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The Royal Challengers Bangalore catapulted themselves up to third in the Indian Premier League points table with a convincing 35 run victory over a poor Pune Warriors side on Friday night. The Warriors, who were already out of the reckoning for the play-offs this season lost their seventh game on the trot and should this run continue they may well find themselves in a final day battle to avoid picking up the wooden spoon. The match itself was a completely one-sided contest with half-centuries from Chris Gayle (57) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (53) helping RCB post a challenging total of 173. That proved to be 35 too many for the Pune Warriors who struggled to 138/9 at the end of their 20 overs. Two wickets in the first over from Zaheer Khan instantly derailed their chase, and with wickets continuing to fall at regular intervals the Warriors were never really in the contest.
There had been calls for former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly to hang up his pads at the end of the season after a poor campaign with the bat, and the Pune owners expressed in midweek that they were keen to give some of the squad's fringe players an opportunity to impress. That manifested in Steve Smith being appointed interim captain with Ganguly 'rested' for this game. Mohnish Mishra replaced Sourav at the top of the order, while Rahul Sharma and Alfonso Thomas returned to bolster the bowling unit.
There was only one change for the Royal Challengers Bangalore with KP Appanna replacing the injured Syed Mohammad.
An hour's rain delay after the toss did not cost the game any overs as Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan took to the field to lay seige on the Pune bowlers. Krishnakant Upadhyay, playing his first game of the tournament, was able to sneak in a quiet first over before Chris Gayle deposited him into the stands twice in his second. The match came to life towards the end of the powerplay as Gayle scored 32 runs from the last 7 balls he faced, including 4 sixes in an over off the unfortunate Bhuvnesh Kumar. The last of those sixes brought up Gayle's half-century, the West Indian powerhouse reaching the landmark in 24 balls.
There was a brief drought after the powerplay, and culminated in the wicket of Gayle for 57 caught on the boundary off Angelo Mathews. At the end of 10 overs, Bangalore were well on top at 88/1.
Stand-in Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli had another poor game, falling for 9 to Rahul Sharma in the 12th over. The returning Indian leg-spinner had had a good game till that stage, taking 1-15 in his first 3 overs before Dilshan got stuck into his final over which went for 16 to ruin the youngster's figures.
Three consecutive boundaries by the former Lankan skipper off the next over pushed RCB's score up to 129/2 at the end of 15 overs. Pune were able to squeeze in a couple of quiet overs with Bangalore unable to get their onslaught going despite having wickets in hand. Dilshan was run out for 53 in the 18th over, but Sourabh Tiwary, who had struggled for timing out in the middle, finally got some balls hitting the middle of the bat to finish with an unbeaten 36. AB de Villiers, came out too late to make a real impacy, but did hit the last ball of the innings for 6 to propel RCB to a competitive 173/3 in 20 overs.
Pune Warriors had a nightmare start to their innings with Zaheer Khan removing Mohnish Mishra (4) and Manish Pandey (0) in the very first over. Michael Clarke threatened to make a telling contribution, racing away to 13 before falling to Vinay Kumar, caught in the deep in the fourth over.
A 50-run partnership between Robin Uthappa and Anustup Majumdar gave Pune cause for optimism, but Uthappa fell for 38 stumped off Muralitharan to put the Warriors back in a bind. Angelo Mathews' indifferent IPL also continued as he followed Uthappa back to the pavillion with just 4 to his name as the Pune Warriors slumped to 84/5.
The Warriors reached the 100 run milestone in the 14th over, and at the end of it needed exactly 2 runs a ball to win the game from there on. What slim hopes they might have had evaporated in the next couple of overs with Majumdar falling for 31 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar soon after for 2. 65 to win from 4 overs was probably 25 runs too many, and with only 3 wickets in hand the contest was over bar the shouting.
Pune did well to bat out their overs, eventually ending at 138/9 with skipper for the night Steve Smith unbeaten on 24. In the end it was a comfortable 35 run win for the Royal Challengers with 2 more crucial points in the bag for the Bangalore outfit.
The Pune Warriors' search for a win takes them on the road to Jaipur where they'll take on the Rajasthan Royals in the 4pm game on Sunday. RCB meanwhile head home where they entertain the Mumbai Indians in a crucial contest on Monday.
Pune Warriors:Â·M Clarke, M Mishra, R Uthappa (wk), S Smith (c), M Pandey, A Majumdar, A Mathews, A Thomas, K Upadhyay, B Kumar, R Sharma.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: T Dilshan, C Gayle, V Kohli (c), S Tiwary, AB de Villiers (wk), M Agarwal, KP Appanna, Z Khan, H Patel, Vinay Kumar, M Muralitharan
Royal Challengers Bangalore 173/3 (20 overs, 8.65rpo)
C Gayle 57 (31) A Mathews 1-14
T Dilshan 53 (44) R Sharma 1-31
Pune Warriors 138/9 (20 overs, 6.9rpo)
R Uthappa 38 (23) M Muralitharan 2-16
A Majumdar 31 (26) Vinay Kumar 3-32
RCB win by 35 runs
- 13/05/2012 14:51 - IPL Match 60: Rajasthan destroy Pune by 45 runs to stay in contention
- 12/05/2012 19:01 - IPL Match 59: Chennai rout Delhi by 9 wickets
- 12/05/2012 16:07 - IPL Match 58: Sharma century leads Mumbai to 27 run win against KKR