Bangalore stun Chennai Super Kings

Johannesburg: Indian stalwart Rahul Dravid and two of the country's rising stars took the Royal Challengers Bangalore to victory in their Indian Premier League (IPL) semi-final against the Chennai Super Kings at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.

Bangalore will meet the Deccan Chargers in the final at the same ground on Sunday in a contest between the teams that filled the bottom two places on the table in the first IPL in 2008.

Dravid (44) and 19-year-old Manish Pandey (48) put on 72 for the third wicket to lay the foundation for Bangalore's six-wicket win, then Virat Kohli, 20, finished the match off by hitting 24 not out off 17 balls. As in the first semi-final, when Deccan beat the Delhi Daredevils Friday, the team finishing lower on the log won the knock-out match.

Chennai made a good start after being sent in, with Matthew Hayden, the tournament's leading scorer, and Parthiv Patel putting on 61 for the first wicket. But the innings lost momentum when Hayden lofted Vinay Kumar to deep mid-wicket off the last ball of the seventh over after making 26.

Patel followed two overs later when he was trapped leg before wicket by Jacques Kallis for 36. Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the left-handed Suresh Raina added 35 for the third wicket. Raina hit a four and six off successive balls against Vinay Kumar but the threatened acceleration was cut short in the next over when he top- edged a pull against Praveen Kumar and was caught by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher for 20.

Dhoni reached 28 without hitting a boundary before he hit Roelof van der Merwe high to long-on and fell to a well-judged catch by Vinay Kumar who managed to maintain his balance just inside the rope. With the pitch playing slower as the innings progressed even the normally free-scoring Albie Morkel could only manage an unbeaten 20 off 17 balls.

Bangalore started their innings aggressively, with Pandey hitting Morkel through the covers for two fours in the first over, with Kallis punching Manpreet Gony past point for two more boundaries in the next over before eding a drive to be caught behind.

Van der Merwe was sent in as a pinch hitter but after being dropped by Muttiah Muralatharan back-pedalling at mid-off against Morkel in the third over he was bowled next ball.

But Pandey continued to bat fluently and found ideal support from Dravid as the pair added 72 for the third wicket before Pandey missed a sweep against left-arm spinner Shadap Jakati in the 13th over. Dravid was fell leg before wicket to Muralitharan, who bowled superbly to take 1-15 in four overs, but Kohli and New Zealander Ross Taylor both hit sixes as Bangalore won with seven balls to spare.