Uthappa fires Bangalore to big win

BANGALORE: Royal Challengers Bangalore shrugged aside stains of batting rust thanks to Robin Uthappa’s unbeaten 68 and then backed it with a competent bowling effort to defeat Chennai Super Kings by 36 runs in a DLF Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Tuesday.

Chasing Bangalore’s 171-5, Chennai scored 135-7 in 20 overs. The visitor lost Parthiv Patel early on and a fast tempo remained elusive though Matthew Hayden (32) found relief with three fours in a Jacques Kallis over. Soon Bangalore tightened their grip as Rahul Dravid threw down the stumps and caught a diving Hayden unawares.

George Bailey then became one of Vinay Kumar’s four victims, the others being skipper Suresh Raina, S Badrinath (31) and Albie Morkel. Meanwhile, Kumble bowled accurately and with deception. His effort (1-15 off four overs), that also scalped Murali Vijay, shone in a mean bowling attack that guided the team to their fourth victory from five matches while Chennai slumped to their third defeat.

Earlier, Suresh Raina won the toss and elected to field while Bangalore found a welcome surge through Uthappa’s searing knock of 68 from 38 balls, which included six sixes and three fours after the top-order, which fired in the previous three games, slipped into mute-mode.

Uthappa struck three consecutive sixes off Balaji in the 19th over that went for 24 runs. Uthappa fully capitalised on his early reprieves on five and 25 while R Ashwin and Vijay were the guilty fielders. And the unbeaten 52-run sixth-wicket partnership that Uthappa scripted with Mark Boucher helped them finish with a fighting total.

In the beginning, opener Kallis was dismissed for the first time in the tournament. Kallis went walk-about for a flick and lost his middle stump to Balaji. Muttiah Muralitharan then stepped in and prised out three wickets as Dravid paid the price for trying to cut a delivery that was too close to his body while Manish Pandey and Virat Kohli perished while going for quick runs.

Morkel then slipped one through Eoin Morgan’s ambitious swipe before Uthappa changed the tale.