The start of the game saw the home fans enter the stadium with an aura of hope around them, hoping to not go down for the fourth time in a row. Little did they know what a match awaited them. It was a day every Royal Challengers supporter would note down in the history of the Indian Premier League as they completed a task which seemed virtually impossible.
Batting first, the Warriors had a good start and moved at 10 runs an over, inching towards the T20 aim of 200. Robin Uthappa played a great innings for them adding a valuable 69 to the total. Wickets did come for Vettori’s men, but pretty late into the game and the last over by Vinay Kumar was a good one as Pune ended up with a par 182 on scoreboard.
Out came the Royal Challengers openers with a big task on hand. Chris Gayle this time was partnered by Dilshan, who replaced his teammate Muralitharan, as the team looked to strengthen their batting attack which hadn’t hit the right note yet on more than one occasion. A failed Dilscoop saw the decision go in vain, as the Sri Lankan trudged back to the pavilion in dismay. Soon the new man Mayank Agarwal was dismissed too. As the required run rate started to climb, Virat Kohli decided to take the matter into his own hands, only to mishit the ball and retrace Agarwal’s steps.
Gayle, who was quiet with the bat all this time, then decided to let his fireworks loose. A few quick maximums saw the crowd jump onto their feet and jeer Nehra, the bowler. Next up on Gayle’s hitlist was Rahul Sharma, who was smacked for five consecutive sixes to get the Bangalore carriage back on track. But then, Nehra got back his revenge as a sublime yorker triggered celebrations in the Pune camp, as the Jamaican trudged back. The battle was half won for Dada’s men. Saurabh Tiwary and AB De Villiers were the names on everyone’s lips. “Could they do the job?” was the question. They struggled to connect with the ball cleanly as the equation read “42 required off 3 overs”. But the duo, coming so close to the target, weren’t going to let Gayle’s efforts go in vain. A few big hits, including a commendable back flick by the wicketkeeper-batsman, saw the men in red and gold requiring 28 off the final two overs. Ashok Dinda was brought in at this time, and bowled brilliantly to concede just 7 runs. The excitement showed in the team dugout and Allan Donald in particular was visibly delighted with the pacer’s performance.
21 off 6 balls was the equation:
Ball 1: A single was all they got. The game was swinging Pune’s way. 20 off 5 required.
Ball 2: A cheeky shot by Ab De Villiers saw the ball slip past Uthappa, behind the stumps and give the Challengers a much required boundary. They deserved that little piece of luck. 16 off 4 required.
Ball 3: The South African next hit the ball down the wicket, hard enough to clear the ropes. 10 off 3 required. The crowd hoped for the dream to continue.
Ball 4: A lovely scoop over fine leg saw made him pump his fists in the air as he got another maximum added to his score. 4 off 2. Where does the game head now?
Ball 5: A single saw Saurabh Tiwary get on strike, with all eyes on him to take the game home. At the same time, Nehra had a chance to make amends. 3 runs needed from1 delivery.
Ball 6: Smacked down the wicket, cleared the man at long on, 6 RUNS! and the celebrations began in the camp with everyone charging onto the pitch as Ganguly looked to the ground, in despair. Royal Challengers had achieved an improbable victory with 6 wickets to spare.
Watch the last few deliveries of the match:
Undoubtedly an over to remember, a match to savor, while the crowd would have headed home a contented lot, trying to catch their breath after an insane game of cricket.