Pune, Apr 2, 2013,
Robin Uthappa’s excellent 45-ball 75-run knock went in vain as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Pune Warriors by 17 runs to consolidate their second position in the Pepsi Indian Premier League here today.
Uthappa’s fiery knock, during which he hit five boundaries and as many towering sixes, failed to take Pune home as, chasing a stiff 188 for victory the hosts ran out of steam to be restricted to 170 for nine and hand RCB their first win away from home this season.
Earlier, RCB rode on Saurabh Tiwary’s fine 52 and A B de Villiers’ quick-fire unbeaten 50 to post a 187 for three.
Chasing the challenging target, Pune lost wickets at regular intervals to findthemselves in a spot of bother at 81 for four in 10.5 overs.
Skipper Aaron Finch (15 off 11) was the first to depart after he played on to his stumps a Moises Henriques delivery in the third over.
Tirumalasetti Suman (11 off 14) and Yuvraj Singh (16 off 11) did not help their side’s cause either. While Suman was run out, Yuvraj hit a R Vinay Kumar delivery straight to the hands of De Villiers at long-on.
To add to Pune’s misery, Vinay Kumar accounted for Steven Smith four balls later after he edged one to wicket-keeper Arun Karthik.
But some counter-attacking from Uthappa and Angelo Mathews brought Pune back into the match. The duo added 63 runs for the fifth wicket in just 33 balls to send some shivers in the RCB camp.
Utahappa was at his attacking best as he moulded his innings perfectly to keep Pune in the hunt.
Right after stepping on to the crease, Mathews blossomed in Uthappa’s company as the duo clobbered Muttiah Muralitharan for three huge sixes to pick up 21 runs in the 16th over.
Just when it seemed the duo might run away with the game, Mathews was caught by a diving Gayle at point off Vinay Kumar.
Murali Karthik then produced twin blows in the next over to put paid to Pune’s hopes.
Karthik first dismissed Abhishek Nayar and then two balls later accounted for the big wicket of Uthappa, caught by R P Singh.
Thereafter, victory looked improbable for the struggling hosts as RCB tightened the noose around Pune’s neck to register the comfortable win.
Earlier, asked to open the batting, Tiwary stood up to his captain’s call and held together RCB’s innings with a fine half-century that came off 45 balls and was studded with two fours and as many sixes.
But it took a brilliant improvised innings from De Villiers towards the rear phase of the innings to steal the limelight from Tiwary.
The South African took the Pune bowlers for a leatherhunt and scored his 50 off just 23 balls with the help of six boundaries and two sixes to take RCB past the 180-run mark which at one stage looked bleak.
In Henriques (27 off 13), De Villiers found an able partner. The duo smacked took the Pune bowlers for a task and shared unbeaten 68 runs for the fourth wicket in just 4.5 overs.
De Villeiers showed great improvisation and scored a whopping 26 runs off Ashok Dinda’s final over to finish off RCB’s innings in style.
Poor Dinda came under De Villiers’ wrath as he hit the ordinary-looking pacer for 6,4,6,4,4 and two runs in the final over of the innings.
However, RCB did not have the best of starts as Chris Gayle and Tiwary found the going tough against Pune’s disciplined opening attack.
Gayle, who scored a majestic beaten 175 against the same opponent in the last meeting between both the sides, looked a pale shadow of himself as he managed just 21 off 21 deliveries before being caught by Bhuveneshwar Kumar off Suman.
Skipper Virat Kohli played a 18-ball 25-run cameo and together with Tiwary added 63 runs for the second wicket off just 39 balls to give the much-needed impetus to RCB’s innings.
Pune skipper Finch’s decision to introduce Yuvraj into the attack in the 11th over backfired as Kohli smashed three fours to pick up 15 runs off the part-timer’s opening over.
Just when he was looking dangerous, Kohli was castled by by Dinda in the 13th over.
Tiwary, however, went about his business in quite fashion and notched up his half-century in 42 balls before Dinda cut short his stay.
After doing all the hard work, Tiwary gave away his wicket, caught by Rahul Sharma at short fine-leg off Dinda.
But De Villiers and Henriques used their long handles to good effect as Pune bowlers bleed 68 runs in the final five overs.