Storified by Pitch Invasion ·
Sat, May 18 2013 21:12:49
It was a match that RCB needed to win to stay in contention for the play offs. It was a match RCB needed to win to keep the tournament alive till the last league match day. But more than that, it was the Cauvery Derby. Chennai took on Bangalore in the Garden-turned-Garbage city.
But an hour before the game was the start, the Gods decided to play some games of their own.
It rained and it rained and it rained. It stopped. And then it started to rain again. And it got harder. And harder. Until, everyone just about gave up any hope of a ball being bowled. And RCB's fate, it seemed, had been decided upstairs.
And then, it stopped! Suddenly. Like someone just turned off the tap.
It was eight overs a side. Dhoni won the toss and elected to field. He said he wanted to know the target they have to chase. And boy, did that backfire or what.
Ashwin started the bowling, primarily to counter Gayle. But, Gayle's opening partner Kohli took most of Ashwin's two overs. In fact, he took quite a liking for it hitting him for 3 fours and a six.
It was a Kohli show until the fifth over when Holder came along. For some reason, Gayle showed a surprising dislike for tall West Indian, men hitting Holder for three successive sixes. But that didn't last long. Fellow West Indian, Dwayne Bravo, the guy to take revenge.
After that it was pretty much the Kohli show. 6 fours and 4 sixes went into his 29-ball 56, and some classy shots in that. So classy that you could ignore the cocky raising of the bat on reaching his 50. Relax kid, it's just an eight over match.
Bangalore reached a score of 106 from 8 overs, a scoring rate of 13.25. They had scored enough in 8 overs to challenge PWI over 20.
But something felt strange about the match, so far. Everything seemed far too lazy. Like, CSK weren't really interested in winning the match. Why, one can only speculate.
Dhoni dropped Kohli once, an easy one at that. Didn't even appeal for another when Kohli had clearly nicked it. Bravo's line of bowling, in both overs, was quite inexplicable. He bowled around the wicket, even to the right handers. Sure, he got a freak wicket of Gayle from that line, but angling the ball across to batsmen like AB De Villers and Kohli is suicide. But that line was persisted with throughout both the overs.
Chasing 107 in 8 overs, CSK needed some aggression at the top. May be, just may be, the Mahi of ol' would walk out to face the first ball. Er, sorry. That Mahi is no mo'. Guess who walked out with Huss. Murali Vijay!
Vijay was the perfect man for the job.
And, in the line of duty, he showed that he was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice...his family jewels. Param Vir Chakra, please, for Murali Vijay.
While Vijay was doing what he does best, Zaheer Khan had made a dramatic comeback to... for want of a better word... Cricket.
In his first over, the second of the inning, he removed Hussey and Raina off successive balls. Raina's, especially, looked a tired effort to clear the infield.
What really highlighted CSK's strategy was that Dhoni didn't come out to bat even after the second wicket. The world's best chaser of targets doesn't come out to bat until the 5th over in an 8-over game. Yeah, I know what you're thinking.
Dhoni did hit some big ones, including that disappeared over the roof. But it was all too little, too late.
It was all a sham.
We did a quick poll after the match, asking people if they thought this match was fixed. The result is below. Out of 161 people, 55% felt that it's fixed. It doesn't prove whether the match was fixed or not. But it does show that Cricket, especially the IPL, has lost credibility. And, people don't think the tournament is cleansed of it's rogues yet.
But the best part about the BCCI is that it is so predictable. No surprises coming from that side. We all know that the show will go on. And so will the side show.