Pune Warriors went up against Murphy's Law at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and came a distant second-best, as they hurtled to their fifth successive defeat. Everything they tried backfired spectacularly: they included Kamran Khan to add an extra dimension to their attack, and Tim Paine for solidity at the top. As it transpired, Kamran bled 47 in three overs, allowing Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli to unleash a rain of sixes that lifted Royal Challengers Bangalore to 181. In the reply, Paine ended up providing more solidity than was bargained for, sleep-walking to 8 off 17 balls as the chase lost steam early.
Paine's problems, and Manish Pandey's after him, meant Jesse Ryder struggled to roll at his usual pace. Pune dawdled listlessly to 63 for 1 by the 10th over, with their two best batsmen still waiting for a hit. By the time Yuvraj Singh took guard, Pune needed 103 off 51 balls. Had he left it for too late?
Pandey continued to struggle, and Yuvraj took it upon himself to pull off the unthinkable. He began to target left-arm spinners Daniel Vettori and Syed Mohammad, and carted them for three sixes and a four with the spin to reduce the equation to 55 off the last four overs. Zaheer Khan, who had struggled in his first spell, came on and produced exemplary lengths to force Yuvraj into a mis-hit. Vettori and Gayle followed that up with two unhittable overs to close the game out.
Earlier, Bangalore played the typical IPL innings: keep out the good bowlers, and go after the weakest link. They did not have to wait long to capitalise on Pune's hit-me bowler. Kamran ran in for the third over, slipped in his delivery stride and lay sprawled on the turf. He managed to recover from that fall, but was soon floored once again by a murderous assault from Gayle. Pune kept slipping from the moment Kamran slipped.
Kamran's lengths were straight out of Chris Gayle heaven. He began with a short-of-a-length delivery. Gayle pranced out of his crease and carved through the covers. Kamran went fuller with the third ball, and Gayle launched him over long-off. Kamran promptly dropped short, and Gayle swung him almost onto the roof of the stadium. The next one was too full, and Gayle scythed through the off side. Twenty off the over, and the home crowd was dancing in joy.
Two more quiet overs followed before the carnage resumed against Kamran. The length did not seem to matter anymore, as Gayle just looked to get behind the line and lash at everything. Two length balls were mowed through the leg side, before a very full delivery outside off was knifed over the point boundary, as Bangalore soared to 57 off the Powerplay.
Rahul Sharma pulled things back by zipping a quicker one past Tillakaratne Dilshan's pull, before winning a dodgy lbw appeal against Gayle when he was on 49. Only one boundary came in the next five overs - a six off who else but Kamran - as Kohli and AB de Villiers coiled up for the closing assault. Rahul's first three overs went for 13 as bowled clever lengths and kept varying the pace. His last over, however, was the start of Bangalore's final fling.
Kohli, who had moved to 27 off 26 balls by the end of the 14th over, went berserk thereafter, looting 40 off the last 16 balls he faced. The shot that stood out in his closing blitz was the swat-flick off the front foot through wide mid-on, with the bottom hand imparting unreal power. He redirected Rahul through the leg-side twice in the 15th over before driving Ryder on either side of the wicket for elegant fours.
Jerome Taylor was too full in the 18th over, and Kohli pummelled him for another six over square leg before mis-hitting him for six more over third man. In the meantime, de Villiers thumped Ryder straight for the biggest six of the day. As if that violence wasn't enough, Saurabh Tiwary slugged Taylor into the midwicket stands as Bangalore's total soared out of control. That, despite Rahul and Alfonso Thomas bowling out of their skins to pick up 4 for 50 off their eight overs. It's fair to say it just wasn't Pune's night.