cricket20 :: Bushrangers on top, chasing 128 for victory
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Bushrangers on top, chasing 128 for victory

Bangalore Royal Challengers got off to a flying start before Andrew McDonald's four-wicket haul grounded them, forcing the hosts to settle for a below-par 127 for six against Victoria Bushrangers.

Manish Pandey (39 off 28 balls) grabbed the Victorian attack by the scruff of its neck before McDonald (4 for 21) changed the complexion of the match with four quick strikes and it needed another propping-up act from Rahul Dravid (33 off 35 balls) for the home team to reach a competitive total.

The dryness of the track made both captains, Anil Kumble and Cameron White , craving to bat first but it was the Bangalore captain whose wish was granted in the end.

With Manish Pandey (39 off 28 balls), one of the two replacements along with Dale Steyn , making his presence count, Kumble had the satisfaction of seeing his team getting off to a rollicking start.

First Indian to slam a century in the IPL, Pandey's nonchalant aggression was in full display as he hit Shane Harwood for back-to-back fours before extending the same harsh treatment to Peter Siddle .

Taking a cue from Pandey, in-form Robin Uthappa (13) greeted Clint McKay with successive fours before the dragging the Australian's fourth delivery onto his stumps as the blooming opening stand wilted for 39 in 4.4 overs.

Andrew McDonald then turned the match on its head with a three-wicket burst as the hosts slumped from the comfort of 39 for no loss to the predicament of 79 for four.

Pandey was looking good for a half-century when he played a shot too early and Andrew McDonald took a smart catch off his own bowling.

Axed this morning from India's first two ODIs against Australia later this month, Rahul Dravid (33 off 35) did not show signs of any personal agony even if there was one and gamely hung on.

Unfortunately for the hosts, neither Virat Kohli (6) nor Ross Taylor (2) could show the same grit and fell to McDonald in quick successions.

McDonald, however, was not satiated yet and he signed off with the prized scalp of Dravid.

The Victorians have a two-point cushion, courtesy their first round win over fellow League B campaigner Delhi Daredevils .

A win would virtually book them a semifinal berth, while the Royal Challengers badly need to win so that things remain uncomplicated for them.

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