BANGALORE, India, CMC- West Indies opener Dwayne Smith counter-attacked with a powerful half century but AB de Villiers hit back with an equally impressive innings to mastermind a four wicket victory by Royal Challengers Bangalore over Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) yesterday. Smith slammed 73 from 41 balls as Lions rebounded from nine for three to post 158 all out in 20 overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bangalore.
The South African batsman pulled RCB out of a dangerous slide after they plunged to 25 for three with an undefeated knock of 79 from 47 balls that carried his side to victory with ten balls to spare.
“AB got going and with him still at the crease you know they really still had a chance. I really think our downfall is not getting him out, we really had to get him out and he batted well, as well, so hats off to them,” said Smith who featured in an 85 run stand with Dinesh Karthik to repair the damage caused by Shane Watson to Lions’ innings
Watson grabbed four for 29 while Iqball Abdulla and Barbados born English cricketer Chris Jordan picked up two wickets each.
“We still have a chance to show that we are going to fight in Delhi to come back here for the final,” said Smith.
“We really started well with the ball as well. It is just one of those days so we can’t really cry ourselves down because we still have a second chance”. The burly Barbadian hit five fours and six sixes and together with Karthik, who scored 26, plundered 16 off the 10th over, bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal.
Dhawal Kulkarni nearly won the match for Lions by removing RCB’s frontline batsmen cheaply to finish with figures of 4 for 14, accounting for Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, and Sachin Baby.
Kohli, departed for a two-ball duck, his first in 50 T20 innings, Gayle was bowled for nine and KL Rahul edged to Dwayne Smith as RCB innings spun into chaos.
However, Ab Villiers, with five fours and five sixes in his unbeaten knock, coupled with an unbroken 91 run partnership with Iqbal Abdulla who scored 33, brought RCB across the line.
The win carried RCB into the final while Lions have to play the winner of today’s Eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders.