Royal Challengers BangaloreIt was another rainy day at Bangalore that delayed the start of IPL-8’s 33rd match. Royal Challengers Bangalore were playing Kolkata Knight Riders and when the rain stopped, the game got reduced to one of 10 overs each. Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata are the three major venues that have experienced rain delays this season and Saturday’s heavy rains at Bangalore took away 2 hours and 45 minutes of playing time. By its inherent character, T20 games are played at a speedy pace and therefore, reducing it to 10 overs virtually transformed the contest as the one between Big-Hitters Vs Big-Hitters. RCB had invited KKR to bat first after Virat Kohli got lucky with the coin toss. Despite losing Gautam Gambhir early, KKR did very well to post 111 thanks to a 17-ball 45 from Andre Russell and 21-ball 23 from Robin Uthappa. In reply, RCB began well but lost Chris Gayle in the fourth over for 21, scored off 9 balls. That wouldn’t have mattered much since Virat Kohli was stroking well and AB de Villiers had joined him. But when Piyush Chawala bowled ABDV in the fifth over, RCB were still short of the halfway mark. But RCB instantly found for a savior in Mandeep Singh, who hammered 45 off 18 balls to snatch victory from KKR with 2 balls still left in the match.

Having to bat first, KKR began solidly with Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir. The pair produced a 33-run opening stand before Gambhir was brilliantly caught by Mandeep Singh. Uthappa had a new partner in Andre Russell, who began hitting from the moment he arrived. With Uthappa, Russell added 37 in just 17 balls before Uthappa fell as the second KKR wicket after scoring 23 off 11. But Russell carried on with Ryan Doeschate before bad luck ran him out at the score of 96. Doeschate and Yusuf Pathan carried the score to 111 in the end, which was very challenging.

In response, Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli launched a purposeful chase and reached 48 in the fourth over before Gayle holed out to a delivery from Brad Hogg. RCB suffered a shock, five deliveries later, when a quicker ball from Piyush Chawala found de Villiers’ bottom edge before crashing on the stumps. At that point RCB needed 62 from 32 balls for victory. But Virat Kohli was joined by Mandeep, who played a stellar role in RCB’s chase. He began immediately as he arrived keeping his composure under the pressure situation. With Kohli content in playing just a supporting cast, Mandeep turned the aggressor. When Kohli fell for 34 off 20, RCB still required 31 off 16. But Mandeep made it with a stunning knock of 45 off 18 balls and remained unbeaten in the end. Mandeep kept his head on his shoulder, when Andre Russell came to bowl the final over with 12 runs required. The first two balls yielded just 3 runs and pressure mounted. But Mandeep swung a yorker-length ball to six over backward point and when he repeated the act with the next ball to hoist it over deep backward square leg, the entire Chinnaswamy Stadium erupted into rapturous celebrations.