SK Flashback: Rain follows RCB to a Lagaan-like victory against SRH
One would agree that if you are playing against RCB, you're also playing against rain, especially if the match is in the Chinnaswamy. Rain is the Hutch dog (or Vodafone, as you like it) for them, wherever they go, it follows. It's almost an integral part of their team, that the opposing team must keep in mind while plotting strategies against them.
A flashback to one such matches, the RCB vs SRH in the 8th edition of the IPL, where Warner's half-century was defeated by the rain and Kohli's firing.
The backdrop of the match
The teams were at a rather non-risky middle spots of the table where they didn't have any must-wins ahead of them. However, with two more games to go for both the teams, a win could've in this one could've assured their spot in the playoffs.
Despite the dangerous trio atop the RCB batting unit, they were struggling in run-chases. SRH taking advantage of the same and home ground conditions opted to bat first after winning the toss.
The actual game-changer - RCB had already experienced the 'in-form rain' in a couple of matches earlier in the season. The rain, reinstating that it is the biggest game-changer as opposed to Kohli or Warner, was reluctant to leave the field. The fate of the game bobbed from 'match abandoned without a ball being bowled' to 'match resumes with reduced overs'. After 3-4 rounds of hide-and-seek, the rain finally halted at 10 pm making way for 11 overs-per-side game.
Aussie duo - the mitochondria of SRH
After deciding to welcome the evening with Mitchell Starc's toe-crushing yorkers, SRH failed to open explosively. Dhawan lost his wicket at the beginning to David Wiese's short ball. The drenched and loyal SRH fans were contemplating their presence in the stadium.
Moises Henriques, the former RCB-ian was the SRH's star that season. He walked in when his team was 19/1 in the third over. The Aussie duo in the middle had their strategy set for the remainder of the re-allocated overs - take the risk and attack every ball. Within few minutes of Henriques' entry, Sunrisers were back in the game, chasing a couple of boundaries in every over.
As the game progressed, the RCB bowlers, borrowing towels to wipe the ball more frequently than wiping their sweat, were finding it difficult to grip on it. Henriques was given three lives, something that scripted video games wouldn't have given you. The batsmen, taking advantage of this and the wet outfield were feasting on the bowing unit.
Towards the last over, the rain was already back for its sequel, not even caring that it is bad manners to interrupt a single game so many times. Kohli was fiercely questioning the umpire's decision of allowing the play even while the rain was coming down heavily on them. However, the SRH finished their innings and riding on the 103-run partnership between Warner-Henriques, had achieved a total of 136.
A Lagaan climax to Kohli's heroics
The clock struck 12 and Cinderella had to return, but the spectators at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium were still there. RCB had finally managed to scrape a 6-over run chase. Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli, rushed to the middle before the rain decided to gatecrash again.
Duckworth-Lewis asked 81 runs off 6 overs from the RCB and the opening pair were at it from the word go. Gayle cleared his front foot and sent the ball sailing over the boundary at every possible opportunity. In fact, in this rain-curtailed game, he was creating opportunities in every ball with the asking rate at 13.5.
Two quick wickets in between applied some brakes on this monstrous run-chase. Gayle was out at 44 and AB was sent back at a golden duck. The fourth over saw a lot of running-between-the-wickets with the athletic abilities of Mandeep Singh and Virat Kohli and just one ball clearing the boundary. But, Mandeep Singh was out the very next over. RCB had to risk it all in the cameo they were allowed.
RCB walked into the last over with 13 runs to score. Kohli had already played this over in his mind in the over break and was explaining it to his partner, Dinesh Karthik. It didn't prove to be much of a help as DK's bat deflected the ball off Kohli's bat and it headed straight to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. He conveniently took off the bails while Karthik had already begun to run to the other side.
12 to win off the last 4 balls. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar shoots a yorker and Kohli belts it over the point to the boundary.
8 off the last 3. Kumar bullets a wide yorker this time. Kohli adjusts his feet and slices it between the third man and point towards the boundary.
4 off the last 2. A length ball from him and Kohli gets under it and lofts it. Warner traces the trajectory and runs towards it. He grabs the catch and begins celebrating as well. But, in doing so he stepped over the boundary cushions. It was a six! Was it Captain Andrew Russell or David Warner who performed the last feat?
Virat Kohli, the chase-master, had led his team by example. RCB had won this match that was short of overs but not short of entertainment. A gritty two points were added beside their name on the table as they sailed to a higher position after an intense fight with the rain.
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