The difference in the margin of victory in the match between Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday at the Feroz Shah Kotla was only four runs. The result would clearly indicate that it was a close game. But, the actual fact was that both teams dominated in phases before allowing the other to make a strong comeback. As such, it was more a case of inconsistency from both sides that made the match seem more interesting than it actually was. In the end, Bangalore had enough firepower to overcome Delhi.
The most significant stage of the clash was the last four overs when Bangalore batted. Despite having wickets in hand and skipper Virat Kohli well-set, Bangalore weren’t motoring around. However, it was AB de Villiers, who broke the shackles with some uninhibited hitting. Kohli seemed inspired by his teammate and joined the assault. Some of the strokes the duo played during their alliance were astounding. The best part of their partnership was that they hit every ball in the middle, and carried on their assault right up to the last when Kohli, after smashing two big sixes, as run out for 99.
To be fair to Delhi’s bowlers, they were pretty impressive for most part of the innings, but those last four overs undid all their good work. Umesh Yadav is usually reliable at the death, but on Friday, with Kohli and de Villiers gunning for him, he had no answer to offer. In spite of his international experience, even Morne Morkel struggled to contain the flow of runs at the death, reiterating yet again that T20 is not a bowlers’ game by any stretch of the imagination. In wake of the Kohli-de Villiers onslaught all the good work done by Irfan Pathan and Shahbaz Nadeem earlier in the day got nullified.
Delhi didn’t have a great chance of chasing down the target considering their struggling batting stalwarts. Virender Sehwag was softened very well by Ravi Rampaul and that dented his confidence early on. It was only a matter of time before he fell. With Sehwag no good, the pressure fell back on skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who once again perished trying to get some big hits. Delhi were never going to recover from the early losses unless of course David Warner could come up with something special, which did not turn out to be the case.
The fact that Delhi got so close was only because some of their lesser-known batsmen stood up. Unmukt Chand finally registered a decent score, but after getting a start, he should have ideally stayed on to play a bigger innings. Ben Rohrer, yet again, showed spark, albeit briefly. Irfan Pathan and Morne Morkel demonstrated that there was still some fight left in Delhi, taking the match to the very end. But, Bangalore found their star in Jaydev Unadkat, who kept striking at regular intervals, including the last over, to take the visitors home.
Turning point of the game: The last four overs when Bangalore batted, which yielded 77 runs.
--By A Cricket Analyst