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Anil Kumble won the toss for the Royal Challengers of Bangalore and he decided to bat first. A sore back kept veteran South African all-rounder, Jacques Kallis out of the playing XI and his place was taken by his fellow countryman, Dillon du Preez. R Vinay Kumar and Manish Pandey also found themselves in the team at the expense of Balachandra Akhil and Nayan Doshi. South Australia Redbacks stuck to the same side that had won them their opening two matches of the tournament.
Shaun Tait gave the Redbacks a great start, getting Pandey (4), who top-edged a quick bouncer, in the first over itself. And three balls later Gary Putland got the big wicket, that of Robin Uthappa even before he could open his account. The two early blows pushed Bangalore on the backfoot. Ross Taylor, in at number 4, decided to take the attack to the opposition. He struck a couple of well timed boundaries to start proceedings. He followed those up with two more boundaries off the left-armer, Aaron O'Brien a couple of overs later. Putland changed ends after an expensive first over, but that didn't help as Taylor first deposited him beyond the square leg boundary and then cut him to the boundary in the space of three deliveries. Taylor continued his assault, picking up boundaries off the last two deliveries of the sixth over to take Bangalore to 53 for 2 at the end of the powerplay.
Rahul Dravid had been a silent spectator thus far and O'Brien didn't allow him to contribute much with the bat. Dravid (4) was attempting to play a paddle sweep but he couldn't connect and the ball lobbed up nicely for the keeper to take the catch. Replays showed that he probably didn't glove the ball but the umpire felt otherwise. Taylor meanwhile was trying his best to maintain the run-rate. Tait was brought back to try and get a wicket to put further pressure on Bangalore. He did the job, getting the all-important wicket of Taylor for 46. The Kiwi star chased a wide delivery and ended up edging it to the keeper. And to make things worse for Bangalore, Cullen Bailey got Virat Kohli (3) caught off a top-edge at third man. Bangalore had lost half their side in 11 overs with just 76 runs on the board and they needed a partnership to steady the ship.
Cameron White was out there in the middle and the responsibility was on his shoulder to take his team to a decent total. However, it was Du Preez who decided to take the initiative. He slog-swept Bailey over the mid-wicket fence and did that two more times in the leggie's next over. Daniel Harris was introduced into the attack to try and pull things back but he too was hit out of the park as the innings run-rate climbed above eight runs an over. Daniel Christian finally got Du Preez to mis-hit one and the ball came down safely in the hands of long-on. He departed for a valuable 46 off just 25 deliveries. Praveen Kumar came in and smashed Putland out of the park. But the bowler came back strongly to castle Praveen (6) with his next delivery. White and Vinay Kumar took Bangalore past 150 in the penultimate over before Christian bowled them out in the final over. He got Vinay Kumar (6) caught at deep mid-wicket before taking out Dale Steyn's (0) off-stump. White (25) gave long-off a simple catch on the second last ball of the innings to become Christian's fourth victim of the evening.
Despite losing wickets regularly, Bangalore reached 154 at the end of their innings. Taylor and du Preez were the chief contributors, getting 46 runs each and they got their runs at an excellent rate. Christian was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 4 for 23 in 3.5 overs. It wasn't the steepest of targets and the Redbacks had a very realistic chance of chasing it down.
Harris and Michael Klinger got the Redbacks off to a steady start. The duo ran well between the wickets and Klinger managed to stroke a couple of boundaries early on. Three boundaries off Steyn's second over, the fourth of the innings, gave the Redbacks some momentum and the batsmen managed to maintain that. Harris picked up three boundaries off Du Preez's first over to bring up the fifty of the partnership. The Redbacks were 50 for no loss at the end of the first six overs. The openers had settled down nicely and it was important for Bangalore to break the partnership as soon as possible to get themselves back into the game.
Anil Kumble nearly had his opposite number, Klinger, but Pandey couldn't hold on to a difficult chance at point. Harris, meanwhile, kept on attacking even after the field restrictions had been relaxed. He smashed Vinay Kumar out of the ground in his first over. He repeated the feat in Kumar's next over, and threw in an additional boundary for good measure. The batting pair didn't hesitate to take on Kumble either as the captain leaked 12 runs in his third over. Praveen Kumar was brought back into the attack to try and break the partnership. He could have had Klinger when the batsman swung him towards the mid-wicket boundary. But the fielder made a mess of the chance and ended up palming the ball over the boundary. That six took Klinger to his half-century and it brought up the century of the partnership. At 104 for no los after 12 overs, the Aussie outfit looked to be cruising towards victory.
Harris brought up his half-century soon after, taking just 34 deliveries to reach there. The duo kept on playing their shots and the boundaries flowed steadily. The required run rate came below six runs an over at the end of the 14th over. The opening stand was finally broken when a slight hesitation led to Harris getting run-out. He departed for a well made 57 that had taken his team to the brink of victory. Graham Manou (0) couldn't do much with the bat and he was cleaned up by a googly from Kumble. South Australia needed 30 runs to win in the last five overs. Klinger and Callum Ferguson didn't allow Bangalore any opportunities and they took the team to the target. Klinger ended unbeaten on 69 and the runs had been chased down rather comfortably in 18.3 overs.
Klinger's innings earned him the man-of the-match award. He played a captain's knock and saw his team through. Harris provided excellent support with his second successive half-century and by the time Bangalore broke the opening partnership, there was little doubt regarding the outcome of the match. The Redbacks have looked extremely impressive thus far and they would love to maintain their unbeaten record in the next encounter against Guyana on Tuesday, the 21st of September. Bangalore meanwhile have a big game against the Mumbai Indians on Sunday, the 19th of September and a defeat in that match will end Mumbai's chances of making it to the semis.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Manish Pandey, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa (wk), Ross Taylor, Cameron White, Virat Kohli, Dillon du Preez, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Dale Steyn, Anil Kumble (capt.)
South Australia Redbacks: Daniel Harris, Michael Klinger (capt.), Graham Manou (wk), Callum Ferguson, Cameron Borgas, Tom Cooper, Daniel Christian, Aaron O'Brien, Cullen Bailey, Gary Putland, Shaun Tait
Royal Challengers of Bangalore 154 all out (19.5 overs, 7.76.rpo)
D du Preez 46 (25) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â D Christian 4-23
R Taylor 46 (28) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â S Tait 2-23
South Australia Redbacks 155 for 2 (18.3 overs, 8.37 rpo)
M Klinger 69* (57) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A Kumble 1-25
D Harris 57 (38)
File Photograph Copyright:Â Michael Henn
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