Uthappa’s 68 of 38 balls rescued Bangalore’s innings after they lost three key wickets before half of their innings got over. Uthappa’s blitz helped his team recover from a shaky start and sluggish middle overs, after which Bangalore’s bowlers throttled Chennai Super Kings to move to the top of the points table.
Match looked to be in control of Chennai as they bound the Bangalore in-form batsmen with strict bowling. But it was the final 19 deliveries of Bangalore’s innings, where Uthappa blazed away, that made the difference. Dropped on 5 and 25, Uthappa helped Bangalore take 52 runs off them, lifting his team from 119 after 17 overs to 171 for 5, when at one stage 150 looked difficult.
The shots played by Uthappa mostly came out of brute power and sensible improvisation. Take a bow to “THE WALKING ASSASSIN” for his enormous hitting that shifted the course of match. The speed of scoring was so interesting that he got his last 39 runs of just 10 balls. He ripped the bowling of Balaji as he struck a four followed by three biggies which were sixes in any stadium. Boucher joined this assassination as he struck a six in the last four followed by a six by Uthappa.
Until that explosion, Bangalore had struggled to face the decent Chennai attack. From the time their talisman opener Jacques Kallis was bowled for 19 in 4.4 overs, ending a splendid run of four unbeaten innings, the home side failed to overcome Chennai’s bowlers. On a wet surface, an eagerly-awaited contest began with Chennai’s new-ball duo wondering just what was needed to make a breakthrough. They thought they had success in the first over, when a peach of a delivery from Albie Morkel appeared to shave the outer edge of Kallis’ bat, but the umpire turned it down.
The openers rode his luck, as Manish Pandey got an inside-edged four to fine leg with a top edge that dropped between two fielders, and then Kallis charged Morkel, slashing a thick outside edge that was lost in the lights by L Balaji at third man. Off the very next delivery, Kallis edged Morkel wide of a diving slip for four more.
Once Kallis was out for 19, Bangalore lost a anchor to their innings. Though Pandey looked dangerous on one side, Rahul Dravid tried to unleash himself. Most of the balls, he was not able to connect to the ball properly. But as he struck two fours of Balaji, it looked like he got into the momentum. He struck a brilliant four in the bowling of Muralitharan but a wicket followed the four as he failed to read the topspinner by Murali.
When the strategic time-out rolled around – that’s the pace at which the innings panned out – Chennai had restricted Bangalore to their poorest start yet, 61 for 2. That soon became 63 for 3 when Pandey slogged Murali and was held by Suresh Raina at mid-on. However, Chennai proceeded to reprieve Uthappa and conceded substantial ground.
With Uthappa providing a solid total to defend, the bowlers bowled upto their expectations. They got a perfect start as Praveen Kumar got the crucial break through by sending “Chota Hayden” Parthiv back to the pavilion.
Chennai struggled during the Powerplay, finishing the six-over block on 29 for 1. Matthew Hayden called for the Mongoose immediately after and hit Kallis for three consecutive fours, but he and George Bailey were unable to get the old fox Anil Kumble away. Mixing flippers and googlies exceptionally, Kumble kept a check on runs and the pressure resulted in Hayden being run out by Rahul Dravid’s underarm hit.
They got another breakthrough as R Vinay Kumar’s perfect seam position dismissed Bailey for a woeful 18 from 27 balls. Vinay struck a bigger blow in his next over when he got Suresh Raina to slash to Kallis at third man, and then Kumble sent back M Vijay. The innings never recovered after four wickets had fallen for 17 runs. Vinay went for a few runs but finished with a four-wicket haul to help Bangalore to lead the table pushing Mumbai Indians to second position.
By: Ganta Rakesh