AB, Kumar propel Bangalore to 17-run win
The Royal Challengers Bangalore survived a valiant onslaught by the Pune Warriors to win their Pepsi Indian Premier League contest at the Sabrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune by 17 runs on Monday, courtesy of a sensational half-century by AB de Villiers and a classy bowling performance by Vinay Kumar.
Full Scorecard: Pune v Bangalore
Bangalore won the toss, elected to bat and scored 187 for three thanks to a magnificent 68-run partnership of only 29 deliveries by AB de Villiers and Moises Henriques for the fourth wicket.
De Villiers was the magician in the final over, sweeping, driving and pulling to score 26 runs as he pummelled Ashok Dinda. The South African needed only 23 balls to complete his half-century, with six fours and two sixes.
Robin Uthappa produced an innings of real class and threatened to chase down the runs almost single-handedly. He smashed 75 off 45 balls. It included five fours and five sixes.
The lower order imploded after he departed and offered little resistance. Pune were restricted to 170 for nine.
Kumar finished with 3-31, while the left-arm spinner Murali Kartik captured 2-29.
Uthappa and Angelo Matthews shared in a 64-run partnership off 33 balls for the fifth wicket to get the hosts within striking distance of the Bangalore total.
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They hit three sixes in tandem in the 16th over as they put the ageing Muttiah Muralitharan to the sword, collecting 21 runs.
Chris Gayle took a superb diving catch at backward point in the 17th over to remove Matthews. Kumar was the bowler, who conceded only nine runs in that over and captured a wicket, a turning point in the context of the match.
A double-strike by the experienced Karthik in the 18th over of the Pune innings in which he removed the dangerous Uthappa and Abishek Nayar, saw Pune slump to 160 for seven.
The real difference between the two teams was the world-class improvisation by De Villiers, and the indifferent death bowling by Pune.
The Warriors were well placed on 77 for two at the halfway-stage, but a double-strike in the 11th over by Kumar swung the pendulum back in Bangalore’s favour.
Pune hastened their demise with some mediocre shot selection.
Yuvraj Singh’s dismal run of form continued, as he tried to clear the boundary with a pull shot, only to be caught by De Villiers for 16 as Pune slipped to 77 for three.
Steve Smith perished in the same over with a poor shot outside the off-stump, and the hosts were in dire straits on 81 for four.
Bangalore scored 187 for three, courtesy of a solid half-century by Saurabh Tiwary (52, 45 balls, 2x4, 2x6) and a gem of an innings by De Villiers.
The Pune attack was competitive early on and restricted Bangalore to 30 runs in the first six overs. The visitors got bogged down by the impressive Ajantha Mendis and Tirumalasetti Suman.
But the hosts faded at the business end of the innings as their lack of quality depth bowling let them down badly and De Villiers and Henriques blossomed.
Henriques finished with an undefeated 27 off only 13 deliveries.
Mendis was the best Pune bowler on view, finishing with 0-25 in four overs. Dinda captured two wickets, but his four overs cost 52 runs.
PUNE WARRIORS: RV Uthappa (wk), AJ Finch (capt), Yuvraj Singh, AD Mathews, SPD Smith, TL Suman, AM Nayar, B Kumar, R Sharma, BAW Mendis, AB Dinda
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: SS Tiwary, CH Gayle, KL Rahul, V Kohli (capt), AB de Villiers, MC Henriques, KB Arun Karthik (wk), R Vinay Kumar, M Kartik, M Muralitharan, RP Singh