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Gayle leads Royal Challengers into final

Chris Gayle ensured the Royal Challengers Bangalore took their second chance of reaching the IPL final thanks to a 43 run victory over the Mumbai Indians at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

The West Indian stared with the bat once again to help the Royal Challengers set up a clash with the Chennai Super Kings tomorrow night in the final of the 2011 Indian Premier League.

After failing with the bat against the Chennai Super Kings, the opener smashed 89 runs from just 47 deliveries which included 9 fours and 5 sixes to help the Royal Challengers reach 185-4 against a beleaguered Indians attack who were blown away.

Gayle fell 11 runs short of his 3rd century in this yearís tournament when he was caught by James Franklin out on the long on boundary in the 15th over after the West Indian tried to dispatch Munaf Patel for his 6th six of the innings.

Having set the Indians a run chase of 186, Daniel Vettoriís side took control of the match early in the Indians run chase thanks to Sreenath Aravind who picked up the wicket of in form opener Aiden Blizzard (10) in just the 4th over.

The 27 year old then removed Harbhajan Singh (13) who had been sent in as a pinch hitter in the 5th over thanks to Luke Pomersbach who took an easy catch at deep midwicket to leave the Indians 41-2.

Sachin Tendulkar offered the Indians hope as long as he remained at the crease, the skipper smashed 7 boundaries to led the Indians run chase but when he was stumped by AB de Villiers in the 8th over off the bowling of Syed Mohammad his sides hopes all but disappeared.

With the run rate increasing the Indians resistantís all but disappeared as Vettori tor through the middle order to remove Rohit Sharma (13), Amabti Rayudu (0) and Keorin Pollard (3) to leave the Indians 89-6 at the end of the 13th over.

Having suffered a middle order collapse the Indians hopes were resting on the shoulders of James Franklin (16), but the Kiwi was unable to report his heroics from the previous two games after he was bowled by Zaheer Khan in the 15th over.

With Franklin back in the dug out the Royals Challengers counted down the overs to seal a comprehensive victory thanks to Gayle and Mayank Agarwal who destroyed the Indians bowling attack during an opening stand of 113 which put the Royal Challengers in control of the game

The Pair smashed 13 fours and 4 sixes during a devastating spell of big hitting as they dispatched the Indians bowlers around the MA Chidambaram Stadium with ease.

Abu Necham suffered the most; the 22 year old conceded 38 runs from just two overs including 27 runs from the opening over which set a new IPL record.

With the partnership building Kieron Pollard finally made the break through in the 11th over when Agarwal (41) was caught by Rohit Sharma out on the long on boundary; it was a big relief for Sharma after dropping Agarwal three balls earlier.

Having been put into bat, the Royal Challengers got off to a lightning start as Gayle and Agarwal took advantage of the fielding restrictions to score 68 runs during the opening six overs.

Gayle led the way, smashing 39 runs from just 19 deliveries which included three boundaries and a six from the opening over which was bowled by Necham.

Agarwal followed Gayleís lead, scoring three boundaries and a six during the next two overs to give the Royal Challengers the perfect start which immediately put the Indians under pressure.

Virat Kohli (8) quickly followed before Lasith Malinga produced one of the catches of the tournament to remove Luke Pomersbach (4) after the Sri Lankan dived one handed to pluck the ball out of the air at short third man to leave the Royal Challengers 157-4.

Having got of to a stunning start the Royal Challengers started to lose the momentum during the closing stages of their innings as the Indians fought their way back into the game.

Despite the mini collapse AB de Villiers (21) and Saurabh Tiwary (8) added 28 vital runs during a 5th wicket stand to leave the Indians facing a run chase of 186 to reach tomorrow nights final.

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