35 run win takes RCB to no. 3
The Royal Challengers Bangalore consigned the Pune Warriors India to a 35 run defeat to go to 3rd place in the 2012 IPL points table at the Sahara Stadium in Pune on Friday night.
The crowd sat through more than an hour of rain at the largely roofless stadium, waiting for RCB to bat after stand-in skipper Steve Smith won the toss and chose to bowl first. Chris Gayle (57, 31 b, 3x4, 6x6) made their drenching worth it, targeting Krishnakant Upadhyay for two sixes in the 3rd over. He moved from 24 to 50 in the space of 5 balls, hitting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for four sixes in the sixth over as RCB posted 66/0 in just 6 overs.
The scoring slowed down after his dismissal in the 9th over, Virat Kohli’s (9) dismissal in the 12th over saw Pune cover crucial ground to catch up. Saurabh Tiwary was promoted ahead of AB de Villiers and scratched around, forcing Tillakaratne Dilshan (53, 44b, 6x4, 1x6) to accelerate against Rahul Sharma and Upadhyay.
His dismissal trying a hard single after two tight overs saw RCB reeling at 138/3 after 17.2 overs. Tiwary immediately went about accelerating to move from 11 off 17 to 36 off 30. AB de Villiers faced just 4 balls with the Pune fielders working to keep Tiwary on strike but the South African hit 9 as they added 35 off the last 16 balls to take RCB to a formidable 173/3 on a pitch that showed signs of slowing down.
Unlucky to not get wickets despite his stellar show against Mumbai, Zaheer Khan (2/21) dismissed Mohnish Mishra (4) and Manish Pandey (0) with a beauty in the very first over to leave PWI hurting at 4/2. Michael Clarke threatened to cut loose but Vinay Kumar kept trying to unsettle him with variations in length and pace. It worked and he was caught at the boundary by Tiwary, the PWI score now 22/3.
Robin Uthappa and Anustup Majumdar took on Harshal Patel, KP Appanna and even Muttiah Muralitharan. The counterattack with daring strokeplay fetched 50 off just 28 balls at which point Uthappa (38, 23b, 5x4, 1x6) stretched his luck too far and ended up being stumped off Muralitharan. Angelo Mathews decided to go after KP Appanna (1/30) three overs later only to meet the same result: stumped.
Harshal Patel returned to finish his quota and took out Majumdar first ball with help from an excellent catch from Zaheer Khan. From 0/33 in 3 overs, he ended at a much better 1/36. Murali cleaned up Bhuvneshwar Kumar in his next over to end with 2/16. Vinay (3/32) got his yorkers right in the 18th over to bowl both Alfonso Thomas and Rahul Sharma to make the win a mere formality.
Steve Smith only managed 24* off 25 while PWI’s no. 11 Upadhyay made a spirited 11 off 8 as they reached 138/9 at stumps, conceding a 35 run defeat, their seventh in a row.
At the presentation ceremony Kohli admitted that the management wanted Tiwary to spend some time in the middle and the youngster made a positive step today with his crucial runs. Gayle’s powerpacked innings which took the slow outfield out of the equation however left no doubts on who the Man of the Match should be. At 572, he leads the next batsman Ajinkya Rahane by 92 runs having played one match and two innings lesser than the RR batsman.