RCB hold on for narrow victory

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Dinesh Karthik nearly spoilt the party, but Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their cool and completed a nail-biting two-run victory over the Mumbai Indians on Thursday.

Dinesh Karthik nearly spoilt the party, but Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their cool and completed a nail-biting two-run victory over the Mumbai Indians on Thursday.

Skipper Ricky Ponting won the toss for Mumbai at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and decided to send the opposition in to bat – always a dangerous move against any side that features Chris Gayle in the batting line-up.

Gayle didn't disappoint, carrying his bat in a superb 58-ball innings that netted him the Man of the Match award and his team 92 runs as RCB finished with 156/5 off their 20 overs.

Gayle's opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan didn't last long, losing his offstump to Mitchell Johson in the third over for a duck while trying to whip it away to the on side.

Virat Kohli joined Gayle at the crease and provided most of the early fireworks, hitting a blistering 24 runs off 14 balls. He smacked Munaf Patel for a six and hit three consecutive fours off Jasprit Bumrah in the following over.

Bumrah had the last laugh, though, trapping Kohli in the front during the same over, and he would pick up another a few minutes later when Mayank Agarwal mishit an attempted elevated shot on the offside, offering Sachin Tendulkar an easy catch at mid-off.

Agarwal departed for just 1, bringing Daniel Christian to the crease and the Australian wisely offered Gayle as much of the strike as possible.

Gayle was starting to find his feet, and it was his heroics that would carry the rest of the Mumbai innings. Bumrah, Jacob Oram and Harbejhan Singh were all on the receiving end of a trademark Gayle knock that featured fours and sixes at regular intervals.

It would carry on until the last two balls of the innings, delivered by Patel and going for four and six apiece off Gayle's bat. Arun Karthik also contributed a valuable 19 runs off 19 balls at the death to help lift Mumbai to 156/5.

With the formidable duo of Tendulkar and Ponting marching to the crease, Mumbai set about their run chase very steadily at the start.

Tendulkar would be the first to depart after working a ball to fine-leg and setting off for a run only for Ponting to send him back. An accurate throw to the keeper's end did the business and Tendulkar had to depart for 23 off 19 at a stage when he was just starting to really accelerate.

Ponting was stumped off Murali Karthik shortly after for 28 off 33, leaving Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma to rebuild the innings.

Sharma would be dismissed for 11, bowled by Vinay Kumar when he completely missed a straight one, leaving Mumbai on 91/3 off 14 overs and still needing a whopping 66 runs off the final 36 balls – but a scintillating innings by Dinesh Karthik nearly saw them achieve just that.

Karthik did most of his damage in the 17th over against Daniel Christian, belting him for three consecutive sixes and a four in an over that produced 24 runs.

Now needing 17 off the last 12 balls with seven wickets still in hand, Mumbai seemed on course for a victory that only moments ago appeared unlikely, but Jaydev Unadkat produced a solid penultimate over that went for only 7 before Vinay Kumar sealed the deal in the final six balls, taking the wickets of both Karthik and Rayudu and leaving Mumbai three runs short of the required total.

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