New South Wales: 203/2 in 20 overs (Warner 123*, Smith 62) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore: 204/4 in 18.3 overs (Gayle 91, Kohli 84*; Cummins 4/45).
No player had scored two consecutive centuries in T20 cricket. No team had ever chased 200 successfully in two consecutive games in the shortest format.
Both these records took a beating at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in the first semifinal of the Champions League T20 2011 as Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli’s blitzkrieg ensured that Dave Warner’s century went in vain as Royal Challengers Bangalore chased successfully chased down a 200 plus score for the second match in a row, this time more convincingly, with nine balls to spare.
Virat Kohli once again was the mastermind of the chase as he smashed 84 of 49 balls which included 10 hits to the fence and three over it. But the chase wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for a whirlwind of an innings at the top of the innings by Chris Gayle who plundered 92 runs of only 41 balls with eight huge sixes including one out of the ground.
The Royal Challengers, after chasing 214 here against the Redbacks, were confident of chasing any total at the small ground and this might have been the reason Vettori elected to bowl on winning the toss. Dilshan, then bowled what was eventually a match winning spell, with the new ball as he troubled the openers with his gentle off-breaks. He gave only 10 runs from his four overs without conceding a boundary in a match that yielded 34 of them and also got rid of the dangerous Watson.
But once his spell was over it was the Warner and Daniel Smith show, the latter scoring a splendid 62, even overshadowing Warner at certain times. But Warner had his place in the sun eventually as he scored he took 81 runs of his last 33 balls – switch hits, slog sweeps and hits over extra cover stealing the limelight. The duo put on 146 runs for the second wicket of 87 balls as New South Wales put on 202 with Warner making an unbeaten 123.
Chasing 200 in a pressure situation is never easy even on a small ground. But with someone like Chris Gayle in your lineup, any score is not big enough when he gets going and New South Wales found that out the hard way. The early loss of Dilshan didn’t seem to bother him much as he, in the company of Kohli took the bowlers to the cleaners. A stand of 141 in just 66 balls put RCB on their way to the final. There was a stutter though as young Patrick Cummins picked the wickets of Gayle, Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal in quick succession. But Virat Kohli showed why he was the only player to be retained by the Bangalore franchise as he remained unbeaten to ensure that the Royal Challengers crossed the finish line without any more hiccups.
The Royal Challengers were rooted to the bottom of Group B before the last group game but after two magnificent run chases, they look the favorites to win their first title on Sunday in Chennai where they would either meet Somerset or the more familiar neighbors Mumbai.