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Rediff.com  » Sports » Yuvraj heroics can't stop Bangalore

Yuvraj heroics can't stop Bangalore

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: May 02, 2009 00:28 IST
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Yuvraj Singh's heroics  with bat and ball were in vain as Kings XI Punjab went down to Bangalore Royal Challengers by eights runs in the Indian Premier League match at Kingsmead, Durban, on Friday.

The flambouyant all-rounder hammered a quickfire 50 off 34 deliveries (3 boundaries, 4 sixes) after performing the first hat-trick with the ball in the second edition of the tournament, but his team still ended up short.

Chasing 146 for victory, Punjab lost their way in the final overs and finished on 137 for seven, handing Bangalore their second straight win.

The victory took the Bangalore side to fifth in the standings, with six points from seven games, while Punjab stayed fourth with six from as many games.

Roelof van der Merwe was Bangalore's star performer. He came up with a timely knock, hitting 35 from 19 deliveries, and claimed two wickets for 22 runs besides effecting a run-out.

Bangalore innings:

With Kevin Pietersen back to play for England, veteran Anil Kumble took over as the new Royal Challengers captain.

Jesse Ryder was assigned the task of opening the batting in place of Jacques Kallis, who came down the order.

Ryder's disastrous IPL continued as he fell in the first over, taken out by Irfan Pathan for 2. The left-hander edged an out-swinging delivery straight to Mahela Jayawardene at first slip. The Kiwi all-rounder has now aggregated 34 runs in four matches at 8.50, including two ducks. (2-1, 0.5)

Rajesh Bishnoi was promoted to number three with the obvious intent of taking on the bowlers while the fielding restrictions were in place. He took a few deliveries to settle down before smashing successive sixes off Pathan and Vikramjeet Malik in the third and fourth over of the innings.

Yusuf Abdulla has been a revelation with the ball for Punjab. He was again on target, starting with a wicket maiden over.

Bishnoi lashed at a wide delivery but ended up hitting straight to Piyush Chawla at cover and was gone for 18 from 14 deliveries, inclusive of two sixes. (27-2, 4.4)

The left-arm seamer struck with the first delivery of his next over when Sreevats Goswami (10) tried to launch him over the off-side but was caught by Chawla running in from the cover boundary. (38-3, 6.1)

Jacques Kallis got off to a brisk start, hitting three boundaries, to race to 20 from 17 deliveries as Bangalore reached 62 for three in 10 overs.

Just when it seemed Bangalore were building a solid platform for an assault in the final overs, Yuvraj undid everything with a hat-trick. The left-arm spinner rocked the Bangalore middle order with the wickets of Robin Uthappa, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher to leave them stunned.

Uthappa fell attempting a wild sweep shot off Yuvraj and was caught by Simon Katich at the midwicket boundary for 19. The right-hander, who hit two boundaries in his 17-ball knock, has now 59 runs from six innings. (80-4, 11.5)

Kallis, looking quite comfortable in the middle, was beaten by the arm ball from Yuvraj that skidded through after pitching and crashed onto his stumps.

Kallis scored 27 from 22 deliveries, including four boundaries, before his wicket left Bangalore in trouble at 80 for five. (80-5, 12)

Mark Boucher fell to the first delivery of Yuvi's third over, trapped leg before wicket for 2.

The South Africa wicketkeeper tried to play the left-armer through the leg-side but missed the ball and was struck right in front of the stumps. (84-6, 13.1)

This was the fourth hat-trick in the IPL following those of Lakshimpathy Balaji, Amit Mishra and Makhaya Ntini in the inaugural year.

It just took just three deliveries for Bangalore to lose their way and disintegrate from 80 for three to 84 for six.

Despite the cluster of wickets, Roelof van der Merwe did not curb his natural instincts. He started his stint by slamming Yuvraj for a boundary through point and followed it with a huge six through midwicket off Chawla.

Van der Merwe took on compatriot Abdulla in this third over when he smashed him for two sixes and a boundary to give the innings the much-needed momentum. In fact, the third six left everyone stunned, as the right-hander aimed to hit through midwicket, but the leading edge carried over the long-off boundary.

But Adulla had his revenge off the next delivery when Merwe tried another of his leading edges but this time was taken by Irfan at the cover boundary.

But the all-rounder had come up with a very important knock, hitting 35 off 19 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries and three sixes. (128-7, 17.4)

That wicket also assured Abdulla the Purple cap for the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, with 12 wickets in his sixth match.

In the next over, Virat Kohli holed Pathan straight to Chawla at long-on and was dismissed for 16 from 14 deliveries. (133-8, 18.1)

Adulla bagged his fourth wicket of the innings when he bowled Kumble (1) with an unplayable yorker in the final over of the innings. (136-9, 19.1)

He was unlucky to miss out on a five-wicket haul as Chawla dropped an easy catch at third man off Praveen Kumar.

Bangalore finished with a competitive 145 for nine in their 20 overs.

Punjab innings:

With Ravi Bopara back to play for England, Punjab captain Yuvraj promoted himself to open the innings with Karan Goel.

The first three overs were quiet for Punjab, Goel hitting the sole boundary as they reached 10 for no loss.

But Kallis's second over, that fetched 11 runs, was the tonic Punjab needed to kick-start their chase. Yuvraj's first boundary came off the 11th delivery he faced when he glanced Kallis through fine leg for a boundary in the fourth over. That followed a boundary from Goel down the ground.

Yuvraj welcomed Van der Merwe to the bowling crease with a huge six over long-on. Two balls later he slammed the left-arm spinner straight down for a boundary as Punjab looked to accelerate their scoring rate.

Yuvraj repeated the treatment on his counterpart Kumble, smashing him for a big six over square leg off his first delivery. Sixes rained off Yuvraj's bat as he smashed another one straight down the ground off Ryder as Punjab raced to 63 in nine overs.

Yuvraj seemed in a hurry as he carted Kumble for yet another six with a slog sweep over midwicket to bring up his half-century off 33 deliveries.

However, Kumble had his revenge the very next delivery when he got Yuvraj caught at midwicket attempting the same slog sweep. The left-hander had given his team the perfect launching pad, smashing 50 off 34 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries and four sixes. (70-1, 9.5)

Goel (20 off 29 balls) gave away his wicket in the next over when he lofted Van der Merwe straight to Kohli at long-on. (73-2, 11)

Merwe produced a moment of brilliance in the field to run-out Simon Katich for 3. Fielding at backward point, the South African dived to his right to stop a drive and threw in a quick return that caught the batsman short. (84-3, 12.4)

Bangalore came up with three tight overs, with just 18 runs coming off it, leaving Punjab to score 18 from the last three.

Mahela Jayawardene smashed two consecutive boundaries as 14 runs came off the 17th over bowled by Praveen Kumar.

Kumble promptly brought on his best bowler for the next over and Van der Merwe repaid his captain's faith by claiming a wicket with his first delivery. Jayawardene, who made 19 from 15 deliveries, tried to hit him over backward point but ended up holing out a simple catch to Kallis at point. (116-4, 17.1)

But the over was spoiled by two boundaries in two balls, one a leg bye followed by a boundary from Pathan.

Punjab scored 13 runs from that over to leave the equation at 17 needed from 12 deliveries.

Then Kumble, bowling the crucial 19th over, bowled Sangakkara with one that was a bit slower and didn't bounce as much as expected. (129-5, 18.2)

The veteran leggie showed great maturity to keep things tight as Punjab got only four runs from the over and needed 13 from the last.

Pathan hit Kumar for a boundary off the second delivery of the over but fell two deliveries later for 12. (137-6, 19.4)

Kumar followed it up with a perfect yorker that Chawla had no answer to and was bowled for 3. (137-7, 19.5)

Punjab finished on 137 for seven in their 20 overs.

This was Bangalore's first victory over Punjab in the IPL in four attempts.

For the first half of their run-chase, Punjab were in control, but Yuvraj's dismissal in the tenth over cost them dearly; they lost their way after that.

Kumble finished with two for 25 in four overs including the decisive 19th over when he gave away four runs to turn the match.

Kumar also deserves credit for bowling a tight final over and finishing with two for 27 in four overs.

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Harish Kotian

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