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Monday, May 4, 2009

Kallis, Uthappa guide Bangalore to nine-wicket victory

Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Jacques Kallis plays a shot as Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper Pinah Shah looks on during the IPL Twenty20 match in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday. Photo: AP

Johannesburg (PTI): Jacques Kallis and Robin Uthappa both raced to breezy half-centuries and guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to a mammoth nine-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.

In reply to Mumbai Indians' 149 for four, Kallis (69 off 59 balls) and Uthappa (66 off 42) made the run chase look easy, reaching 150 for one with 11 balls to spare.

Kallis hit five fours and two sixes while Uthappa scored eight boundaries and two huge sixes in their unbroken 126-run partnership that gave Royal Challengers their third successive win in the tournament and helped them improve to fourth in the table with eight points from eight matches.

Kallis started it all, treating Lasith Malinga with disdain with back to back sixes in the Sri Lankan speedster's second and the innings' fourth over.

Thereafter, runs flowed in thick and fast and despite Wasim Jaffer departing early, Kallis and Uthappa ensured there would be no hiccups.

They also proved there were no demons in the wicket this after Mumbai Indians made heavy weather at the start of the innings with debutant Dillon Du Preez rocking the top-order with three quick wickets.

It was the twin half centuries from Dwayne Bravo and Sanath Jayasuriya that salvaged Mumbai Indians and helped them post 149.

West Indian all-rounder Bravo stole the thunder of debutant Dillon Du Preez's three-wicket burst with two crucial half-century partnerships that steered Mumbai Indians to a competitive total after they were struggling at 53 for three at the half-way mark.

Bravo (50 off 40 balls) first shared 60 runs for the fourth wicket with Jayasuriya (52 off 43) and then teamed up with Nayar to score a rapid 66 in the unbroken fifth-wicket to put Preez's brilliant opening spell into shade.

South African Preez (3/32) first picked up the wicket of the dangerous Sachin Tendulkar (11), who was looking to cut loose with a couple of sweetly timed boundaries.

The Mumbai Indians skipper, who won the toss and opted to bat, chased a widish delivery and found Rahul Dravid at slip.

Next ball up, Ajinkya Rahane guided Preez to Dravid and the 27-year-old South African was staring at a hattrick.

JP Duminy survived a leg before appeal but perished in Preez's very next over, the ball kissing the inside edge of the bat and Mark Boucher taking a low catch behind stumps.

While Preez was rocking Mumbai, Jacques Kallis and Praveen Kumar kept the opponents in shackles.

Jayasuriya took it upon himself to improve things. He hit Preez for a boundary and six off successive deliveries.

However, the 39-year-old fell trying to step on the gas.

He tried to hit RE van der Merwe's first ball over the ropes only to hole out to R Vinay Kumar at deep square leg.

His 43-ball 52 contained six boundaries and a six.

Nayar then stepped in and with Bravo put on 66 runs in 35 balls. West Indian Bravo's half-century was studded with one four and two sixes while Nayar hit four boundaries in his 29 that came off 20 balls.

Together, they helped Mumbai Indians score close to 100 runs in the last 10 overs.

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