RCB vs KKR: A clinical victory
The noise levels threaten the existence of the blimp and Manish Pandey gets chatty as RCB put it across KKR in a crucial encounter.
RCB Team Strategy
The idea was to get Sourav Ganguly to play most of the first six overs, which worked (he scored only 23 off 19 balls) but Gayle needed just 14 balls at the other end to smote a 34.
Once he was taken care of, KKR bashed about for four more overs before caving in.
The inclusion of Sridharan Sriram was probably more to do with allowing an extra bowling option. Fantastic focus on skills and attitude in training and generating positive vibes lead him to an opportunity, but the role defined wasn't up his alley.
That said, Manish Pandey wasn't rested on any attitude or behavioural grounds, as some fans had queried. Just a strategic decision which might change in future games.
The bowling unit. After receiving flak for gifting away matches in the death overs, they came back with a stellar performance. Vinay picked up two biggies, Kumble turned miser (4.25 runs/over given away in his spell) and KKR went from 101-1 in 11 overs to 160 in 20. Game over.
Special mention: Dravid set up the chase while Robin Uthappa finished matters off with his now-standard 22 ball 50. Just saying.
Shot of the day
There's something about Rahul Dravid and the cover region. In Kolkata, he'd executed the textbook drive- Also etched on the wall commemorating his 10,000 test runs at the Chinnaswamy- teasing the fielder to the fence.
Yesterday, nine innings later, he leaned back to a full length Agarkar delivery and caressed it in the air over extra cover. The fielder jumped in the hope of a catch, but it evaded him for a six. Just.
Like it was supposed to from the moment it left the bat. Sheer class.
A moment to remember
It was a matter of time, but the minute it happened, it was a glorious sight. Every person in the stadium had an RCB flag in hand, but they stayed down as the ball flew to all corners in the first six overs of the KKR innings.
As soon as Gayle flayed Kallis straight to cover, out came the flags, and even if you've seen the sight before, 40,000 of them being waved simultaneously in a floodlit cauldron is still a sight to behold.
The newspaper ads thanking fans for helping RCB's home games become sell-outs was no joke. Unlike most matches in which seats gradually filled up, this one was packed by the time Anil Kumble could call "Tails".
While members of the press gorged on Shahi Tukdas and corporate hospitality guests picked their spirits, the rest of the crowd focused on raising the decibel levels. And how. If the MRF blimp were to be placed any lower, it might have just popped.
Fun interviewee of the day
Manish Pandey. Came on in the second innings for a live chat with the fans and bared details about his personality, off field activities and 'all important' cars vs girls debate one particular fan was interested in. Full interview coming soon.
A clinical performance by RCB wipes out memories of the recent run and sets up a semifinal slot. Almost. With terrific atmosphere to boot in Bangalore , as always, this match was a blast. A