Prince, Botha lift Warriors to thrilling victory

Bangalore suffer last-ball heartbreak

Prince, Botha  lift Warriors to thrilling victory

 Warriors’ Ashwell Prince lofts one to the fence during his match-winning  innings of 74 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma RHaving done the running for more than three-fourths of the opening match of the Champions League, the hosts ran into a tartar in Ashwell Prince and Johan Botha, eventually going down by three wickets in a high-scoring thriller.

Without a substantial contribution but with meaty cameos from a fair few, the Challengers posted a competitive 172 for eight after being put in by Botha, and strangled the Warriors to 83 for four in 12 overs. That left the South Africans needing 90 off the last eight, a tall order even with wickets in hand.

Prince and Botha, however, made light of the target with an excellent display of power hitting, and even though both were dismissed with the end tantalisingly in sight, they had the experience of Nicky Boje and the enterprise of Wayne Parnell to take them over the line at 173 for seven, off the last delivery of the match.

There can be no single turning point in a contest of this nature. Perhaps, the first of them came when the Challengers lost three wickets for just six runs in their 19th over. The second arrived midway through the chase, the usually reliable Virat Kohli putting down Prince, then only 28, down at mid-wicket off skipper Daniel Vettori.

The momentum-shifting over was the 13th of the Warriors’ innings, delivered by Abhimanyu Mithun. 13 came off it as Prince and Botha got stuck, triggering a cascade with 14 being accrued off the next over by Vettori, and 12 off the 15th from Aussie Dirk Nannes, as the Challengers’ fielding went to pieces..

Prince, who has built his reputation as a dour plodder, was positively exhilarating during his highest T20 score (74, 55b, 6x4, 3x6) while Botha showed how much he has come on as a batsman during his 24-ball 42 (2x4, 3x6). Their stand of 73 (39b) seemed to have settled the issue when Mithun picked up two wickets including man of the match Prince’s in the 19th over, leaving S Arvind to defend seven off the last.

Two dot deliveries were followed by the crucial stick of Botha, and when Boje took just one off the fourth, six were needed from two deliveries. Parnell slammed the fifth for the decisive boundary, and scrambled two off the last to leave the reasonable gathering of Challengers fans shattered.

The noise levels had dissipated almost right at the start of the contest when Mayank Agarwal fell in the first over, but Chris Gayle had them on their feet with two giant sixes in his 14-ball until his brief stint was halted by an exceptional catch by the backpedalling Botha from mid-on.

The impetus was provided by the classy Kohli and AB de Villiers during a third-wicket alliance of 52 (41b), the former oozing orthodoxy and the later unafraid to improvise against his countrymen.  Saurabh Tiwary and Mohammad Kaif then provided the late flourish to somewhat loosen the hold imposed by Botha and Boje, but Juan Theron snuck in to pick up those three wickets in the penultimate over to thwart designs of a 180-plus total.

On another night, 172 might have been enough. Not on Friday, though.

Score board

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Chris Gayle c Botha b Parnell 23 (14b, 2x4, 2x6), Mayank Agarwal c Ingram b Tsotsobe 0 (2b), Virat Kohli c Parnell b Theron 34 (29b, 4x4), AB de Villiers c Tsotsobe b Botha 31 (25b, 1x4, 2x6), Saurabh Tiwary c Kreusch b Boje 28 (15b, 2x4, 2x6), Mohammad Kaif c Boje b Theron 26 (20b, 1x4, 2x6), Daniel Vettori c Prince b Theron 8 (6b, 1x4), Abhimanyu Mithun c Tsotsobe b Theron 4 (3b, 1x4), Syed Mohammed (not out) 6 (4b), S Arvind (not out) 1 (2b). Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-8) 11. Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 172.

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Agarwal), 2-34 (Gayle), 3-86 (Kohli), 4-113 (de Villiers), 5-130 (Tiwary), 6-158 (Vettori), 7-160 (Kaif), 8-164 (Mithun).

Bowling: Lonwabo Tsotsobe 3-0-31-1 (w-7), Juan Theron 3-0-29-4 (w-1), Wayne Parnell 4-0-32-1, Johan Botha 4-0-36-1, Nicky Boje 4-0-25-1, Jon-Jon Smuts 2-0-16-0.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 46/2; 10: 82/2; 15: 125/4; end of innings: 172/8 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play 1: 1-6 overs: 57/2.

WARRIORS:  Jon-Jon Smuts c Kohli b Arvind 12 (14b, 1x6), Ashwell Prince c Nannes b Mithun 74 (55b, 6x4, 3x6), Colin Ingram c Mithun b Vettori 15 (8b, 1x4, 1x6), Mark Boucher lbw Mohammed 1 (3b), Justin Kreusch c Arvind b Vettori 6 (10b), Johan Botha c Kohli b Arvind 42 (24b, 2x4, 3x6), Craig Thyssen c de Villiers b Mithun 4 (2b, 1x4), Nicky Boje (not out) 7 (2b, 1x6), Wayne Parnell (not out) 6 (2b, 1x4). Extras (LB-1, W-5) 6. Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 173.

Fall of wickets: 1-38 (Smuts), 2-57 (Ingram), 3-59 (Boucher), 4-82 (Kreusch), 5-155 (Prince), 6-160 (Thyssen), 7-166 (Botha).
Bowling: Chris Gayle 4-0-43-0 (w-4), S Arvind 4-0-32-2, Dirk Nannes 4-0-31-0 (w-1), Daniel Vettori 4-0-26-2, Syed Mohammed 2-0-15-0, Abhimanyu Mithun 2-0-25-2.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 38/1; 10: 64/3; 15: 122/4; end of innings: 173/7 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 49/1. 

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