Pune: Looking for their first away win of the season, and having lost their last two matches, Royal Challengers Bangalore found the impetus from AB de Villiers and Moises Henriques who delivered a total that was out of reach for Pune Warriors. A spectacular partnership of 68 in 29 balls transformed the tone of Bangalore's innings, as de Villiers (50 off 23 balls) and Henriques (27 off 13) tore apart the bowling at the death. The last six balls yielded 26 runs with de Villiers tearing into Ashok Dinda, which made the margin of victory (17 runs) a lot bigger than it seemed.
This late surge was much require after a steady three quarters of the innings. Where he larruped a record 17 sixes the last time he faced up to Pune's bowlers, today Chris Gayle managed just one. Off the very next ball, he miscued part-time offspinner T Suman out toward deep midwicket where Bhuvneshwar Kumar held a very good catch. Almost immediately, he was swarmed by jubilant team-mates.
A promotion to open the innings with Gayle resulted in Saurabh Tiwary's first half-century in RCB colors but it was not a fluent effort and a strike-rate of 115.55 meant the side were always going to rely on an explosion at the death. After a sluggish start, Tiwary hit Ajantha Mendis for six and four but for the next 18 deliveries he failed to find the boundary.
Dinda checked RCB's progress with the wickets of Virat Kohli, bowled for 25, and Tiwary, swinging to square leg for 52, but the partnership that followed left Pune smarting. Henriques took boundaries off Rahul Sharma to get going and then struck Dinda over the offside for six and four, while de Villiers exploded in the last over by hitting 6, 4, 6, 4, 4 and scampering the two needed to give him fifty off 23 balls. Shuffling around his crease, de Villiers swept over square leg, went over Dinda's head and long-off, and then reverse-swept and paddled sublime boundaries.
With Aaron Finch (15) departing early to Henriques and Suman eating up 14 balls for his 11, Pune were further under the pump in pursuit of 188. Yuvraj Singh threatened briefly with two effortless sixes, but with 111 to defend from ten overs Kohli tossed the ball back to Vinay Kumar and two wickets appeared in one over. Yuvraj picked out de Villiers at long-on for 16 and Steven Smith got 5 before slicing a thin edge to Arun Karthik.
Pune were not about to quietly. The second strategy break unleashed the fury, with three sixes coming off Muttiah Muralitharan - each swung with power over the arc between mid-on and deep square leg. Angelo Mathews, having earlier relinquished the captaincy, swung his way to 32 off 19 balls before Gayle intercepted a slap at point, but it was Murali Kartik's double-wicket over that really snuffed out the chase. Abhishek Nayar swung out de Villiers in the deep and looking to play across the line Uthappa popped a leading edge to point. Pune never recovered.