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RCB stun Redbacks with a last ball maximum,one of the most memorable T20s ever

October 6, 2011

The clash was nicely set up. Somerset had joined the New South Wales Blues and the Mumbai Indians for the semis of CLT20 2011 just a little earlier, but the whole Bengaluru was waiting to see their home team seal a place for the top four. Redbacks came hard after a big defeat against the warriors and looking to upset the home team. RCB on the other hand suffered back to back defeats in their first 2 matches and were looking almost gone from there before Gayle storm hit the 22 yards against Somerset and from the net run rate prospective they went over the warriors. So nobody could say that who is going to qualify with Somerset, neither could predict the group topper which of course has a great deal of significance for the clashes of the fantastic four.

The pitch was a matter of concern for the Redbacks. It seamed to have some additional amount of help for the spinners. The marks made by the white ball during the earlier match could definitely come into play as the balls around middle and off could spun and go away from the right hander. On the other hand RCB won’t mind that as they have a very decent spin attack unlike the Redbacks. Having won the toss Redbacks elected to bat first. RCB would fascinate their chances on the factor of very heavy dew of the later evening.

Redbacks were looking to fire right from the word go. Except the first over from Nannes which cost just 3 they took on as Daniel Harris was going at some pace dealing in boundaries. He was not quite able to find his nick from the first ball though, but as he found the boundaries 2 or 3 times he began to grow in confidence. In the meantime Kohli missed a run out opportunity. Harris would have been miles out of crease had Kohli hit the timber with all the stumps to aim at and time to aim for,but he couldn’t.

And all that were greeted delightfully by the Redbacks opener as his blow took Redbacks to the second fastest team fifty in the 2011 CLT20. The skipper Klinger was happy to get off strike and watch him batting from the other end. He contributed some 6 or 7 of the team 50. And eventually trying to step out of the left arm spinner Syed Mohammed he was beaten by some sharp turn of the white marks of middle-off and got stumped.

After the end of a very healthy opening partnership the in form Ferguson came to give Harris company. In this period the pace was taken off by the RCB captain and it worked as well. Harris, who was striking the ball so cleanly, 12 boundaries in his first 53 runs, suddenly found it very difficult to pick the arm ball of the Syed Mohammad. Ferguson was also not looking to hit boundaries. But what is good in him that he can pick up the gaps in the field so easily by pushing and run hard to come back for a second. There are very few batsmen like him who deal in twos so much. The outstanding running between the wickets made sure that the scoreboard kept ticking with odd boundaries were coming too. First 25 balls that Ferguson had faced, he hardly took any sort of risk. He was then striking at just a touch more than hundred and the second team fifty took 47 balls, quite a long as compared to that of first which took just 26.

But from then the Redbacks, specially Ferguson started firing. It all together turned into a very smart innings of all the proper cricketing shots all around the ground. He likes to go over the bowlers head, playing well in straight bat is one of his greatest strengths. Also has the reputation of clearing boundaries as he did that at luminous number of occasions.

When he got out for 70 the SAR were into a very good position to reach 200 and also every chance of witnessing a T20 century for the crowd which was eventually produced by Harris. He was there till the end and some great hitting by him along with Daniel Christian took them well pass 200 by hammering RCB bowlers for 86 off the last 30.

To register a win RCB needed 215. Well, no score is Gayle-proof in the game if that man from the Caribbean is on song. The crowd was asking for some real Gayle glory, but it started of the run chase  with Dilshan’s delight. Gayle soon joined the party and as a result of some tremendous hitting by this destructive opening pair they reached first 50 of just 28 balls, two more as compared to SAR. Gayle just hit the longest six of the tournament and also a flat six down the ground that will be ever remembered by the people who went to watch the game. His dismissal was a setback for the local team, but you got to give it to the SAR captain who took it running behind in spite of colliding with Cooper. It took him off from the field and Ferguson took over from his captain.

At this stage RCB was going well ahead of the Redbacks. But the problem for them was the asking rate as it could climb up so fast with every dot ball.  They had to keep it up since they went for too many in the last 5 overs. In came Virat Kohli who had a serious finger injury while fielding and his batting was in front of some question mark. But he’s the one who likes the big stage and here too coped up with the challenge. He got of the mark with a six, and soon after find difficult to put bat on ball properly so that it goes into the gap. Pressure started to rebuilt once again, but Kohli made a move on soon. The shots he played over extra cover and long on were treat to watch, really a serious talent is Kohli. The maturity he showed last night is a must follow for not only the youngsters but also the people who are around the field for a long time. Great advertisement for Indian Cricket if somebody of 21 can play like this under such a huge pressure. He and Dilshan took RCB to a position from where everybody would have believed that RCB are going to seal their place with some comfort.

But once again the old quotes of the game proved to be true. Take wickets, and you are back in the game.  Ferguson had a last throw of the dice when RCB needed some 55-56 of the last 6 overs. He handed the ball over to Tait. And in that over Ferguson who is recognized as one of the safest pair of hands in the team put down a dolly of Virat. But the drama didn’t end there, Tait still had his man of the last ball of that over. What could have been a flat six turned out to be a fantastic judged catch at long on by ice cool Borgas. And suddenly wickets started to tumble for the RCB. Dilshan was holding one end but at the other end there was a flurry of wickets. Although the sixes they produced helped, Vettori, Tiwary and Agarwal wasn’t there for long but added a few quick runs for there team. But when Dilshan went of a pinpoint yorker from Tait, the panics started to spread. Vettori was out in attempt to clear the short fine leg, the first ball duck for the next man in and it was a 5 wicket haul for Shaun Tait.

But nobody could have written a better script at the end of the day. When just 2 wickets were left RCB many of the RCB fans would have thought that it’s gone. But there again lies the infinite unpredictability of this particular format where a man from zero can become a hero.  It was upto the wicketkeeper batsman Arun Karthik with 5 needed for a tie, and hence he must have to clear the boundary. The uncanny little fellow waited for the slower one to come, connected and probably played the most significant shot of his career so far as it went some 15-20 rows back into the cow corner boundary.

Just goes to show that how amazingly a match can turn on its head. Probably it has happened for the first time in a T20 match that a man scoring a hundred and a man with 5 wicket haul ended up being in the losing side. Lot of people may not certify this t20 format, but the record run chase, record number of runs scored, ups and downs for the both teams, tensions in both of the dugouts and finally a final ball sealer of a real thriller is definitely a great advertisement for this format too. Many would say that t20 demoralizing the bowlers, making cricket more of a batsman’s game, still the guaranteed entertainment of this format is definitely an eye catcher and exactly the reason for its immense popularity.

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