A thrilling encounter to start the Champions League T20 with! A game that ebbed and flowed – as much as a T20 format would allow – and ensured that the sparse Bangalore crowd got its money’s worth at the M Chinnaswamy. Of course, what they would have not liked was that the end result went in favour of the Warriors, who beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by three wickets but more importantly off the last ball of the encounter.
Chasing 173 for the win, the batting of Ashwell Prince and Johan Botha, two unlikely batting heroes, had reduced the equation to seven required off the last over. However, Sreenath Aravind bowled three superb slower deliveries to fox Botha into scoring not a run and giving his wicket away. A single later, new man Wayne Parnell needed to score six off the last couple of balls, which he managed to do and win the side the game.
Earlier, the Bangalore score of 172/8 in their 20 overs was set up by the aggressive mindset of the middle-order. After Chris Gayle had blazed away to 14-ball 23 and then got out, each of the next four batsmen got starts, got to at least 25 but failed to cross 34. Fortunately for them, the strike-rates did not suffer too much and that meant that at no point did the Royal Challengers Bangalore look like getting out to a below-par score.
It was only this consistent chipping away of the wickets on a very flat track that allowed the Warriors to shackle them to less than 185. On a pitch which was as flat as a newly constructed highway, even that would have probably been chaseable. Juan Theron’s three-wicket penultimate over turned things around in favour of the Warriors – he ended with figures of 4/29 from three overs.
In reply, the Warriors began well but slowed down with the wickets of JJ Smuts, Colin Ingram, Mark Boucher and Justin Kreusch. Prince kept hitting the balls at the other end, but with barely any support, the Warriors were left to score 109 off the last 10 overs – a target bordering on the improbable.
It was here that Prince got an agreeable ally in Botha and the pair carried the visitors home with a 73-run stand that came in only six and a half overs. Later, Nicky Boje and Parnell ensured that the win was theirs and so were the two points for the victory. Bangalore next play Kolkata on September 29 while Warriors play South Australia.