RCB beat Lions by 6 wickets, reach semifinals of CL

Johannesburg: Bangalore Royal Challengers` top-order fired in unison as they humbled the Lions by six wickets to reach the semifinals of the Champions League
Twenty20 tournament here on Wednesday.

In a virtual quarterfinal, Royals first restricted the Lions to 159 for six and then achieved the target with six balls to spare to become the first IPL team to reach the last four stage of the T20 tournament.

Openers Manish Pandey (44) and Rahul Dravid (33) set the tone for a successful runchase with the former India skipper turning out to be the main aggressor. Virat Kohli then hit a whirlwind 29-ball 49 in pressure cooker situation to see the team through.

Earlier, Alviro Petersen smashed a 29-ball 45 while Robert Frylinck provided the late charge to help Lions post a competitive 159 after they decided to bat first.

Pandey started the proceedings for RCB, hitting Deacon for the first boundary. Soon Dravid got into the act and blasted consecutive boundaries off O`Reilly in the second

O`Reilly was treated with equal disdain in the next over by Dravid, who slashed him across the point boundary, before sending Frylinck on a leather hunt past mid-on.

Pandey then smashed O`Reilly through the covers to pick up another four, while Dravid sent Richard Cameron across the deep backward point boundary.

Looking for a boundary on the off-side in the eighth over off Aaron Phangiso, Dravid saw his stumps crashed as RCB lost their first wicket with 53 on the board.

Pandey then took the responsibility and picked up a boundary off Cameron, before smashing Phangiso for a four and a six in the 10th over.

The Karnataka batsman smashed Frylinck for another boundary at square leg but holed out to O`Reilly at long-off in the 12th over off Cameron as RCB slumped to 85 for two in 11.3 overs.

Out-of-form Ross Taylor (5) was the next to go. Trying to hit a Deacon delivery, he failed to clear the inside circle and was caught by Petersen.

Robin Uthappa (7) also got out cheaply while trying to steal a run as Lions clawed back into the game, reducing RCB to 112 for four in 15 overs.

Needing 48 off 30 balls, Kohli flicked O`Reilly for a six at deep square leg, before lofting one over the bowler`s head for another six and then smashed a four through cover to bring RCB back in the contest.

Cameron White then put one across the square boundary, before Kohli flicked a de Bruyn ball for another four.

White then whacked one over mid-wicket to level the score and then picked up a single to bring up the winning run for the Royal Challengers.

Earlier, skipper Petersen clubbed three fours and two sixes and added 44 runs in 26 balls with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (24) for the third wicket.

Neil McKenzie (39) also played his part in the middle order but it was Frylinck`s 22 runs in nine balls which took Lions across the 150-mark at the New Wanderers here.

Frylinck hit one boundary and two sixes in his cameo, adding 19 runs in seven deliveries with Thami Tsolekile (5) in the slog overs.

Petersen gave Lions a flying start as he blasted Kumar to square-leg, before smashing him for a four and a six in the next over.

Vandiar also played a wristy shot to bring up a four but Vinay Kumar struck twice in two balls to reduce Lions to 29 for two in 3.3 overs.

Vinay first got rid of Vandiar. Looking for a pull, the batsman ended up giving an easy catch to wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa.

The Karnataka bowler then induced an outside edge from Richard Cameron (0) as Uthappa collected another easy catch.

Petersen and Van Jaarsveld then got together and shared 27 runs between them for the fourth wicket, which was studded with four boundaries and two sixes.

Van Jaarsveld picked up successive fours in the fifth over when he blazed one along the carpet across the mid-off boundary and then clipped one behind square.

In the next over, Vinay was picked for a special treatment as both Petersen and Van Jaarsveld blasted him for sixes.

Petersen pulled one over the square leg boundary, while Van Jaarsveld heaved another over wide long-on boundary. The duo also cracked boundaries off Dale Steyn in the eighth over.

Finally, a confusion while running brought the curtains down on Van Jaarsveld`s innings as Lions slipped to 73 for three in 7.5 overs.

McKenzie, then slashed Du Preez for a boundary, before lofting him over wide mid-on to bring another four for the Lions.

Petersen and Mckenzie brought up the 100 in the 13th over before the Lions skipper was cleaned up by his counterpart Anil Kumble.

McKenzie and Zander de Bruyn tried to keep the scoreboard ticking but runs were hard to come by. De Bruyn was dismissed by Du Preez in the 18th over, which brought Frylinck at the crease.

McKenzie also perished in pursuit of a quick run but Frylinck stood tall and used his long handle to perfection to help Lions cross the 150-mark.