Uthappa blitz leads Royal Challengers to victory
Robin Uthappa smashed an unbeaten 22 ball century to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore to an important 7 wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders to move up into second place in the IPL group standings.
The Royal Challengers run chase got off to the worst possible start after Jacques Kallis (8), the tournaments leading run scorer was caught by Chris Gayle in the slips to give the impressive Ashok Dina his first wicket of the night.
It was an important break through for the Knight Riders but Sridharan Sriram and Rahul Dravid responded by building an important second wicket partnership of 72 for the Royal Challengers before Dina picked up his second wicket of the night to remove Sriram for 27.
Dravid continued his excellent innings reaching his half century from just 33 balls but his innings was soon over after he was caught by Ajit Agakar as Angelo Mathews made the important break through.
With Dravid gone the Royal challengers needed another 58 runs from just 41 balls as the pressure mounted inside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
With the game in the balance for both sides Uthappa put the Royal Challengers in the driving sit when he smashed 17 runs off Ishant Sharma in the 16th over.
Uthappa continued his blitz reaching his half century from just 22 balls as the he helped the Royal Challengers claim the important victory with just under 3 overs to spare.
Having been put into bat the Knight Riders got of to a positive start with Chris Gayle and Sourav Ganguly enjoying another great opening partnership. They started off slowly before attacking Praveen Kumar in the 4th over scoring 21 runs as the pair put on an opening partnership of 52.
After dispatching Kumar for a huge sixe and two boundaries in the previous over Gayle look set to build an impressive score but his night was ended by Rahul Dravid who caught the West Indian at extra cover to give Jacques Kallis the important breakthrough.
The loss of Gayle brought McCullum to the crease and the Kiwi built an important partnership with Ganguly as the Knight Riders looked set to record a big total after McCullum had smashed Sridhavan Sriram for 18 in the 10th over.
The blitz by McCullum proved to be a turning in the game as the Knight Riders self destructed losing 3 in the space of 9 balls as Ganguly (33), Manoj Tiwary (0)and Angelo Mathews (1) all departed to leave the visitors 105-4.
McCullum answered back in fine fashion smashing 16 runs off Vinay Kumar in the 13th over to keep the game finally poised until the Kiwi was dismissed by Anil Kumble to leave the Knight Riders 137-6.
After such a fine start the Knight Riders were now under pressure as the runs dried up thanks to some superb bowling by Kumble, Kallis and Dale Steyn.
Cheteshwar Pujara (16) broke the Royal Challengers strangle hold in the 18th over smashing Kallis for two huge sixes before he needlessly ran himself out as he tried to get the strike at the start of the last over.
With Pujara gone the Knight Riders lost the plot after Ashoke Dina (0) was run out at the start of the 19th over and then two balls later Ishant Sharma (0) was caught by Robin Uthappa as visitors reach 160-9.