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You are here: Cricket CLT20 Gayle, Kohli defy the odds as RCB advance to CLT20 Final

Gayle, Kohli defy the odds as RCB advance to CLT20 Final

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brc3The Men in Red stole the thunder from the Thunder from Down Under to clinch the first Champions League T20 semi-final by 6 wickets with an incredible 9 balls to spare. RCB, who chased down 200 twice in consecutive matches rode on Chris Gayle's 91 and Man of the match Virat Kohli's unbeaten 84 to down the New South Wales Blues. Earlier in the evening, David Warner scored another superlative ton turbo-charged with power to lead NSW to an excellent 203-2. The fans in Bangalore got more than their monies worth having experienced special knocks from Gayle and Warner. The Royal Challengers Bangalore now await the winner of the second semi-final which takes place in Chennai tomorrow night between the Mumbai Indians and the Somerset Sabres.

The highly-anticipated 1st semi-final of the CLT20 witnessed the IPL juggernauts, Royal Challengers Bangalore, fresh off a pulsating last ball win go head to head against the former champions the New South Wales Blues on a fine batting track at the M.Chinnaswamy stadium infront of a clamorous crowd. NSW stuck to their winning combination while RCB made one change with Mohammad Kaif coming in for the injured Syed Mohammad .The toss of the coin went Vettori's way who decided to bowl first. The Bangalore skipper reckoned that the dew factor would aid the Men in Red later in the chase.

Surprisingly, Daniel Vettori tossed the brand new ball over to Dilshan and the Lankan lion vindicated his commander's faith by removing Watson for a paltry 3 in his 2nd over. At the other end, the off-target Nannes was treated with contempt as Warner tuned into his punishing mood. Warner's towering six over cover off Nannes silenced the crowd. RCB were seduced to persist with the frugal Dilshan who gave away only 6 runs off his first 3 overs. The David Warner dynamite exploded though as the Blues made 47-1 in the powerplay.

The tactical masterstroke of opening the bowling with Dilshan reaped RCB rich dividends as he finished his quota with fantastic figures of 1-10. Chris Gayle came on next in an effort to replicate Dilshan's effort, but Warner helped himself to 14 runs from his sole over. The canny Daniel Smith proved to be the perfect foil for Warner, who punched his way to another breathtaking fifty.

The pacers proved to be easy pickings as the Warner-Smith partnership threatened to take the game away from the home team. Smith's boom-boom hitting abilities soon spelt doom as the gloveman manufactured 3 boundaries of the 12th over from Aravind. Smith brought up his fifty with a biggie off Bhatkal whilst the golden bat holder was in store for another big one! With plenty of wickets in the kitty and 137 runs on board after 15 overs the Blues were sniffing a dominating total.

An unbelievable switch hit six from Warner in the 16th over had the Aussie ego written all over it while Nannes' appalling run in the league continued. Aravind quickly knocked Smith's middle stump over for a 42-ball 62, laced with 7 fours and 3 half-dozens. Warner meanwhile pummeled the RCB bowlers to another tremendous hundred as Bhatkal spilled 12 runs off the 19th over. Scoring back to back hundreds in T20 cricket is indeed an incredible achievement. Take a bow Warner!  Aravind's last over cost 23 runs as NSW piled up 203-2 in 20 overs. The Bangaloreans were left praying at the break that their perennial match-winner Gayle would match Warner shot for shot.

Vying for a spot in the final, Dilshan got into the grove with his signature Dil-scoop four while Gayle smashed young Starc for consecutive boundaries to get Bangalore going. In an attempt to clear the ground Dilshan fell prey to Pat Cummins in the 3rd over as Henriques accepted a sitter at mid off. Gayle, who was also severe on former Aussie pacer Stuart Clark raked up the 200th six of the prestigious tournament. Gayle fired on all cylinders at a strike rate of over 250 while Kohli was all about poetry in motion. The Blues lost their cool as the Royal Challengers raced to 71-1 after 6 overs to ignite a marvelous chase.

To the crowd's delight, Chris Gayle recorded the second swiftest 50 in CLT20 history as the deadly duo consistently churned out ultra-productive overs with panache. RCB were firmly in the driver's seat owing to which the asking rate dipped to under 8.5. Kohli's stroke play at the other end was simply flawless, while the West Indian beast wreaked havoc. Steve Smith bowled an exemplary 10th over that fetched RCB a meagre 3 runs as New South Wales attempted to stay alive in the contest.

Moises Henriques found himself at the receiving end of the backlash in the next over as the pair plundered 15 runs. Soon after Gayle bulldozed one to the roof of the Chinnaswamy stadium, Kohli waltzed to an entertaining fifty from 28 balls. He was fortune though having being dropped by Cummins. The Bangalore express was unstoppable and the New South Wales bowlers were having nightmare. Cummins then came back to trap Gayle 9 short of a ton and york Tiwary for nought in the 14th over. RCB were 171-3 in 15. Was an anti-climax brewing?

RCB were left stuttering after the loss of the attacking Agarwal and one could bet that their nerves were jangling. Virat Kohli was the key to the IPL team's chase as the pressure ascended. Kohli got the crowd breathing and cheering again by milking 16 runs off the 18th over. Defending 8 from 12 was an onerous task for the Big Bash runners up as India's forgotten hero, Mohammad Kaif steered RCB to the final of the CLT20 with back to back boundaries.

Teams:

NSW: D.Warner, S.Watson, S.Smith, D.Smith, S.Katich(captain), B.Rohrer, M.Henriques, S.O'Keefe, S.Clark, P.Cummins, M.Starc.

RCB: T.Dilshan, C.Gayle, V.Kohli, S.Tiwary, M.Aggarwal, A.Karthik, R.Bhatkal, D.Vettori(captain), M.Kaif S.Aravind, D.Nannes.

Mini-Scorecard:

NSW: 203-2 (20 overs, 10.15 rpo)
D.Warner 123*(68) T.Dilshan 1-10
D.Smith 62(42) S.Aravind 1-55

RCB: 204-4 (18.3 overs, 11.02 rpo)
C.Gayle 92(41)  P.Cummins 4-45
V.Kohli 84*(41)

RCB win by 6 wickets.