Bangalore: AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary took the required 21 runs off the last over bowled by Ashish Nehra to take Royal Challengers Bangalore to a thrilling six-wicket win against Pune Warriors India at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing 183 to win, Bangalore got off to a poor start, with Tillakaratne Dilshan (4) and Mayank Agarwal (9) getting out cheaply to Ashok Dinda and Marlon Samuels respectively. Virat Kohli too failed with the bat and when he got out for 16 with only 72 runs on the board in the 12th over, the match seemed to getting out of Bangalore’s grasp. But opener Chris Gayle had other ideas. The burly West Indian hit Rahul Sharma for five consecutive sixes in the 13th over to bring his team back into the contest. Ashish Nehra provided another twist in the tale, bowling Gayle for 81 with an inch-perfect yorker in the 16th over. At that time, the hosts still needed 56 off 26 balls to win.
de Villiers (33 off 14 balls) and Tiwary (36 off 23 balls) had a big job on their hands after Gayle’s departure and they kept Bangalore in the hunt with some lusty blows. Thanks to their big hitting, the equation came down to 28 off 12 balls. In such a crunch situation, fast bowler Dinda bowled the penultimate over and took the match almost beyond Bangalore’s reach by conceding just seven runs. Former India pacer Nehra, however, could not do what Dinda did in the 19th over. de Villiers hit 4,6,6 to bring down the equation to 3 off one ball and Tiwary lofted it over the long-on boundary for a six to bring an end to Bangalore’s run of three successive defeats.
Earlier, electing to bat first, Pune got off to a rollicking start, with Robin Uthappa and Jesse Ryder taking the Bangalore bowlers to the cleaners. Both added 63 runs in seven overs before Ryder holed out to Agarwal off the bowling of Harshal Patel. Ryder took 22 balls for his 34 and hit four fours and one six.
Captain Sourav Ganguly’s poor run with the bat continued as he limped to six off eight balls before giving Agarwal his second catch of the night. Despite Ganguly’s struggles, Uthappa kept up his onslaught at the other end and that largely accounted for the 45-run partnership between the two. Soon after Ganguly’s departure, Uthappa followed suit but he had done his job by that time. He consumed just 45 balls for his 69 and hit nine boundaries and two towering sixes.
Thereafter, Marlon Samuels and last match’s hero Steven Smith took up the scoring reins. Both added a quickfire 47 off 23 balls to ensure the Pune team posed a mammoth total. Samuels made a 20-ball 34 with the help of one four and two sixes, while Smith made 16 off 14 balls. After their departures in quick succession, Angelo Mathews (10) and Mithun Manhas (6 not out) chipped in to take Pune to 182 for 6. Vinay Kumar picked up two wickets to be the best bowler for Bangalore, while Patel and captain Daniel Vettori took one wicket apiece.
Despite the win, Bangalore remain in 8th with their second win in five matches, while Pune also remain third in the table with their second defeat in five matches.