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The Royal Challengers finally managed to end their 3 game losing streak by beating a tightly knit Pune Warriors team in a humdinger of a contest that saw the Bangalore side smack a six off the last ball to register the victory. After having batted first on winning the toss, the Pune Warriors rode on a fine 69 off 45 balls from Robin Uthappa and a quick fire 34 off 20 from Marlon Samuels to post a commendable 182/6 on the board in their 20 overs. The Bangalore reply was slow to start off and looked derailed at one point as they slid to 72/3 in 12 overs, but some unbelievable hitting from big Chris Gayle (81 off 48 balls) and some calm but belligerent finishing by Sourabh Tiwary (36*) and AB de Villiers (33*) saw Bangalore home by scoring 24 runs in the final over.
Bangalore left out Birthday boy Muttiah Muralitharan to improve the balance of the side by bringing in Tillakaratne Dilshan and to compensate in the bowling department they brought in Harshal Patel and KP Appanna for Mohammed Kaif and Raju Bhatkal. Pune meanwhile left out Murali Kartik once again and brought in an extra seamer in Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.
After electing to bat on a good pitch, the Pune openers Robin Uthappa and Jesse Ryder made good use of the conditions to get their team off to a flier. Ryder was particularly severe on Zaheer Khan and Harshal Patel while Uthappa took to Dilshan in his very first over and then settled down to put together a good stand. The pair were very aggressive right from the start and reaped the rewards for it by putting on a quickfire 58 runs in the first 6 overs.
Pune lost Jesse Ryder (34) straight after the powerplay, top edging a slower ball from Harshal Patel. Robin Uthappa then took charge and started to find his hitting form as he played some awesome shots. He added 31 for the second wicket with skipper Sourav Ganguly (6) before the latter too holed out at deep point off Vinay Kumar, looking to up the ante. Uthappa continued his onslaught and made an attractive 69 off 45 balls before he fell to the best bowler on the day, Daniel Vettori. After 14 overs, thanks to that Uthappa innings, Pune were well placed for the onslaught at 129/3.
With 6 overs to go Steve Smith and Marlon Samuels decided to use the long handle and struck some powerful blows. The pair added a fruitful 47 off 29 deliveries before Smith departed run out looking to steal a bye.
Samuels struck a couple of powerful sixes and made a good looking 34 off 20 before he too fell prey to some over ambitious running bye. Those two wickets set the Warriors back significantly as they ended up on 182/6 about 20 runs shy of what they might have got had they played it a little smarter. Vinay Kumar helped in the death overs as he conceded just 16 off his final two overs and picked up the important wicket of Mathews a to give his team a better chasing of winning this game.
The Royal Challengers, in pursuit of 183 started off in an uncharacteristically sedate fashion. Openers Dilshan and Gayle managed just 4 runs in the first 2 overs before Dilshan(4) departed to Dinda in the 3rd over, caught behind attempting the Dilscoop. Gayle then looked like getting things back on track as he smashed 16 runs off 3 balls from Ashish Nehra. Mayank Agarwal was promoted to No.3 but he managed only 9 before holing out to deep square leg off a long hop from Marlon Samuels. 35 runs were added for the 2nd wicket after which things seemed to have slowed down further. Gayle just wasn't going at his usual pace as he found most bowlers, particularly Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and compatriot Marlon Samuels hard to get away. Consequently Pune managed to keep things tight in the first 10 overs and were on top with Bangalore on just 63/2.
The Pune Warriors strengthened their grip on the game further a couple of overs later as Virat Kohli (16) mistimed a hoick off Angelo Mathews. Needing 120 to win off 8 overs, it was all upto Gayle to deliver and deliver he did!
The big hitting West Indian struck 5 humongous sixes in the next over off Rahul Sharma and took 31 runs off him to bring the match to life. Gayle continued his blitz with another six of Ashish Nehra a couple of overs later to get his side close. With 66 needed off 5 overs, Ashish Nehra struck gold for Pune as he clean bowled Gayle (81 off 48) with an inch perfect yorker on leg stump.
A couple of overs later it was 44 runs needed off the last 3 overs and it was all upto AB de Villiers and 1.2 mil buy Sourabh Tiwary to take the Challengers home. In what was a thrilling finish to the match De Villiers and Tiwary took 16 runs off the next over from Angelo Mathews to leave them with 28 needed from 12 balls. Ashok Dinda was given the responsibility of bowling the crucial penultimate over of the match and he responded brilliantly bowling all six balls right up in the block hole wide of the stumps. As a result, only 7 runs were conceded, setting up a last over with Bangalore needing 21.
After gaining the strike from Tiwary on the first ball of the last over from Nehra, De Villiers turned the game on its head in the next 3 balls with some incredible unorthodox hitting to yeild 4, 6, 6 . Needing 4 from 2 the climax got even more exciting as Nehra managed to keep AB down to just 1 off the penultimate ball with a fine delivery. Sourabh Tiwary though held his nerve magnificently and carted the last ball for a winning six over long on to complete an unbelievable turn around.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore with that nail biting win have gotten some much needed confidence back and will want to build on it when the play Kings XI Punjab in Mohali next on Friday the 20th of April. The Pune Warriors will be keen to bounce back quickly from this despiriting defeat as they face defending champions CSK in Chennai on the 19th.
Pune: R Uthappa, J Ryder, S Ganguly, M Samuels, S Smith, M Manhas, A Mathews, R Sharma, B Kumar, A Nehra, A Dinda
Bangalore: T Dilshan, C Gayle, V Kohli, AB de Villiers, S Tiwary, M Aggarwal, H Patel, KP Appanna, D Vettori, Z Khan, V Kumar
Pune Warriors 182/6 (20 overs, 9.1 runs per over)
R Uthappa 69(45) V Kumar 2/34
M Samuels 34(20) H Patel 1/29
Royal Challengers Bangalore 186/4 (20 overs, 9.3 runs per over)
C Gayle 81(48) M Samuels 1/5
S Tiwary 36*(23) A Dinda 1/28
- 19/04/2012 19:42 - IPL Match 24: Chennai squeeze narrow win as Pune falter at the death
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- 18/04/2012 19:55 - IPL Match 22: Kolkata cruise to easy win in Mohali