Young KB Arun Karthik turned out to be the unlikely hero. He hit a stunning six off the last delivery of the match to power Royal Challengers [ Images ] Bangalore to the semi-finals of the Champions League [ Images ] Twenty20 [ Images ]. They beat South Australia [ Images ] Redbacks by two wickets in the last group match on Wednesday night.
RCB join Mumbai Indians [ Images ], New South Wales Blues and Somerset in the last four.
The Redbacks had scored a commanding 214 for two in 20 overs, which the RCB chased down with two wickets in hand.
With a six needed off the last delivery, Daniel Christian bowled a slower one just outside off-stump. Karthik, who plays Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu, waited for the delivery and swung it over mid-wicket as the Redbacks players watched in dismay.
Rarely does a team that has a batsman scoring a century (Daniel Harris) and a bowler taking a five-wicket haul (Shaun Tait [ Images ]) ends up on the losing side.
A swashbuckling century by Harris, and a smashing 70 from Callum Ferguson, powered South Australia Redbacks to 214 for two in 20 overs.
It was an imposing total, but RCB gave a fitting reply, courtesy Tillekaratne Dilshan (74, 47 balls) and Virat Kohli [ Images ] (70, 36 balls), who added 100 runs in 8.5 overs before Tait came back to bowl an inspiring second spell.
In the penultimate over of the match, he swung it in Redbacks' favour, taking three wickets to end with a spectacular figures of five for 31, in a match dominated by the willow.
However, the match hung in balance with seven required of the last two balls. Sreenath Aravind got one off the second last ball before Karthik got into the act.
The seeds of victory were, however, sown by Kohli and Dilshan, especially the former who played one of his best T20 knocks.
He hit four boundaries and six sixes, most were proper cricketing shots.
Dilshan, as usual, hit a few lusty blows mixed with cheeky shots in between.
Earlier, electing to bat, the Australian outfit made a mockery of the hapless RCB bowlers to post the highest total in the tournament.
The last six overs produced 92 runs, with Sreenath Aravind being hit for 69 runs in his four-overs spell. The manner in
which the left-arm seamer was hit all over the park may seriously dent his chances of making it to the playing eleven in the upcoming series against England [ Images ].
For the Australian side, the 'Doctor' was on call. Harris, a qualified medical practitioner, was the star of the
innings. The right hander took charge from the word go with audacious strokes that stunned the RCB bowlers.
His magnificent innings was laced with 17 hits to the fence and two sixes, one of which helped him reach his maiden T20 ton.
Ferguson was equally brilliant at the other end, scoring a 43-ball 70, studded with four boundaries and three sixes.
After losing skipper Michael Klinger (7), Harris joined hands with Ferguson and the second-wicket pair stitched a
belligerent century partnership of 114 runs, coming off only 75 balls.
Harris showed no respect to RCB's left arm seamer Dirk Nannes [ Images ], hitting him for four consecutive boundaries, taking 18 runs in the process.
He was particularly severe on Aravind, creaming 28 runs in two overs.
For RCB, Syed Mohammad and Rajoo Bhatkal claimed a wicket each.