Gayle, AB, Tiwary deliver thrilling win
The Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Pune Warriors India by 6 wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday night.
Saurabh Tiwary hit a six off the last ball when 3 were required, finishing on a platform laid by knocks from Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers.
The fightback began earlier when it seemed Jesse Ryder (34 off 22b) and Robin Uthappa would run away with the game. The duo had put on 63 in just 7 overs when Harshal Patel dismissed the southpaw with a short delivery. Muttiah Muralitharan sat out on his birthday but his replacement KP Appanna had Uthappa gloving the ball to the keeper in his first over. The umpire gave the benefit of the doubt to the batsman and Uthappa took his score from 27 off 22b to 69 off 45b in spectacular fashion.
At 117/3 after 13 overs, the Warriors had a great launchpad but Steve Smith and Marlon Samuels (34 of 22b) were run out in successive overs at crucial points as the RCB bowlers gave away no easy runs. Vinay Kumar appeared to have injured himself at the end but still put in a good final over to finish with figures of 2/34 and a run out. Harshal Patel (1/29) and Daniel Vettori (1/34) chipped in crucial breakthroughs as Pune set an imposing total of 182/6 but one that could have easily been a 200+ total.
Dilshan’s (4) early dismissal against Ashok Dinda set back the Royal Challengers but Mayank Agarwal’s (9) promotion saw the run rate rise briefly as Gayle tried to break free at the other end, slamming Nehra for 18 in the 4th over.
Kohli and Gayle added 30 off 35 for the third wicket as Bhuvneshwar Kumar proved hard to hit and Rahul Sharma’s introduction applied brakes on the RCB scoring. By the time Kohli was dismissed going for a big hit, the required run rate had ballooned from 9 to 13.
Gayle scored 34 off the next 6 balls he faced, a four off Mathews and five consecutive sixes off Rahul Sharma in the next over, giving the chase impetus. Pune pulled things back immediately with two cheap overs from Mathews and Dinda as both Tiwary and Gayle struggled to middle or time the ball.
Nehra’s reintroduction saw him being hit for a six but he bowled Gayle (81 off 48b) off the very next ball. The RRR was back at 13 at that point and with no option left, de Villiers and Tiwary began to swing.
55 from 24 was reduced to 44 from 18 with the duo taking a four each off Kumar. It came down to 28 off 12 as they struck a six each off Mathews (1/35). Dinda (1/28) injured himself but still bowled a superb 19th over giving away just 7 runs despite hobbling back to the top of his run up after every ball holding his hip and requiring medical attention.
Nehra (1/54) came to bowl the 20th over with 21 to defend. AB de Villiers (33* off 14b) improvised with two amazing scoop shots and a yorker dug out for a six in between, hitting 4, 6 and 6 off deliveries no. 2, 3 and 4 of the over before a low full toss saw him take a single and hand over the strike to Tiwary.
3 required off 1 ball and Tiwary (36* off 23b) managed to get under a yorker and send it flat over long on, just about beating Steve Smith at the ropes and seal an incredible come-from-behind 6 wicket win for RCB.
Sharma (0/35 in 2 overs) wasn’t brought back into the attack after Gayle’s onslaught, neither was Samuels (1/5 in 2 over) with Saurav Ganguly’s mind probably on the warning Samuels received over a suspect action for his yorkers which the spinner uses effectively in the death overs.
Whatever the limitations, the Warriors stayed ahead of the Royal Challengers till the very last over. With one of the world’s best limited overs batsmen and an underperforming but massively talented youngster choosing to bring out their best in that last over, the Warriors stood no chance.