IPL: Royal Challengers Bangalore break away jinx

AB de Villiers was the hitting star for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who finally won a match away at home while sending Pune Warriors India to a sixth consecutive loss.

Royal Challengers Bangalore's batsman AB de Villiers, left, here in a match from last season, put on a display of hitting that reminded everyone Bangalore is not just all about Chris Gayle.
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Toss Bangalore, chose to bat

Bangalore S Tiwary 52, AB de Villiers 50; B Kumar 3-20

Pune R Uthappa 75, A Mathews 32; RP Singh 4-27

Man of the match AB de Villers (Bangalore)

When Pune Warriors India last met Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, they learned that Chris Gayle in full flow is an irresistible force.

Thursday, it was AB de Villiers's turn to give a hitting exhibition, stroking the ball to any part of the ground that caught his fancy as Bangalore registered their first away win of the season.

His cultured hitting outshone a valiant half-century by Robin Uthappa, who almost single-handedly kept Pune in the hunt.

While Uthappa distributed his runs equally, Ashok Dinda faced the brunt of de Villiers's refined bludgeoning, hit for 26 runs off the final over of Bangalore's innings after they chose to bat.

What looked like a good score turned into a daunting 187 for three, with de Villiers unbeaten on a 23-ball 50.

That was enough to complete a 17-run win, and consign Pune to a sixth straight defeat.

Immediately after the power play overs, Pune would have been forgiven for thinking they had won half the battle when Gayle, their tormentor-in-chief, fell to a leading edge off T Suman for 21 off 21 balls. That left Bangalore at 36 for one in 6.3 overs.

However, Saurabh Tiwary, who had come out to open the innings in a surprise move, and Virat Kohli, prevented a collapse with a good 63-run stand.

Tiwary ended up playing a quite different role, doing duty as the innings' anchor. He finished with 52 off 42 balls, and when he fell, the stage was set for de Villiers to do his thing.

Moises Henriques, who contributed 27 not out off 13 balls, also played an important part in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand that yielded 68 in just 29 balls.

Pune needed their top order to fire, but Aaron Finch (15) and Yuvraj Singh (16) both fell cheaply.

Uthappa fought a lone battle, and he was not helped by Pune's strange tactic of persisting with Suman at No 3, ahead of Yuvraj and the returning Angelo Mathews.

Suman made 11 off 14 balls, and when he was dismissed, the asking rate had swelled up considerably.

Uthappa and Mathews then got on a roll and started to make Bangalore sweat.

Uthappa rediscovered his six-hitting side, while Mathews, who had relinquished the captaincy in favour of Finch, looked in good touch for the first time in the tournament.

The duo put on 63 in 33 balls, with both particularly harsh on Muttiah Muralitharan. Mathews fell to Vinay Kumar after making 32 off 19 balls, as Gayle took a fine tumbling catch at point.

At 144 for five in 16.2 overs, it was all down to Uthappa. The decisive blow was struck by Murali Kartik, who turned one past his bat in the 18th over, for RP Singh to grab the leading edge.

After that, Pune's resistance ended, and with it even a mathematical hope of making it to the play-offs, while Bangalore remain on the tails of leaders Chennai Super Kings in the league's second spot.

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at Wisden India.

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