Kumble is the toast

Anil Kumble is greeted by his team-mates on dismissing Parthiv Patel. The veteran spinner had figures of three for 14 in the match.-K. PICHUMANI

Chennai Super Kings’ ineptitude with the bat saved the visiting side from losing its 10th match. Nandita Sridhar reports.

Chennai Super Kings spectacularly imploded in the face of what should have been a comfortable win against Bangalore Royal Challengers, at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium. Needing 127 for a semifinal spot, Chennai’s middle and lower-order fritted away the advantage offered by the openers — Parthiv Patel and Stephen Fleming — who put on 60 quick runs. Anil Kumble bowled a splendid spell, frustrating the batsmen with a difficult line, to finish with figures of three for 14. Dale Steyn proved a handful for the lower-order.

Upfront in the chase, Fleming and Patel swept, cut and pulled with ease, there being no indication of the collapse that would follow. Fleming failed to make use of a reprieve — he was bowled off a no-ball by Vinay Kumar — and departed almost immediately for a well made 45. The middle-order’s unforgivable shot-selection let the side down. Skipper M. S. Dhoni struggled with his timing and placement before taking Vinay on, only to find Kumble at long-on.

Despite the target being within reach, the urgency was baffling. Albie Morkel and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan fell to top-edges. Suresh Raina’s tactics in the final over were perplexing. Needing 16 for a win, he was paralysed and clueless, taking Chennai to an embarrassing loss.

Captain M. S. Dhoni blamed his team’s lack of application for the defeat. “It was bad shot selection. One or two stands could have got us through to a win. No one took the responsibility. A couple of bad shot-selections affected us. It was a gettable total.

“We changed the batting order according to situation. Most of them floated around. If the players had thought in the middle as much as they thought in the dressing room, we would have won.”

The visiting team’s batting had problems of its own. Manpreet Gony struck with his fourth ball to induce Jacques Kallis into edging to slips. Chennai’s fielding was magnificent. Virat Kohli was dismissed off Muttiah Muralitharan when Morkel pulled off a brilliant catch inches in front of the ropes, while Patel flung himself to complete the catch that sent back Misbah-ul-Haq off L. Balaji.

Bangalore laboured on thereafter. 44 balls went without a boundary, while the side managed the dubious record of the slowest hundred in the IPL. Captain Rahul Dravid showed his class with a 39-ball 47 that included five fours, but his ill-timed exit meant the side couldn’t get close enough to 150. Chennai’s ineptitude with the bat saved the visiting side from losing its 10th match.

The Scores

Chennai Super Kings vs Bangalore Royal Challengers, M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, May 21, 2008.

Result: Bangalore Royal Challengers won by 14 runs.

Bangalore Royal Challengers 126 for eight in 20 overs (Rahul Dravid 47, Praveen Kumar 21, Manpreet Gony 2-11, Albie Morkel 4-32) beat Chennai Super Kings 112 for eight in 20 overs (Parthiv Patel 24, Stephen Fleming 45, Suresh Raina 21 n.o., Dale Steyn 2-28, Anil Kumble 3-14).