Bangalore: This IPL stuff is not for the faint-hearted. Match 21 of the league ended in a tie, forcing the second Super Over of the season which resulted in Ravi Rampaul striking twice to secure Royal Challengers Bangalore a thrilling win that moved them to top of the IPL 6 leaderboard.
What looked a straightforward chase, with RCB on 129 for 2 needing 24 runs in 25 balls with eight wickets in hand, dramatically and bizarrely turned into a mad dash for the finish line. Five wickets fell for eight runs in 16 deliveries, after which RCB's eighth-wicket pair scrambled a bye off the final ball to level the scores. That forced the one-over eliminator, which saw Delhi's opening pair knock off the 16 needed for victory. The team from the capitol needed six off the last ball, but Rampaul kept it full and straight and snuck it under Ben Rohrer's bat to spark mad celebrations at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday night.
Just how it came to this will be talked about in the days to come, by those who follow the IPL closely. Thanks to a century stand between RCB captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, the home team were closing in on a facile finish. Kohli and de Villiers had joined forces after the exit of Chris Gayle for 13, slashing Morne Morkel to third man, and coolly pushed Delhi on the back foot.
Kohli shored up a tricky situation with another superb, confidence-coated half-century without playing an ugly shot while de Villiers produced another punchy innings. Ashish Nehra was swatted out of the attack by de Villiers, who carved him over deep point for six, and Irfan Pathan's gentle offerings allowed Kohli to cut and de Villiers to drive, thus ensuring the asking rate remained in control. Kohli took a liking to Shahbaz Nadeem, striking the left-arm spinner for a straight six followed by two fours; then he pulled Irfan to reach his fifty in 32 balls.
Then disaster struck. De Villiers was run out for 39 and two balls later, Andrew McDonald was caught and bowled by Nadeem for 0. Arun Karthik was run out when urged by Kohli to take a third run on Irfan's arm from the deep, meaning RCB had lost three wickets for seven runs. Rampaul slashed six off the first ball of the last over, but Irfan rallied to concede just four runs to leave the equation at two of one ball. Rampaul missed and sprinted down the other end, while from behind the stumps Kedar Jadhav had a shy but a leg bye was achieved by RCB.
De Villiers smoked two sixes off Umesh Yadav's last two overs in the Super Over to set Delhi 16 to win, but the wicket of David Warner first ball, cutting Rampaul straight to Gayle at cover, and a four and six to Irfan was followed by single. The odds were stacked against Rohter, who swung and missed and was bowled.
This thrilling finale came after a stop-start innings from Delhi after Kohli inserted them at the toss. Once a 43-run opening stand was snapped via a great reflex catch from Vinay Kumar the rest of the batsmen struggled to forge meaningful alliances and the highest score of the innings was Kedar Jadhav's 16-ball 29. Amazingly, whenever the top-order batsmen tried to break free, they picked out fielders.
Warner began by cracking RP Singh through the off side for fours in the second over but his aggression was snapped when Vinay plucked a blinder of a shot just before the Powerplay ended. First ball after it, Virender Sehwag (25) flicked McDonald straight to Kohli at midwicket.
With Mahela Jayawardene intent playing the sheet-anchor's role, the pressure of dot balls and deliveries aimed at the body told on Manprit Juneja who lofted Jaydev Unadkat to Vinay at long-on. Then it was Ben Rohrer who swung the first ball of Unadkat's fourth over straight to Kohli at deep midwicket. When Jayawardene was run out at the nonstriker's end for a 31-ball 28, Delhi were 122 for 5 and it seemed 140 would take some getting. Irfan and Jadhav looted 30 in 12 balls to take the total to 152 for 5, but ultimately Delhi lacked firepower in the one-over eliminator.