The Chennai juggernaut was brought to a halt by the Bangaloreans today. It was a good game. Low scoring one. It finished in the last over of the second innings.
Bangalore is a team inspired. I've said this before and I'll say it again- Kumble is an inspirational leader. He should have been made captain in the first place. Pietersen is not captain material. Kumble's made the guys believe in themselves and they've backed him by pulling off two sensational wins in two games.
RCB's chase against KKR will go down as one of the best in IPL history. And Ross Taylor's knock that day will go down as one of the best ever played in a 20-20. Today it was a more all round effort from the team. Everyone had some roll to play. And they all ended up doing their bit.
What won the game for team RCB was undoubtedly the exceptional fielding performance. It was a joy to see the RCB team on the field. Not bad for a team that counts the not very athletic Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble amongst it's ranks. There was brilliant ground fielding, outstanding catching, breath-taking run outs. It was all there.
It was a welcome change from the dismal fielding standards that all other teams have put up in this competition so far. (Chennai of-course tops the charts when it comes to worst fielding units. Who can forget Jakati trying to run out Devon Smith from about 6 inches from the stumps and missing!)
The turning point of the match I feel was when Van de Merwe caught and bowled Dhoni. It was one of the best catches I've ever seen in my life. I actually got up from my sofa for that one. It was that good! That catch and it's brilliance actually turned the momentum towards Bangalore. It often happens in sport where one moment of inspiration is enough to lift an entire team. This catch was one such moment.
RCB's batting woes continued. And though they won I have to say they made a mess of the chase. It was also some very good bowling by Chennai. Albie Morkel was precision personified in his 4-over spell and that helped Chennai pile on the pressure early. Muralitharan was brilliant as usual. Even guys like Balaji, Jakati, Tyagi and Oram bowled really well. It was the batting that let us down.
Hayden has been bludgeoning the bowling right through this season. I'm glad that he's a Chennai "local" boy (albeit adopted, and a very very big boy!). Raina, Dhoni, Vijay and Badrinath couldn't sustain the momentum that Hayden's knock provided. Oram and Morkel look horribly out of sorts with the bat. Maybe for the next game or two we could try putting one of these guys up the order to give them more time to set in and build some form.
B'lore's win has certainly thrown open the competition. There is still 6 teams in the reckoning for a place in the semis. Every match from now on will be do-or-die for the teams. That should make for some intriguing and entertaining cricket. I'm fairly confident that Chennai will make it through. After all we still have one game against KKR. :)