RCB in semis pipping Redbacks in last-ball finish
Bangalore: Young KB Arun Karthik turned out to be an unlikely hero hitting a stunning six off the last delivery of the match to power Royal Challengers Bangalore to the semi-final of the Champions League Twenty20 beating South Australia Redbacks by two wickets.
RCB thus join Mumbai Indians, New South Wales Blues and Somerset in the last four. The Redbacks had scored a commanding 214 for two in 20 overs which the RCB chased down with two wickets in hand.
With six needed of the last delivery, Daniel Christian bowled a slower one just outside the off-stump and Karthik who plays Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu waited for the delivery and swung it over mid-wicket as Redbacks players looked stunned.
Not everyday that a team that has a batsman who scored century (Daniel Harris) and a bowler who has taken five -wicket haul (Shaun Tait) end up on the losing side.
A swashbuckling century by Daniel Harris and a smashing 70 from Callum Ferguson powered South Australia Redbacks to 214 for two in 20 overs.
It looked an imposing total but RCB gave a fitting reply courtesy Tillekaratne Dilshan (74, 47 balls) and Virat Kohli (70, 36 balls) who added 100 runs in 8.5 overs before Tait came back to bowl an inspiring second spell.
In the penultimate over of the match, he swung it in Redbacks` favour taking three wickets to end with a spectacular figures of five for 31 in a match dominated by willow.
However the match hung in balance with seven required of the last two balls. Sreenath Aravind got one off the second last ball before Karthik got into the act.
The seeds of victory were however sown by Kohli and Dilshan, expecially the former who played one of his best T20 knocks. He hit four boundaries and six sixes, most were proper cricketing shot. Dilshan as usual hit a few lusty blows mixed with cheeky shots in between.
Earlier, electing to bat, the Australian outfit made a mockery of the hapless RCB bowlers to post the highest total in the tournament. The Redbacks have four points and need a victory to take the top slot.
The last six overs produced 92 runs with Sreenath Aravind being hit for 69 runs in his four over spell. The manner in which the left-arm seamer was hit all over the park may seriously dent his chances of making it to the playing XI against England.
For the Australian side, the "Doctor was on call" as Harris (a qualified medical practitioner) was the star of the innings.
The right hander took charge from the word go with his audacious strokes that stunned the RCB bowlers. His magnificent innings was laced with 17 hits to the fence and two sixes one of which was the one which helped him reach his maiden T20 ton.
Ferguson was equally brilliant at the other end, scoring a 43-ball 70, studded with four boundaries and three sixes.
After losing skipper Michael Klinger (7), Harris joined hands with Ferguson as the second wicket pair stitched a belligerent century partnership of 114 runs coming off only 75 balls.
Harris showed no respect to RCB`s left arm seamer Dirk Nannes, hitting him for four consecutive boundaries taking 18 runs in the process. He was particularly severe on Arvind, creaming 28 runs in two overs.
For RCB, Syed Mohammad and Rajoo Bhatkal claimed a wicket apiece.