BENGALURU, India, CMC-IANS – In a nail-biting finish, Royal Challengers Bangalore, with West Indies opener Chris Gayle in the line-up, snatched a thrilling victory by two wickets from a defiant South Australian Redbacks yesterday to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20.
Requiring six runs of the last ball of the match for a sensational win, RCB’s wicketkeeper Arun Karthik swung Redbacks’ Daniel Christian for a massive six over mid-wicket to take his side to the stiff target of 215 for eight wickets.
RCB’s swashbuckling openers Chris Gayle, with 26, and Tillakaratne Dilshan, with the top score of 74, began the hot chase, rustling up 65 in the first six overs.
A brilliant century partnership for the second wicket in 54 balls between Dilshan and Virat Kohli, with 70, took the home team closer to the target.
In a fearsome bowling spell, speedster Shaun Tait however, ran through Dilshan, RCB captain Daniel Vettori and Raajoo Bhatkal in the 19th over to swing the match towards the Redbacks and reduced the home team to 200 for seven, requiring 15 off the last over.
After Syed Mohammad was run out for two on the second ball of the last over, it was left to Karthik and left-arm pacer Sreenath Arvind to make the remaining 13 from four balls.
A quick four and a single by Arvind with two wides by Christian reduced the target by six runs of the last ball for Kartik to hit the winning six.
Kohli was declared Man-of-the-Match for his knock which included six sixes and four fours from 36 balls.
For Redbacks, Tait was the most successful bowler with five wickets for 32 runs in four overs.
With two wins from four matches, Group B runners-up RCB will play against Group A topper New South Wales Blues tomorrow in the first semi-final here, while Group B topper Somerset will play against Group A runners-up Mumbai Indians in Chennai on Saturday for the tournament’s title clash in Chennai the next day.
Earlier, Redbacks chose to bat, and scored a blistering 214 for two in 20 overs, with opener Daniel Harris remaining unbeaten on 108 with 17 fours and two sixes in 61 balls.
Harris put up a 114-run partnership for the second wicket with Redbacks captain Callum Ferguson, who hit a breezy 70 in 43 balls by blasting three sixes and four fours.
Redbacks also blasted RCB bowlers to hit 86 in the last five slog overs.
For RCB, Syed Mohammed and Raajoo Bhatkal struggled to share one wicket each.