Home team Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB) late Friday survived a scare to beat New South Wales Blues (NSW) by six wickets at the Chinnaswamy stadium here to enter the final of the ICC Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20). Chasing a stiff target of 204, a surcharged RCB raced to the winning post in 18.2 overs despite losing three quick wickets in a span of 10 runs in the slog overs.
Mohammad Kaif hit the winning runs with two consecutive fours of Daniel Smith to reach the target. He remained unbeaten at 13, off eight balls. Man of the Match Virat Kohli hit a brilliant unbeaten 84 in 49 balls with three sixes and 10 fours after surviving two sitters. Once again, dashing opener Chris Gayle set the tone by hitting 92 of 41 balls with eight mighty sixes and eight fours.
Power of left:
Bangalore's Chris Gayle en route to his explosive
knock of 92 yesterday. Pic/AFP
After other opener Tillakaratne got out cheaply for four runs in the third over, Kohli joined Gayle to make the imposing target achievable with a brilliant 141-run second wicket partnership in 66 balls. Though RCB lost Saurab Tiwary and later Mayank Agarwal after Gayle departed in the 14th over, Kohli and Kaif took control of the match and cruised to a thrilling victory with a 32-run partnership for the fifth wicket in 20 balls.
For Blues, Patrick Cummins was the only successful bowler taking all the four wickets in four overs for 45 runs. Other six bowlers, who were deployed by Blues' skipper Simon Katich failed to dislodge Gayle and Kohli who raced to 100 in 8.4 overs and to 150 in 13 overs. Earlier, put to bat first, Blues made 203 for two wickets after its dashing opener David Warner hammered the RCB bowlers to register his second century in the tournament and remained unbeaten at 123 in 68 balls with 11 massive sixes and six fours.
Though Blues started on a dismal note losing Shane Watson cheaply for three in the third over, Daniel Smith joined Warner to hit a breezy 62 in 42 balls with three sixes and seven fours. Warner and Smith were also involved in registering a record 146-run second wicket partnership in the tournament in 87 balls, tearing apart an average bowling attack even as skipper Daniel Vettori tried as many as six bowlers.
Except Dilshan, who opened the attack and conceded mere 10 runs in his stipulated four overs, the remaining five bowlers were taken to cleaners by Warner and Smith in their scintillating innings by hitting them all over the ground. For RCB, Dilshan and Sreenath Arvind, who gave away maximum runs (55) in four overs, shared one wicket each.