transformed the game. Sreesanth was left so dazed by the 25-run assault that he walked off into the outfield after five balls, thinking the misery was over.
"That was as good a batting performance as you can get," said Kallis. "Everyone played their role perfectly."
Uthappa wasn't without some sympathy for Sreesanth, a good friend off the field - "When he was bowling, I was only looking at the ball," Uthappa said - but he revelled in the opportunity to make an impact in front of a fervent Ugadi crowd. "I needed to get my eye in quickly and then go after the bowling, because I knew Jacques would be there till the end."
Promoted up the order after the loss against Kolkata Knight Riders, Uthappa struck the ball with awesome power in the V. Once he departed, Kallis took over. His first 45 runs had taken 38 balls. The next 44 came from just 17. With his frontline bowlers so expensive, Kumar Sangakkara would have known he was taking a gamble by giving the 18th over to Bipul Sharma. Three sixes over midwicket later, the match was as good as lost.
"This hurts a lot more [than the loss to Delhi]," said Sangakkara after the game. "Here, we got more than 200. But we've got to learn that strong performances from individuals is not enough. We need to get a collective performance."
Bangalore managed that, with the bat anyway. As for the bowlers, this was a day to airbrush from the memory.