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Arun Karthik hits last ball for 6 to propel RCB into CLT20 Semi-finals

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partnershipA Knock out game between the Royal Challengers and South Australia in Bengaluru saw the home side chase down an incredible 215 set for victory on the back of a last ball six from wicketkeeper batsman Arun Karthik amidst an electrifying atmosphere at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Despite having a centurion in the form of Daniel Harris (108) and a 5 wicket haul from speed merchant Shaun Tait (5/32), the South Australian Redbacks were knocked out of the CL T20 in a game that saw a massive 429 runs being scored in 40 action packed overs that included 42 fours and 20 sixes! The Redbacks after choosing to bat earlier in the night, put up a mammoth 214/2 in their innings with the help of a fine 114 run stand between Daniel Harris an Callum Ferguson. Even that score was not enough on the night as Bangalore, looked well in control of the chase till the 18th over after which imploded dramatically before finally scraping through by virtue of a last ball six. Virat Kohli's 70 off 36 and Tillakaratne Dilshan's 74 off 47 were invaluable contributions in this epic chase.

With the last semi final slot up for grabs for the team that won this fixture, the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the South Australian Redbacks took to the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday night.  The Redbacks skipper, Micheal Klinger, won the toss on a slowish wicket and chose to bat first. The Redbacks decided to bring back their express pacer Shaun Tait for this all important game at the expense of fellow seamer Gary Putland while the Royal Challengers chose to go in with the same combination that won them the last match against Somerset.

After getting a few sighters from Dirk Nannes in the first over, Daniel Harris got stuck into the Royal Challengers' opening bowlers during the powerplay as he smashed both Nannes and Sreenath Aravind for a whopping 43 runs off the first 4 overs himself helping the team total rocket to 49 during that period. It looked like he had been given the license to thrill early on by the team management as he managed to clear the in-field with mind boggling consistency while his captain and fellow opening partner Micheal Klinger was happy to watch from the other end.


Inspired by the slowness of the wicket, Vettori decided to bring his spinners into play as early as the 5th over and it paid off immediately as Syed Mohammed, who was on for the last of the powerplay overs, got the team a much needed wicket by dismissing an advancing Klinger off his very first delivery, stumped for 7 by Arun Karthik. After six overs, SAR were at a healthy 57/1 with Callum Ferguson joining the rampant Harris at the wicket.

Harris and Ferguson found the going rather tough for the next few overs with the ball gripping and holding up off the surface. The pair cleverly consolidated the team's position by knocking the ball around for ones and twos off the slower bowlers, looking to set up a solid platform for a launch later in the innings. Having brought up the hundred as early as the 13th over and the dew slowly settling in, the duo began to capitalise on the favourable conditions as they stepped up the scoring steadily, picking up the odd boundary and rotating the strike regularly. With the score on a menacing 128/1 after 15 overs, Harris once again opened up his shoulders in the 16th smacking Aravind for 17 runs in his comeback over, including 2 fours and a huge six.

That over was a sign of things to come as Callum Ferguson, who had moved on to a well paced half century by then, continued his onslaught by striking some lusty blows towards the end of the innings before being dismissed caught behind for a well made 70 off 43 deliveries off Raju Bhatkal.  That wicket was only brief respite for the home team as Dan Christian now joined the well set Harris as the duo instantly got going and piled on the misery. Daniel Harris got to a well deserved century in the 19th over off just 58 balls in style, smashing a flicked six off Dirk Nannes. Dan Christian finished off the innings on a high for the Redbacks as he clobbered Aravind for an embarrassing 24 runs in the last over, thereby shattering his figures, pelting a total 69 runs off hjs 4 overs. The Redbacks finished on an imposing 214/2 in their 20 overs setting the Challengers a whopping 215 to get in order to make it to the semis.

Having been set a daunting target of 215, the RCB openers Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan had no choice but to go for their shots right from the outset. After getting off to a rather sluggish start under the circumstances, Dilshan and Gayle slowly began to up the tempo in the 3rd over, with Gayle hitting a scorching flat six over long on off Richardson. That hit opened the flood gates for RCB as their dynamic duo matched each other shot for shot for the next 3 overs, much to the delight of the home fans. Thanks to that onslaught, RCB were still in the hunt after the powerplay at 65 without loss with Gayle and Dilshan looking ominous.

Dan Christian pulled things back for the Redbacks straight after the powerplay as he dismissed a dangerous looking Gayle for 26, caught dramatically in the deep by Micheal Klinger who consequently injured himself due to a collision with Tom Cooper. Kohli coming in at 3, got stuck at the crease for a while before he finally got the hang of the conditions and made use of the wet outfield and ball to good effect as he began to time the ball sweetly.

Dilshan and Kohli kept the runs coming at a rapid pace with some clever use of the bowlers' pace and some clean striking as RCB went ahead of the rate after 14 overs scampering through to 161/1. With the required rate now reduced to just over nine, the acting captain Callum Ferguson turned to his ace bowler Shaun Tait for some inspiration. Tait caused some panic in the RCB camp straight away, dismissing Kohli in his come back over for a well made 70 off 36 balls caught at long on and more importantly, gave away just 4 runs in the over to keep South Australia in the game. Needing 50 off the last 5, RCB managed only 5 singles off Lyon's over, the 16th off the innings, opening the game up in the last 4 overs with RCB now needing 46 off 24.

Tait didn't produce the same kind of magic in his 3rd over though as he was tonked for two sixes, one each from Dilshan and Sourabh Tiwary before he dismissed the latter off the last ball of his over with a short ball. With 32 now needed of 18, young Mayank Agarwal hit a six off the first ball he faced before he sliced one into the hands of short point next ball. Bangalore were in no mood to relent as their captain Dan Vettori kept the six hitting going, smashing one over mid wicket to get the equation down to just 18 required off 12. Tait then came back for his final over and just as RCB looked like they were running away with the game, the Aussie quick took 3 crucial wickets in the over to peg the Challengers back. Dilshan, Bhatkal and Vettori were all dismissed in the penultimate over leaving the home side 14 to get off the last over.

The last over then produced an extraordinary finish to this classic knock out match. Dan Christian seemed to have things under control conceding just 1 boundary and 8 runs of the first 5 balls of the over by virtue of his shortish slower balls to the RCB lower order. Arun Karthik, an accomplished domestic batsman for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy, was to be the hero for Bangalore as he kept his calm and dispatched yet another predictable slower one from Dan Christian over deep midwicket for a match winning six. This dramatic conclusion saw the Royal Challengers through to the Semi-Finals of the CL T20 after achieving the highest target ever in the competition's history.

That last ball six from Arun Karthik helped the Royal Challengers edge past the impressive South Australian Redbacks and go through into the semi finals where they will face the inaugural champions New South Wales Blues for a berth in the final. Meanwhile the other Indian side in the semis, the Mumbai Indians will clash with the Somerset Sabres.


RCB: C Gayle, T Dilshan, V Kohli, S Tiwary, M Agarwal, D Vettori, R Bhatkal, A Karthik, D Nannes, S Aravind, S Mohammed

SAR: C Borgas, M Klinger, T Cooper, C Fergusson, D Harris, D Christian, T Ludeman, S Tait, K Richardson, N Lyon, A O' Brien.

Mini Scorecard

South Australian Redbacks 214/2 (20 overs, 10.7rpo)
D Harris 108* (61) S Mohammed 1/29
C Ferguson 70 (43) R Bhatkal 1/31

Royal Challengers Bangalore 215/8 (20 0vers, 10.75rpo)
T Dilshan 74 (47) S Tait 5/32
V Kohli 70 (36) D Christian 1/44

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