Powerful knocks by Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed led the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a four-wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL on Tuesday.
Chasing 170 for victory, Bangalore were in trouble at 87-5 when Karthik (44*) and Shahbaz Ahmed (45) put on an attacking partnership of 67 to achieve the target with five balls to spare in Mumbai.
The effort trumped Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 70 that steered the Royals to 169-3 and two wickets by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who rattled the Bangalore batting before the Karthik-Ahmed blitz.
Karthik, a wicketkeeper-batsman who has remained unbeaten in the three matches so far, took on Ravichandran Ashwin in a 21-run over and finished with seven fours and one six in his 23-ball blitz.
The left-handed Shahbaz was equally destructive as he took on the Royals bowlers including Trent Boult for a four and six before being bowled by the New Zealand left-arm quick.
Karthik stood firm with Harshal Patel, who hit the winning six to hand Rajasthan their first loss in three games.
The England batsman started cautiously on a slow pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium but finished with a flourish in his 47-ball knock to steer Rajasthan to 169-3.
Earlier Buttler, who made 100 in the team’s previous win over five-time champions the Mumbai Indians, and Shimron Hetmyer, who made 42 off 31 deliveries, boosted Bangalore’s total.
The right-left batting pair put on an unbeaten stand off 83 for the fourth wicket as they plundered 42 runs off the final two overs after being put in to bat first.
Buttler raised his fifty with a hit over the fence and smashed six sixes in his innings.
He also put on a key stand of 70 with Devdutt Padiakkal, who made 37.
In reply, skipper Faf du Plessis and Anuj Rawat started strongly with an opening stand of 55 before Chahal broke through to send back the veteran South African for 29.
Chahal then ran out Virat Kohli, for five, at the non-striker’s end and the upbeat bowler bowled David Willey on the next ball.
But Karthik and Shahbaz had other ideas as the pair gave Bangalore, who hunt for their maiden IPL title, their second successive win.
© Agence France-Presse