Battle royal on cards

Bangalore: Just who will reap the rich harvest for the all the hard labour put in, will be unravelled tomorrow when a charged-up Royal Challengers Bangalore take on New South Wales Blues in the first semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20 here at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.

The Royal Challengers are on a high after sensational back-to-back victories. They showed how competitive they can be to distance themselves from their rivals.

After a stunning last-ball win over South Australia Redbacks last night, RCB will run into another strong Australian opponents and Group A toppers New South Wales in what could turn out to be a cracker of a contest.

Having languished at the bottom of the table till the fag end of the league, Daniel Vettori`s men transformed themselves from a beleaguered outfit to fierce fighters, posting tournament high totals in successive matches.

They set Somerset a highest target of 206 and then rewrote their own record yesterday, chasing a tournament-high 215 against the Redbacks.

RCB`s batting will revolve around Chris Gayle. The Jamaican has been amongst the runs, providing breezy starts. He took Bangalore by storm with a 46-ball 86 against Somerset and another powerful show by him can carry RCB into the final.

Asserting Gayle`s importance in the side, Virat Kohli said, "Gayle is a wonderful impact player for us. I always have believed since IPL that if he doesn`t get the runs we would struggle. If he doesn`t fire, I have to step up and Tillakaratne Dilshan has to take the mantle."

RCB`s Sri Lankan import, Dilshan sizzled against the Redbacks, silencing his critics with a well crafted 47-ball 76 that helped RCB pull off a stunning win.

Kohli, who has turned out to be Mr Dependable for RCB, will be keen to continue with his run-scoring spree. Further down, RCB can rely on Mayank Agarwal, Saurabh Tiwary, Daniel Vettori and wicketkeeper-batsman KB Arun Karthik, who sealed the last-four berth with a towering last-ball six.