x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Bangalore through to IPL final thanks to Gayle

Chris Gayle's 89 pushed the Royal Challengers Bangalore into the IPL final and a third match with the Chennai Super Kings.

The final part of a six-day trilogy between the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore reaches its climax tonight, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) title at stake.

Bangalore swept aside the challenge of the Mumbai Indians last night by 43 runs to book their place in the final and a third match in a week with Chennai, with the match being played in Chennai.

Zaheer Khan, the Bangalore bowler, said: "We have one win, Chennai have won the other, tomorrow is the decider.

"We have been playing well throughout and deserve to be in the final. Once we lost against Chennai, we were pumped up to see them in the finals."

The two sides met last Sunday in their final group game, with Bangalore winning that clash by eight wickets.

But on Tuesday when they played in the first qualifying match for the final as the top two sides in the IPL group standings it was Chennai who had the last laugh as a Suresh Raina inspired the Super Kings as they chased down 175 to win.

Bangalore, though, took full advantage of their second opportunity to reach the final as Chris Gayle continued his superb form.

He bludgeoned 89 off 47 balls to get Bangalore off to a rapid start after they had been put into bat by Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai captain.

Gayle and Mayank Agarwal (41) got the innings off to a rapid start, scoring 27 off the first over and scoring 113 from 64 delivieres before Kieron Pollard dismissed Agarwal.

Gayle had looked as if he was on target for his third hundred of the tournament, but he chanced his arm once to many and was caught going for another six by James Franklin off Munaf Patel.

But the damage had already been done by then for Mumbai who never got going in their run chase.

Only Tendulkar (40) looked in good nick as Sreenath Aravind made in-roads at the other end for Bangalore, but when he was stumped by AB de Villiers going after Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad the game was all but up.

Daniel Vettori, the Bangalore captain, who took three for 19, was delighted with his bowlers.

"Our opening bowling was a big plus today, Aravind was able to take early wickets again, whatever Mumbai threw at us, we were able to counter with good bowling," he said.

Gayle, who has now scored 608 runs in the tournament, is hoping for the perfect end to the event for him and his teammates today.

"This is one of the most successful runs of my career, hope I can do it one more time tomorrow," he said. "The sweetest victory would be to beat the home team at home."

Vettori though believes his side face a tough task to take the title, adding: "Conditions are going to suit Chennai tomorrow, it will be a slow track."

A disappointed Tendulkar said: "I thought it was a good track, it was coming on nicely, but in the middle overs we got stuck. The middle order I felt could have been more consistent."

* Compiled by Graham Caygill with agencies