Royal Challengers Bangalore played the ultimate price for making a meal of a regulation run chase, crashing out at the league stage of IPL V.
Chasing Deccan Chargers' modest 132 for seven, and a place in the play-offs, the Royal Challengers were undone by a combination of exceptional pace and swing bowling from Dale Steyn and their own diffidence with the bat, going down by nine runs and missing out on the business end of the competition for the first time in four years. (Related read: Statistics from the match)
The Chargers' second successive victory, given shape by JP Duminy and rounded off by Steyn, thereby catapulted Chennai Super Kings, two-time defending champions, into the play-offs as the fourth-placed team. The Super Kings will take on Mumbai Indians in the Eliminator in Bangalore on Wednesday. (Also see: Match in pics)
The Royal Challengers appeared on course for a straightforward victory when the explosive Chris Gayle sent them on their way, smashing Manpreet Gony for 24 runs, through three fours and two sixes, in the second over. But when Steyn undid the left-hander with pace and steep bounce and then accounted for Tillakaratne Dilshan with a full, swinging delivery, the chase hit a serious roadblock.
Outstanding as Steyn was during a memorable first spell of 3-0-7-2 - he eventually finished with three for eight - he the South required support at the other end and that came from Amit Mishra. Like he had done against Rajasthan Royals two nights back, Mishra struck twice in one over, dismissing AB de Villiers and Mayank Agarwal to rock the Challengers.
Virat Kohli, the captain, and Saurabh Tiwary, who returned to the fray after retiring hurt with a hamstring twinge, promised a revival with a fifth-wicket stand of 46, but once Kohli found long-on with an ill-advised hoick across the line, the Challengers rapidly slid towards elimination.
It all looked all too rosy in the afternoon when, Duminy's late pyrotechnics notwithstanding, the Chargers struggled to put meaningful runs on the board. Zaheer Khan cleaned up Shikhar Dhawan in the first over and the home side's travails continued as wickets continued to tumble and the score went nowhere.
Duminy took it upon himself to provide the thrust, hitting Zaheer for a four and a six in the 17th over, then pummelling Muttiah Muralitharan for three towering sixes in the next. Consequently, the last five overs yielded a massive 57 runs, decisive in the context of a low-scoring game. By virtue of this win, the Chargers finished eighth in the table, ahead of Pune Warriors India, the wooden-spooners.