Kallis and Uthappa drive Bangalore in a thrilling chase

Anyone who saw the collapse of RCB in its IPL opener might not have expected this result because their approach today contrasts the previous one. And their well constructed innings made them the second team to chase a total above 200. Runs flowed throughout the match as the white ball was floating all around the flamboyant Chinnaswamy stadium. Stats speak that it was the first time in any IPL match that all the players played, that every batsmen played have their strike rate above 100.

One of Bangalore’s adopted sons, Ross Taylor, wasn’t around to send the ball soaring like he’s done many times, but the power hitting from Kallis, Uthappa and Pandey more than made up for his absence. The batsmen with strong forearms thumped the ball with amazing velocity to fetch massive sixes, particularly over the onside, to deflate the bowling side and cut the target down to size.

RCB got the kind of start they want while they are chasing a mammoth. Manish and Kallis too their time to settle in the crease and they accelerated the innings in a steady way. Pandey struck sixes with ease and the duo took care that the required runrate never go beyond unreachable.  A lightning quick straight drive nearly cleaned up the umpire and the bowler, Irfan Pathan, was smoked for two huge sixes over his head in his next over. Pathan was smacked for bowling it too full and when Yuvraj Singh held the length back, Pandey shoveled him over midwicket for a six.

Piyush Chawla sent him back in the eighth over as he deceived him with a quick skidder that got the leading edge. Uthappa joined the party as he struck the costliest over of the match in the bowling of Sreesanth. In the 13th over by Sreesanth, he struck three sixes and a four that gave him 24 runs in the over. With the power hitting in this over, the required runrate came down to 9.7 from 11.3.

Uthappa brought up his fifty in 19 balls and he got out in the same over of Bisla. RCB needed 61 of 6 overs with Kallis remaining at one end. He matched Pandey and Uthappa for style and power, particularly those shots over midwicket. The ball was dumped over that region with such regular frequency that the crowd ought to have worn helmets.

RCB still required 34 of the last three overs but Kallis didn’t let any wonders happen as he struck 23 runs of debutant bowler Bipul Sharma and RCB needing only 11 runs of the last two overs. Kohli and Kallis sealed the chase as they struck a four each in the 19th over.

At first, Kings XI Punjab’s decision to bat first seemed to be the right one with their openers putting up a 129-run partnership by the 15th over. Manvinder Bisla played a chancy innings, but managed to stay at the crease to score 75 off 51 balls. The Haryana-born wicket-keeper-batsman overshadowed his more experienced partner Ravi Bopara. Bopara, though, stayed steady and scored 77 before being bowled by Praveen Kumar.

From a relative anonymity Manvinder Bisla stroked his way to limelight against the likes Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Anil Kumble. The young Kings XI opener began rather tentatively as he found Steyn’s pace little difficult to negotiate, but settled down nicely to go after rest of the bowlers.

The more experienced Ravi Bopara played a second fiddle but kept the scoreboard racing with his stroke filled innings. Initially he gave more strike to his younger partner, who was on rampage, but later opened his shoulder to play some delectable square cuts, drives and pull shots.

The duo took their teams to 87 for no loss in 10 overs and went on to add 129-runs for the opening stand. The partnership ended with Bisla holing out to deep mid-wicket, going after Kallis. The attacking batsman cracked seven boundaries and four sixes. He had done his job of providing a perfect launch pad for the middle order to turn on the heat.

Bopara turned on the heat after his partner departed and went after Bangalore bowlers with vengeance. He found a partner in Jayawardene and the duo put together 53 runs in 3.4 overs towards the end.

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