Robin Uthappa cracked a dazzling half-century, while R Vinay Kumar scalped four wickets to help Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Chennai Super Kings by 36 runs in their Indian Premier League match on Tuesday.
Put into bat, Bangalore first rode on Uthappa, who blasted 68 runs off 38 balls, to post a competitive 171 for five after a slow start and then restricted Chennai at 135 for seven to stretch their winning streak to three games.
Pacer Vinay Kumar emerged as the wrecker-in-chief and he was ably supported by skipper Anil Kumble and Praveen Kumar, who picked one each giving away 15 and 21 runs to bring Chennai’s downfall at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Earlier, Uthappa starred in a 19-ball 52-run stand with Mark Boucher to take Royal Challengers Bangalore past the 150-mark.
Struggling at 119 for five in 17 overs, RCB piled up 52 runs in the last three overs, thanks to the unalloyed blitzkrieg of Uthappa, who unleashed an array of attacking strokes to destroy the Super Kings.
In the 19th over, the Karnataka batsman launched a brutal attack on Lakshmipathy Balaji and clobbered him for three successive sixes to set the stands on fire.
His awe-inspiring innings was studded with three fours and six sixes.
Chasing 172 to win, Chennai had a shaky start when they lost opener Parthiv Patel (1) in the last ball of the first over off Praveen Kumar.
However, Matthew Hayden (32) and George Bailey (18) steadied the ship with a crucial 55-run partnership for the first wicket but with Praveen and Dale Steyn bowling a tight line, the duo could not free their arms.
Skipper Anil Kumble also bowled brilliantly to further suffocate the duo as Chennai reached 29 for one in six overs.
Still needing 143 off 84 balls, Hayden took refuge to his Mongoose bat and belted three successive fours off Jacques Kallis in the eighth over to ease the pressure.
However, the euphoria was shortlived as the Chennai lost both the set batsmen in the 10th over off R Vinay Kumar.
While Hayden was run out by Rahul Dravid, Bailey failed to negotiate an away going delivery and edged it to Mark Boucher as Chennai were reduced to 59 for three in 9.4 overs.
Vinay Kumar struck again in his next over, removing skipper Suresh Raina (9) in his third ball. After hitting a six of the first ball, Raina miscued one to wide third man and Kallis made no mistake.
Kumble then dismissed Murali Vijay (3) in his fourth over when going for a slog sweep, the Tamil Nadu batsman ended up giving a simple catch to Eoin Morgan at deep midwicket as Chennai looked down the barrel at 74 for five in 12.3 overs.
S Badrinath tried to breakfree with his 17-ball 31 but he soon perished as Vinay Kumar took his third wicket of the day.
Put into bat, Royals had to struggle hard to keep the scoreboard ticking as pacers Morne Morkel, Sudeep Tyagi and Lakshmipathy Balaji used the pace and bounce in the wicket to straitjacket the RCB batsmen.
But it was Muttiah Muralitharan who strangled the RCB batting line up most in the middle overs with his off-spin as the Sri Lankan scalped three wickets — Rahul Dravid (14), Manish Pandey (20) and Virat Kohli (24) — for 25 runs.
Frustrated at not being able to connect the ball with the meat of their bats, the RCB batsmen charged at Muralitharan only to lose wickets in a heap.
However, Uthappa, who was dropped twice — first by Ravichandran Ashwin and then by Murali Vijay — held the innings at one end and stepped the gas in the final overs to take Bangalore past the 150-mark and change the course of the match. (PTI)