Challengers pummel Kings XI

Uthappas cameo knock of 22 from just 8 balls sees RCB through

Challengers pummel Kings XI

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Kevin Pietersen exults after his team’s victory over Kings XI Punjab during an Indian Premier League-3 match in Mohali on Friday. PTI

Pietersen’s unbeaten 66 off 44 balls was the backbone of Bangalore’s tough chase of 182, and the win also ended their two-match losing streak, helping them to regain the second spot in the IPL III chart behind Mumbai Indians.

Bangalore now have 10 points from eight outings, closing in on a semifinal berth while the Punjab outfit slipped to their seventh defeat in eight matches, virtually ending their hopes of a last four berth.

Sheet anchor role

Pietersen, who was dropped thrice while on 36, 47 and 50, played the sheet anchor role to perfection and shared two vital partnerships with Virat Kohli (71 off 51 balls) for the third wicket and then for the fourth wicket with Robin Uthappa (40 off 15 balls) as RCB coasted home with five balls to spare.

However, the much-needed force to the innings was provided by Uthappa who played a stunning cameo of 22 off just eight balls and his assault of Australian pacer Brett Lee was simple breathtaking.

The match was in balance till the 16th over and RCB were pushed into a morass when Kohli was dismissed at that stage. But Uthappa hammered Lee for 25 runs in the 17th over, paceman’s third over, to completely change the course of the match.

Pietersen, who hit seven fours and one six to notch up his first IPL fifty, fetched the winning runs, a four off Irfan Pathan. Earlier, skipper Kumar Sangakkara made 27-ball 45 as the home side posted a challenging 181 for five after electing to bat. Sangakkara shared a 63-run alliance for the second wicket with Manvinder Bisla (28) after Shaun Marsh was dismissed cheaply, Rahul Dravid taking a sharp catch at slips of R Vinay Kumar.

Ravi Bopara and Yuvraj Singh hit some hefty blows to take Kings XI to a challenging total, but that proved not enough on the night.

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