Chennai no match for Challengers

Uthappa blasts 38-ball 68 as Bangalore outfit registers a 36-run win to go on top of the chart

Chennai no match for Challengers

RCB’s Robin Uthappa in an inventive mood en route to his 38-ball 68 against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday. DH photo / Srikanta Sharma R

The true index of a champion side is measured by how the parts that make up the sum respond in adversity.

An under-achieving young man with tremendous potential couldn’t have chosen a better situation, or indeed stage, to thrust himself back into the limelight. Robin Uthappa took the Chinnaswamy stadium, packed to the rafters, by storm with a breathtaking exhibition of power hitting on Tuesday night. Consequently, Royal Challengers Bangalore returned to the top of the IPL standings with their fourth successive victory, this time by 36 runs against the Chennai Super Kings.

 For the first time since their tournament opener when they came unstuck against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Royal Challengers top-order appeared less than intimidating largely because the Super Kings made excellent use of pacer-friendly conditions. The innings appeared headed nowhere right till the tail end before Uthappa cut loose in spectacular fashion.

 It was almost entirely on the back of the right-hander’s unconquered 68 (38b, 3x4, 6x6) that the Royal Challengers, forced to bat first after three successful chases, stormed through to 171 for five, 41 of those coming in the last two overs when an unforgiving Uthappa had the equally tempestuous Mark Boucher for company.

 Those last 12 deliveries had ensured that at the interval, the momentum had shifted not so subtly towards the home team, necessitating Matthew Hayden to be both the rock and the battering ram if Suresh Raina’s men were to return to winning ways.

 Hayden did threaten, but it was a threat all too brief, snuffed out by Rahul Dravid’s alacrity and accuracy from inside the ring on the off-side. From then, the collective might of the Challengers’ bowling, once again masterminded brilliantly by Anil Kumble the skipper and the bowler, took over to keep the Super Kings down to 135 for seven when they ran out of overs.

 Jacques Kallis was dismissed for the first time in the competition, Manish Pandey was tied down by the aggression of Albie Morkel, the industry of Sudeep Tyagi and the guile of Muttiah Muralitharan, and Dravid promised much but at 67 for three after ten overs, the Challengers were in a bad way.

 Virat Kohli kept Uthappa company during a stand of 47 (36b) that provided some impetus, but it wasn’t until right at the end that the issue was settled. Dropped in the deep on five and 25, Uthappa made the Super Kings pay with a smashing assault against Lakshmipathi Balaji and R Ashwin.

As if determined to show watching chairman of selectors Krishnamachari Srikkanth the folly of leaving him out of the T20 probables, Uthappa smashed 39 off his last ten deliveries faced, among them one giant six off Balaji struck off the front foot that sailed over long-on, and out of the stadium.

 The 19-ball Uthappa-Boucher partnership of 52 had transformed a middling total to an imposing one, defended with poise and comfort by Kumble and his bowlers. The captain was marvellous, bringing himself on at crunch times, Dale Steyn furious as ever, while Praveen Kumar and Kallis – despite taking a pasting from the Mongoose-armed Hayden – more than held their own.

 The most successful bowler, though, was R Vinay Kumar, four for 40, a trifle profligate but whole-hearted all the way through, epitomising the spirit of Bangalore so brilliantly captured by the Challengers.

Score Board

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Manish Pandey c Raina b Muralitharan 20 (28b, 2x4), Jacques Kallis b Balaji 19 (17b, 4x4), Rahul Dravid b Muralitharan 14 (11b, 3x4), Robin Uthappa (not out) 68 (38b, 3x4, 6x6), Virat Kohli st Patel b Muralitharan 24 (16b, 2x4, 1x6), Eoin Morgan b Morkel 1 (4b), Mark Boucher (not out) 13 (7b, 1x6). Extras (LB-10, W-3, NB-1) 14. Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Kallis), 2-59 (Dravid), 3-63 (Pandey), 4-110 (Kohli), 5-119 (Morgan).
Bowling: Albie Morkel 4-0-28-1, Sudeep Tyagi 4-0-19-0 (w-1), Lakshmipathi Balaji 4-0-49-1 (w-1, nb-1), Muttiah Muralitharan 4-0-25-3 (w-1), R Ashwin 4-0-40-0.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 29/1; 10: 67/3; 15: 104/3; end of innings: 171/5 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 38/1.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: Parthiv Patel c Boucher b Praveen 1 (3b), Matthew Hayden (run out) 32 (28b, 5x4), George Bailey c Boucher b Vinay 18 (27b, 2x4), Suresh Raina c Kallis b Vinay 9 (7b, 1x6), Murali Vijay c Morgan b Kumble 3 (7b), S Badrinath c (sub) Appanna b Vinay 31 (17b, 5x4, 1x6), Albie Morkel b Vinay 19 (19b, 1x4, 1x6), R Ashwin (not out) 11 (10b, 2x4), Lakshmipathi Balaji (not out) 0 (2b). Extras (LB-5, W-6) 11. Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 135.

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Patel), 2-57 (Hayden), 3-59 (Bailey), 4-71 (Raina), 5-74 (Vijay), 6-107 (Badrinath), 7-135 (Morkel).

Bowling: Praveen Kumar 4-0-21-1 (w-2), Dale Steyn 4-0-25-0 (w-3), Anil Kumble 4-0-15-1, Jacques Kallis 4-0-29-0, R Vinay Kumar 4-0-40-4 (w-1).
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 22/1; 10: 61/3; 15: 95/5; end of innings: 135/7 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 29/1.

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