Phenomenal hitting by Chris Gayle and a brilliant batting at the rear by AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary capped a fantastic chase by Royal Challengers Bangalore as they beat Pune Warriors by six wickets in an IPL match in Bangalore on Tuesday.
Chasing a target of 183, RCB's Saurabh Tiwary smashed Ashish Nehra for a big straight six off the final ball while they needed three to win. Not to forget AB de Villiers who smashed Nehra for two innovative sixes -- a reverse sweep and a scoop over deep fine leg as the Men in Red needed 21 runs off the last over.
The chase was however started by Chris Gayle who hit eight towering sixes enroute his 48-ball 81.
Nehra who gave away 54 runs in four overs was hit for as many as half a dozen of sixes and could well be his last match in the IPL. The India discard who was one of India's finest bowler at the death seems to have lost that magic. Nehra completely undid the good work done by Ashok Dinda who gave away only six runs in the penultimate over.
At halfway stage during their chase RCB were 63 for two with Gayle at the crease. Although Gayle hit couple of huge sixes off Ashish Nehra, he wasn't at his dangerous best as he failed to find the gaps. Kohli too was taking time to get into the groove. Credit should be given to Bhuveneshwar Kumar who bowled three tight overs during the front 10.
It was only after Kohli was dismissed by Angelo Mathews that Gayle decided to play his signature game.
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma bore the brunt as Gayle launched into him hitting five consecutive sixes as 31 runs came off that over and RCB seemed to be back on track.
Gayle raced to 81 off 47 balls as he hit Ashish Nehra to notch up his eighth six but the veteran seamer bowled a perfect delivery in the blockhole that cleaned up Gayle. The Jamaican had scored 81 off 48 balls with four boundaries and eight sixes.
Earlier, local boy Robin Uthappa's belligerent knock of 69 along with useful contributions from Jesse Ryder and Marlon Samuels helped Pune Warriors India post a commendable 182 for six after opting to bat first on a flat deck.
Pune openers Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa got off to a cracking start adding 63 runs for the first wicket in only seven overs.
The Royals introduced offie Tillekaratne Dilshan in the second over where he was hammered for 13 runs which included a six and four.
Ryder started from where he left in the last match against CSK while Uthappa showed why he is so highly rated in this format.
Just when it looked that Ryder-Uthappa duo would murder the bowling, Harshal Patel provided RCB the breakthrough as Kiwi opener tried to pull him over lbackward square leg only to be caught by Mayank Agarwal at the boundary.
Uthappa had a reprieve when he tried to sweep left-arm spinner KP Appanna and TV replays showed that ball jumped off his gloves to be caught by AB de Villiers. The umpire however gave him not out and the next ball was dispatched into the deep mid-wicket stand.
The Karnataka lad quickly raced to his fourth IPL half century reverse sweeping Dilshan past short third-man for his second consecutive boundary.
RCB responded with two quick wickets in two overs. R Vinay Kumar first picked up an woefully out-of-form Sourav Ganguly whose slash was easily caught at sweeper cover by Mayank Agarwal and in the next over Vettori sent back Uthappa 69.
Marlon Samuels and Steven Smith (16) added 47 runs in only 4.5 overs before couple run-outs saw the back of both players.