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Bangalore edge Hyderabad to finish third

By Rediff cricket
Last updated on: May 22, 2009 00:31 IST
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Bangalore Royal Challengers beat Deccan Chargers by 12 runs in the final group match of the Indian Premier League at SuperSport Park at Centurion on Thursday.

The win, Bangalore's eighth in 14 matches, enabled them finish third in the table and avoid a meeting with toppers Delhi Daredevils in the last four.

The Anil Kumble-led side now plays second-placed Chennai Super Kings in the second semi-final at Johannesburg on Saturday, while Deccan Chargers Hyderabad take on Delhi at Centurion on Friday.

Chasing a mammoth 171 to win, Hyderabad crashed to 158 for six in their quota of overs despite of a valiant 60 by opener Herschelle Gibbs.

B Akhil (4-0-18-2) and Anil Kumble (4-0-23-2) were the most successful bowlers for Bangalore.

The result made the elimination of Punjab a formal affair. Hyderabad needed to get past their target in about 11 overs to ensure Yuvraj Singh's men to scrape through to the last four at the expense of Bangalore.

It was an improbable ask and eventually never materialized.

Going into the match, Bangalore had won their last three matches -- against Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi respectively -- and six of their last eight.

Hyderabad, after winning their first four matches in the tournament, had had a roller coaster ride, losing three of their last six.

Earlier, a masterclass unbeaten 114 by opener Manish Pandey, who was playing only his third match, helped the Bangalore Royal Challengers pile up a massive 170 for four.

Pandey's century was only the second hundred of the second edition after AB de Villiers's unbeaten 105 for Delhi Daredevils against Chennai Super Kings at Durban.

The Karnataka batsman, who represented Mumbai Indians in the inaugural year and was a member of the Indian squad that won the under-19 World Cup, was dropped when on two by R P Singh, and he made Hyderabad pay a heavy price for that faux pas, hitting 10 boundaries and four sixes in his 73-ball knock.

For the record, it was the first century by an Indian in the IPL, an unlikely one, but coming from someone who made the most of the opportunity given to him.

Bangalore innings:

Kumble won the toss and opted to bat first. His decision seemed to have boomeranged initially, with Bangalore making a tentative start.

Hyderabad made their maiden breakthrough as early as the second over when the seasoned Jacques Kallis (5/7) flicked an RP Singh delivery straight to T Suman at short square leg.

It was a tame dismissal and Hyderabad could have built on their early success had RP not dropped Pandey at third man off Ryan Harris.

It was a lolly, and RP, the holder of the purple cap with most wickets in the tournament, claimed to have lost the ball in the background.

As if adding salt to Hyderabad's woes, the ball went past the fence and Pandey flicked the next one between mid-on and midwicket for a second straight boundary.

Roelof van der Merwe (23/18), promoted up the order, eased the pressure further with two successive boundaries off RP, the first clearing the mid-on fielder and the second through the gap between mid-on and midwicket.

The South African stepped up gear when Pragyan Ojha came in to bowl in the eighth over, first stepping out to hit a superb boundary over extra cover and, two balls later, clearing the midwicket fence for maximum.

Pandey and van der Merwe put on 55 runs for the second wicket.

However, in his bid to accelerate, the latter ended up losing his wicket, getting beaten by some extra bounce by Andrew Symonds, and Adam Gilchrist completing a relatively easy stumping opportunity.

The wicket, in the final over before the strategic time-out ensured the match was evenly poised at that stage, with the Bangalore scorecard reading 64 for two. 

Pandey put his foot on the accelerator almost immediately after play resumed, hitting successive sixes of Suman, the second of those helping him reach his maiden half-century in the tournament.

The 11th over proved costly from Hyderabad's point of view (18 runs).

RP was brought back into the attack in the 14th over and Pandey hit two boundaries off him.

However, Ojha did provide Hyderabad the much-needed breakthrough having a thus far lackluster Rahul Dravid (6/9) caught by Herschelle Gibbs at long off.

But Pandey's response was immediate. He smashed the left arm spinner for successive boundaries in the same over, the first beating the long-on fielder and the second wide off midwicket.

And in the next over by Jaskaran Singh, the 16th of the innings, Pandey went berserk, smashing 16 runs, including two boundaries and a maximum over the long-on fence.

Ojha gave Hyderabad yet another breakthrough, accounting for Ross Taylor (1/4) in his final over, caught by RP at deep midwicket.

However, Pandey completed his century with a couple off Symonds.

And in the final over, it was mayhem, RP conceding as many as 23 runs, including three huge sixes. Pandey took nine of those, including a maximum, while Virat Kohli (19/9) took the remaining 14, including two huge sixes, both over mid-wicket.

In the final analysis, RP was not only guilty of dropping a crucial catch (of Pandey) but also being the most expensive of the regular Hyderabad bowlers, conceding a whopping 47 runs of his four overs. 

Hyderabad innings:

The Hyderabad innings began on a steady note, with captain Gilchrist hitting his Bangalore counterpart, who opened the bowling, for a boundary over mid-on.

But it was Gibbs who cut loose early on, hitting boundaries in successive overs from Kallis and Kumble.

The fifth over, bowled by Praveen Kumar (his second), saw Hyderabad step up gear, taking 22 runs off it and Gibbs going berserk.

The South African opener hit successive sixes of Kumar, both towards square leg before guiding the third ball to the short fine leg boundary. Gilchrist joined the party with a boundary through extra cover.

Kumble handed van der Merwe the ball in the next over and it proved to be a faux pas, with Hyderabad taking another 19 runs off it.

Gibbs was again in the forefront of the carnage, hitting successive sixes, the first a flat drive over mid-on and the second, an effortless hit over long off.

The end of the Powerplay witnessed two things, Hyderabad comfortably placed at 64 without loss, and the unusual sight of Gibbs (44 not out) having outscored Gilchrist (12 not out).

Kumble rectified his mistake by brininging in Balachandra Akhil in the seventh over and the latter justified his captain's faith by giving Bangalore their opening breakthrough, having Gilchrist (15/18) caught by van der Merwe at deep backward square leg.

The captain's dismissal slowed the pace of the Hyderabad innings considerably, with Gibbs seemingly in two minds, whether to keep attacking or hold back and anchor the innings.

He got a reprieve when Uthappa dropped an easy chance at long-on of Akhil. Three balls later, Gibbs took a single to complete a much-deserved half-century.

Hyderabad reached 85 for one at the strategic time-out, needing a further 86 to win off their final 10 overs. 

In the last ball of the first over after resumption, T Suman (12/12) was caught by van der Merwe of Kumble. It was a soft dismissal and put Hyderabad on the backfoot again.

Symonds tried to break free with a boundary off van der Merwe followed by a towering six over long-on off Kohli.

However, Akhil was re-introduced into the attack in the 15th over and he struck with his first ball, getting the dangerous-looking Gibbs (60) caught by Pandey at deep backward square leg.

The South African hit three boundaries and four sixes during the course of his 43-ball knock.

Symonds (18/15) was cleaned up by van der Merwe in the next over. Venugopal Rao (8/9) was the next wicket to fall, run out by Boucher.

And when Rohit Sharma (12/12) fell in the first ball of the penultimate over, caught at long-on by Kohli off Kumble, Hyderabad's last hope vanished into thin air.

They required 26 runs off the last over. They managed half of that.

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