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You are here: Cricket CLT20 Warriors beat RCB on final ball of thrilling CLT20 Opener

Warriors beat RCB on final ball of thrilling CLT20 Opener

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The first game of the Champions League T20 2011 concluded in dramatic fashion as the team from the rainbow nation, the Chevrolet Warriors edged out the home side, Royal Challengers Bangalore by 3 wickets in a last ball thriller at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Friday night. Been sent into bat, RCB went through a roller coaster ride before putting up a competitive 172/8 on the board in their 20 overs with valuable contributions from Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary . The Warriors suffered a mini collapse after a good start, but managed to recover in time to chase the target down thanks to a valiant 74 off 55 balls from opener Ashwell Prince and a brilliant 42 from 24 balls from captain Johan Botha.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore walked out on to the field on Friday night amidst a jam packed Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru for the curtain raiser of the tournament against a strong Warriors side from South Africa. The Warriors captain Johan Botha won the toss on a sticky wicket and decided to put the hosts in to bat. Both sides went in with nearly full strength squads while ex-Indian national team regular Mohammed Kaif getting a rare opportunity to showcase his skills because of an injury to young Cheteshwar Pujara. Warriors looked extremely strong on the bowling front with Proteas players - Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell, Johan Botha and Juan Theron all in the side.

Lonwabo Tsotsobe struck early for the Warriors utilising the conditions perfectly to remove rookie Mayank Aggarwal for no score. The big man Chris Gayle looked ominous at the start pelting 23 runs in a flash, including 2 towering sixes before the Warriors' captain Johan Botha took a smart catch at mid-on to send him back. South Africa's new limited overs captain AB de Villiers then joined Virat Kohli to steady the ship for the Royal Challengers before striking some fluent boundaries towards the end of the powerplay. At the end of the powerplay RCB recovered well from from the early set backs to regain supremacy, making 57 for 2.

Both Virat Kohli and De Villiers looked at complete ease right from the outset as they kept the scoreboard moving at a brisk rate, scoring at over 8 runs an over. Kohli got to 34 without breaking a sweat, before pulling a half tracker straight down deep square leg's throat off the bowling of 'Rusty' Theron in the 11th over.

Saurabh Tiwary, coming in at no.5, took little time to settle down as he started playing the big shots right away, keeping the scoring rate healthy. De Villiers on the other hand, lost his rhythm and despite striking some lusty blows, holed out to deep square leg at the worst possible time, having made 31. The Warriors] attempt to squeeze the Royal Challengers was quickly put to rest by a rampant Tiwary who continued to pull off a big shot every over. At the end of 15 overs, the Royal Challengers scurried away to 126/4 with Tiwary looking ominous.

The best bowler on show for the Warriors Nicky Boje, struck an important blow in the 16th over enticing Tiwary into a false stroke, after the 21-year old from Jharkhand had made a quickfire 28 off just 15 balls. Out of favour ex-India international Mohammed Kaif then built a valuable stand of 27 runs in under 3 overs with his captain Daniel Vettori to take the Royal Challengers well within sight of 180. With just two overs to go there was to be another twist in this see-saw battle, as the Challengers lost 3 wickets off one over from Theron and as a result stumbled to 172 for 8 in their 20 overs. This looked just about par for the course with the dew just settling in and the wicket begining to quicken up after the early stickiness.

Chasing 173 for victory in conditions getting better for batsmen, the Warriors played out a quiet first over before launching into the bowling. Ashwell Prince in particular took a liking to Chris Gayle, who opened the bowling, in anticipation of some dew, hitting him for 2 sixes in his second over. Smuts, the other opener looked rather scratchy at the crease before skying one to Virat Kohli, who completed a well judged catch running backwards. Colin Ingram, coming in at 3, got into the groove early and made good use of the last powerplay over propelling the Warriors to a solid 48/1 after 6 overs with Prince set for the long haul.

With the Warriors moving along smoothly, the Royal Challengers captain Daniel Vettori brought himself on in the 8th over, and the move paid rich dividends immediately as Vettori foxed Colin Ingram in the flight and had him caught on the deep square boundary. That over cost RCB just 1 run and set the tone for things to come. With some assistance on offer for the slower bowlers, Vettori switched to spin at both ends and the other left arm tweaker, Syed Mohammed was brought into the attack. Mohammed too tasted success instantly, as he trapped the experienced Mark Boucher plumb in front in his very first over. The spinners started to grab a strangle hold on the game for the Royal Challengers by taking pace off the ball and make it difficult for run scoring. With wickets falling all around him, the lone wolf in this batting effort for the Warriors, Ashwell Prince continued to fight and just about keep them in the reckoning even with the asking rate climbing over 11 runs an over.

Despite Prince making a quick 50 off just 39 balls it still needed a herculean effort from the Warriors to get close to the target. Captain of the Chevrolet Warriors, Johan Botha rendered some much needed support to Ashwell Prince as the pair kept finding the boundaries with astonishing regularity and kept the chase under manageable proportions. Both the batsmen, played some astounding shots both in the air and on the ground to keep the asking rate in check. With four overs to go, it was still anybody's game with the Warriors needing 43 and two set batsmen at the crease.

Botha and Prince continued to churn 10 run overs and got the ask down to 22 required off the last 2 overs before Prince finally fell in an attempt to slog one over mid wicket off Abhimanyu Mithun. Mithun struck again in the penultimate over, removing Thyssen but conceded 15 runs off the over, including a first ball six from Nicky Boje. That meant the Warriors needed only 7 from the last over with Nicky Boje and Johan Botha at the crease.

Aravind managed to pull off a couple of dot balls at the start of the over against Botha, and the skipper who had batted so brilliantly to take his side to the cusp of a win fell on the third ball of an exciting over for 42 from just 24 balls. It looked like the typical South African choke was in progress as the Warriors now needed 7 from 3 balls.

The next ball saw Boje take a single, bringing the new batsman Wayne Parnell on strike with an unlikely 6 required from 2 balls. However, a short slower ball from Aravind was introduced by Parnell to the square leg boundary leaving 2 runs required from the last the ball. Parnell came up with a perfectly mistimed agricultural hit down the ground, that went just at the right pace to the fielder at long on, to allow the batsmen to scamper through for the winning runs.

After this nerve-wracking victory, the Warriors go top of Group B and will be buoyed at beating the home side in the opening match of the tournament. The Royal Challengers on the other hand, will rue their missed opportunities during the middle phase of the Warriors' innings that could have closed out a game that was there for the taking for the men in red. RCB will have to pull their socks up for their next game against KKR next week, while the Warriors face the South Australian Redbacks this Sunday.

Teams:

Warriors: A Prince, C Ingram, N Boje, J Smuts, J Kreusch, M Boucher, C Thyssen, J Botha, W Parnell, L Tsosobe, R Theron.

RCB: C Gayle, M Agarwal, A de Villiers, V Kohli, S Tiwary, M Kaif, D Vettori, S Arvind, A Mithun, S Mohammad, Dirk Nannes.

Mini Scorecard:

RCB 172/8 (20 overs, 8.6rpo)
V Kohli 34 (29) R Theron 4-29
AB de Villiers 31 (25) N Boje 1-25

Chevrolet Warriors 173/7 (20 overs, 8.65rpo)
A Prince 74 (55) D Vettori 2-26
J Botha 42 (24) A Mithun 2-25

Warriors win by 3 wickets