Pretoria:Young Manish Pandey notched up his maiden Indian Premier League century as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Deccan Chargers by 12 runs in a high-scoring match here on Thursday to set up a semi-final clash against Chennai Super Kings.
Opting to bat, Royal Challengers Bangalore rode on Pandey's blistering 73-ball 114 to post a competitive 170 for four before restricting Deccan Chargers to 158 for six in their alloted 20 overs.
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By virtue of this victory, the Royal Challengers have moved to the third spot in the table with 16 points and will take on second-placed Chennai Super Kings in the second semifinal on Saturday, while Deccan Chargers will be up against mighty Delhi Daredevils in the first last four match on Friday.
Chasing 171 for victory, Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs got Deccan Chargers off to a rollicking start scoring 64 runs in the first six overs.
Both the openers were in a murderous mood, especially Gibbs as he dispatched Praveen Kumar for back-to-back sixes and a four to score 22 runs of the fifth over.
Fellow country-mate Roelof van ver Merwe too came in the Gibbs' firing line as he hit the left-arm spinner for two sixes -- first over midwicket and then over long off in the next over.
But a clever bowling change from skipper Anil Kumble (2/23) in the seventh over, bringing in Balachandra Akhil (2/18) did the trick, with Gilchrist (15 off 18) top edging a mistime pull to give a simple catch to van der Merwe.
It could have been twin blow for Deccan, but thanks to butter-fingered Robin Uthappa Gibbs registered his 50 in 32 balls.
Uthappa dropped a sitter at long off when Gibbs was on 49 of Akhil's opening over.
But Akhil eventually got his man in the 15th over with Deccan needing 55 of 36 deliveries. Gibbs mistimed a shot going for an expensive pool, only to find a running Pandey at the deep square boundary who took a beautiful catch.
Van der Merwe then added further misery for the batting side when he cleaned up Andrew Symonds to reduce Deccan to 120 for four.
Needing 33 of the last two overs, Kumble drived the final nail in Deccan's coffin, picking up dangerman Rohit Sharma (12 off 12) caught at the deep by Kohli in search of quick runs.
With Deccan requiring 26 off the last over, Azhar Bilakhia and Ryan Harris could only manage 14, thus falling short by 12 runs.
Inspite of the defeat Deccan Chargers progressed to the semifinal stage, courtesy a better net run rate than Kings XI Punjab, who are locked with the Hyderabad outfit 1t 14 points from as many outings.
Earlier, Pandey proved the saying 'fortune favours the brave' right as he latched on with both hands to the life provided by RP Singh when he was on 2 and struck 10 fours and four sixes en route his blistering 73-ball 114-run innings.
The 19-year-old stitched a crucial 55-run partnership with van der Merwe (23 off 18) for the first wicket to set the platform for the big score after Kumble won the toss and elected to bat.
However, opting to bat Royal Challengers were dealt with an early blow when their last match hero Jacques Kaliis gave a simple catch to T Suman at square leg of the bowling off tournament's highest wicket-taker RP Singh in the innings second over.
The Bangalore side could have been in further trouble in the very next over had RP Singh not dropped Pandey off Harris at third man.
Van der Merwe added salt to RP Singh's wound when he struck the left-arm pacer for two consecutive boundaries to take 10 runs of the fourth over.
The South African was not there to stick around and meant business from the word go. He welcomed Pragyan Ojha (2/32) with a boundary and then a lofty hit over midwicket fence to pick up 12 runs of the left-arm spinners opening over.
But the dangerous looking 55-run stand finally came to an end when van der Merwe was stumped by Gilchrist off Symonds with the Bangalore scoreboard reading 64/2 at the halfway mark.
However, Pandey was not to be bogged down by the fall of wickets as the Karnataka lad managed 18 runs off Suman's first over, cloberring him for back-to-back sixes just after the strategy break to bring up his maiden IPL 50.
From there on Pandey grew from strength to strength and dispatched Deccan bowlers to all parts of the ground without much trouble.
Although, Dravid feel cheaply to Ojha in search of quick runs, Pandey ensured that Bangalore end up with a huge score.
He showed no mercy to Deccan bowlers and struck fours and sixes at will to help Bangalore pick up 106 runs in the last 10 overs.
Pandey and Virat Kohli finished off Bangalore innings in style, clobbering RP Singh for three huge sixes to score massive 23 runs of the last over.