T Suman's first name, Tirumalasetti, is a bit of a tongue-twister - but Jacques Kallis and his Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mates will remember it for a long time. Kallis and the Challengers have not been upstaged often this season, but the little-known youngster from the Deccan Chargers and a bludgeoning Andrew Symonds combined to condemn the home side to a seven-wicket loss at their citadel in Bangalore last night.
Suman made an invaluable, unbeaten 78, while Symonds pitched in with an explosive 24-ball 53 to overhaul Bangalore's imposing 184 for six with four balls to spare. The two added 91 runs together from just 46 balls to take the visitors across the finish line and end their disappointing run of five consecutive losses. The win keeps the defending champions in the run for a place in the semi-finals and Symonds was glowing in his praise of Suman for making that possible.
"I am proud of the guy," said Symonds in a post-match television interview. "He played a fantastic innings, did not panic and just hung in there till the end. He played some beautiful cricket shots and hit the ball cleanly. "I kept telling him to stay calm and keep doing what he is doing. He was playing such good cricket shots and I did not want him to get into the mode where he thought he had to slog."
At the start, Suman looked a bit nervous and was repeatedly beaten for pace by Dale Steyn. But he grew in confidence, the strokes started flowing and Bangalore had no answers. "It is really fantastic to win," said Adam Gilchrist, the Chargers' captain. "It keeps us alive. We still have some big, must-win games remaining, but it is nice to win this one." The Chargers started the game like winners. Ryan Harris imposed himself with a fiery two-over spell during which he knocked back Manish Pandey's stumps. Bangalore could score just five runs off his 12 deliveries.
Pragyan Ojha then took over with his left-arm orthodox, outsmarting a charging Rahul Dravid to get a top edge and then outfoxing Ross Taylor with a straighter one in the next over. He finished with two for 24 from his four overs, moving to the top of the wicket-takers' list with 15 victims. In between those two Ojha dismissals, Symonds' innocuous slow medium-pace tempted Robin Uthappa to go for a wild hoick, which finished in the hands of wicketkeeper Gilchrist after an edge.
Those three dismissals in consecutive overs reduced Bangalore to 68-4, but Kallis continued unperturbed as wickets fell around him. The man wearing the orange cap, for being the leading run-scorer of the tournament, blunted the Deccan attack before bludgeoning them alongside Virat Kohli. After had reached 115 for four from 16 overs, the duo opened the floodgates and got them 69 from the last four. After getting just 12 runs from his first 18 balls, Kohli smashed 46 from the next 17. The efforts of Kohli and Kallis, however, were in vain as the Suman-Symonds symphony worked better.
* Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi