Match 55: Deccan Chargers thrive under pressure and Delhi Daredevils choke under pressure. That just sums up the 2 teams performance in the 3 seasons of IPL. Deccan Chargers who finished 7th in the first season shocked everyone by winning the second season and after having lost 5 matches in a row this season they had to win the last 5 matches to make it to the semis but they played like true defending champions outclassing each of the 5 teams that they played to charge into the semis. On the other hand Delhi who have been the favourites in all the seasons have failed to deliver in crunch games. After having reached the semis of the previous 2 editions they could not enter the finals and tonight when it was a must win game for them to get into the semis they failed yet again. There might not be any South African players in the Delhi side but surely they are the South Africa of IPL.
Match 54: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Dhoni came to the party when his team needed him the most. His 29 ball 54 blitzkrieg took his side to the semi-finals for the 3rd season in a row. He blasted 25 runs in the final 2 overs to remind everyone that he is still one of the best finishers of the game. Kings XI once again failed to defend a big total which has been the story of the season – their batsmen have piled on more runs than all teams except Mumbai Indians, but their bowling has has let them down big time. Having made 192, it was a tough ask for the Super Kings to chase it down but given that they had no other way but to go for it made the innings interesting. It began badly for them as they lost both their openers quickly but Raina and Badrinath got the innings back on track before Dhoni’s onslaught stunned the Kings XI at their home ground Dharamshala.
Match 53: Kolkata Knight Riders outclassed the Rajasthan Royals to win the game comprehensively by 8 wickets. After having seen the outcome of the Bangalore match both the teams were in with an outside chance to make it to the semis and in the end one team kept their hopes alive while Rajasthan Royals became the 2nd team to crash out of IPL 3. It was total domination by Kolkata bowlers as they restricted the Royals to a below par score of 132. Half the job was done and the remaining half was completed thanks to a solid 3rd wicket partnership between Sourav Ganguly and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Match 52: The table toppers Mumbai Indians crushed RCB by 57 runs on their home turf and the big loss meant their run rate took a beating but remained just high enough to make them favourites for the semi final berth. The match was delayed by an hour due to a couple of low-intensity blasts outside the stadium but once the match started the crowd were treated to some power hitting by the Mumbai boys who posted 191 on the board which in the end proved too much for the boys in red.
Bangalore Royal Challengers Innings
Match 51: Deccan Chargers pulled off a thriller against Kings XI winning their 4th consecutive game by virtue of which they are still in contention for that all important semi final berth. Put in to bat at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharmashala, Kings XI posted 174 on a wicket which had more grass than all the pitches combined in India. Chargers two star overseas batsmen Gilchrist and Symonds didn’t do much, but once again the local talent did it for them. Suman and Rohit’s timely partnership of 66 in 39 balls got them past the line. If you had to name a batsman who can be graceful yet lethal it has to Rohit Sharma who made a brilliant 68 from 38 and ensured that Chargers didn’t choke this time (referring to the game against Rajasthan)
Match 50: Delhi Daredevils were playing at MA Chidambaran stadium in Chennai but the pitch was similar to the one in Delhi and in that sense they were playing at home away from home except for the soaring temperatures in Chennai which reached 45 tonight and with humidity it must have felt like 50. After dismissing the Super Kings for their lowest score in this season, Delhi began the chase on a disastrous note before Gambhir’s determined knock saved the team from blushes. By virtue of this win Delhi move to the 3rd position and Chennai remain at No 4. Having won 4 games on the trot at home Chennai crowd were disappointed to say the least.
Match 49: RCB crushed Rajasthan Royals by 5 wickets all thanks to a disciplined performance from Bangalore bowlers and Kevin Pietersen’s aggressive knock. It was a crucial encounter for both the teams as it was a must win game but the Challengers took on the challenge to beat the Royals in their own backyard and they did it in style.
Bangalore Royal Challengers Innings
Match 48: Ganguly lashing out at his team after losing to RCB a few days ago certainly didn’t do any good as Kolkata were thrashed by the Super Kings. The man who changed the face of Indian cricket a decade ago has been found wanting when it comes to ideas and with this loss his job is only going to get tougher. If the same show continues in the remaining 2 matches then you can be rest assured the KKR won’t be going into the semis for the 3rd time in IPL. It does not do any justice to the budding talent that they possess.
Match 47: The explosive West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard finally lived up to the costliest tag with a swashbuckling 45 of 13 balls which destroyed all the good work that the Delhi bowlers had put before he came on to bat. Pollard, criticized for under performing so far, silenced his detractors who questioned his valuation with this amazing innings. The Daredevils started the chase in a blitzkrieg manner but with the big guns gone, Mumbai Indians took control of the match and finally ended up winning it by 39 runs. With this win Mumbai Indians have booked their berth in the semi finals and on the other side Delhi have to win the rest of their 2 matches to enter the semis.
Match 46: Pressure brings out the best from the Chargers and Bangalore Royal Challengers were at the receiving end tonight. Dale Steyn rocked the chargers early but the Chargers managed to put up a decent total(151) which should have been a cake walk for the power-packed batting line-upand it was going the Challengers way but a superb penultimate over, bowled by Harmeet Singh (two for 24), helped Deccan pouch the game. This game just goes to show that you don’t have to always outclass a team in order to win a T20 match but sometimes it is those crucial little moments that really matter in the end.