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Pandey powers RCB through

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CLASSY KNOCK: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Manish Pandey’s unbeaten century helped his team post a winnng total on Thursday.
CLASSY KNOCK: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Manish Pandey’s unbeaten century helped his team post a winnng total on Thursday.

Deccan Chargers takes on Delhi Daredevils in Friday’s semifinal

CENTURION: Manish Pandey on Thursday became the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. In so doing, he powered Royal Challengers Bangalore into the semifinals with a 12-run win over Deccan Chargers in the last league game, played at SuperSport Park.

Despite the defeat, Deccan Chargers also made the semifinals. Although tied on points (14) with Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers’ superior net run rate ensured the side finished fourth. Adam Gilchrist’s men will play Virender Sehwag’s Delhi Daredevils in the first semifinal on Friday. Bangalore will take on Chennai Super Kings in Saturday’s semifinal.

A brilliant innings

Pandey’s unbeaten 114 (73b, 10x4, 4x6) was a brilliant innings, made exceptional by the fact that he is only 19. It helped Bangalore score 170 for four in 20 overs. Although Herschelle Gibbs put on a magnificent display of ball-striking, hitting four sixes in his 60 and scaring Bangalore, Deccan Chargers fell short. For Bangalore, medium-pacer B. Akhil turned in an excellent performance, dismissing Gilchrist and Gibbs (caught by Pandey), and conceding only 18 runs in his four overs.

Roelof van der Merwe capped a commendable all-round performance (23 in 18 balls after being promoted to number three and two catches) when he bowled Andrew Symonds. Anil Kumble, who again led from the front, had Rohit Sharma caught at long on in the 19th over to settle the contest. He finished with figures of two for 23 from four overs. However, not everything went Bangalore’s way. Jacques Kallis left the field after slipping in his delivery stride, and didn’t return.

Let off

Earlier, Pandey, promoted to open Bangalore’s innings, batted skilfully and sensibly. He paced his innings adeptly, setting a platform and exploding after the strategic timeout. Pandey saw senior partner Kallis depart early.

He himself was dropped next over — R.P. Singh spilt the chance at third-man off Ryan Harris, with the batsman on two.

But Pandey let neither incident affect him. Indeed he neatly on-drove Harris for four the delivery after he was reprieved.

On 34 from 32 balls at the strategic timeout, Pandey switched gears after the interval.

He hit T. Suman for two sixes, meaty blows both, the second bringing up his half-century. Pandey had no trouble finding the boundary as he proceeded towards his century, the swipe to mid-wicket being the stroke he favoured most.

He also showed he could change his stroke late — after shaping to hit to leg a left-arm orthodox delivery from Pragyan Ojha, he struck it inside-out over cover at the last instant. On another occasion, he waited to hit Jaskaran Singh behind square on the off-side. For a slightly built lad, he packed quite a punch — despite tiring late in his innings, he cleared the boundary with ease.

He also dealt splendidly with R.P. Singh, the highest wicket-taker in this edition of the IPL. A straight hit for six off the left-armer stood out.

Virat Kohli helped Bangalore finish explosively, smashing 19 off nine balls, including two sixes in the 20th over, which went for 23. But undoubtedly the star of the innings was Pandey, who received a congratulatory handshake from Gilchrist and a standing ovation from his team-mates in the dugout as he walked back unconquered.

SCOREBOARD

 Royal Challengers Bangalore: J. Kallis c Suman b R.P. Singh 5 (7b), M. Pandey (not out) 114 (73b, 10x4, 4x6), R. van der Merwe st. Gilchrist b Symonds 23 (18b, 3x4, 1x6), R. Dravid c Gibbs b Ojha 6 (9b), R. Taylor c R.P. Singh b Ojha 1 (4b), V. Kohli (not out) 19 (9b, 2x6), Extras (lb-1, w-1): 2; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 170.

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-62, 3-107, 4-134.

Deccan Chargers bowling: Harris 4-0-25-0, R.P. Singh 4-0-47-1, Symonds 4-0-15-1, Jaskaran Singh 3-0-32-0, Ojha 4-0-32-2, Suman 1-0-18-0.

Deccan Chargers: A. Gilchrist c van der Merwe b Akhil 15 (18b, 2x4), H. Gibbs c Pandey b Akhil 60 (43b, 3x4, 4x6), T. Suman c van der Merwe b Kumble 12 (12b, 1x4), A. Symonds b van der Merwe 18 (15b, 1x4, 1x6), Rohit c Kohli b Kumble 12 (12b, 1x4), Venugopala Rao (run out) 8 (9b), A. Bilakhia (not out) 16 (8b, 2x4), R. Harris (not out) 4 (3b), Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-6): 13; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 158.

Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-91, 3-116, 4-119, 5-137, 6-138.

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Kumble 4-0-23-2, Kallis 1-0-8-0, Praveen 4-0-45-0, van der Merwe 4-0-32-1, Akhil 4-0-18-2, Kohli 3-0-25-0.

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