Robin Uthappa cracked a dazzling 38-ball 68 and starred in a 19-ball 52-run stand with Mark Boucher to power Royal Challengers Bangalore to a competitive 171 for five against Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League match here tonight.
RCB were struggling for runs at 119 for five in the 17th over before Uthhapa launched a brutal attack on Lakshmipathy Balaji to set the stands on fire with successive sixes.
The Karnataka batsman struck three fours and six sixes during his awe-inspiring effort at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. Put into bat, Royals had to struggle hard to keep the scoreboard ticking as pacers Morne Morkel, Sudeep Tyagi and Lakshmipathy Balaji used the pace and bounce in the wicket to straitjacket the RCB batsmen.
But it was Muttiah Muralitharan who strangled the RCB batting line up most in the middle overs with his off-spin as the Sri Lankan scalped three wickets -- Rahul Dravid (14), Manish Pandey (20) and Virat Kohli (24) -- for 25 runs. Frustrated at not being able to connect the ball with the meat of their bats, the RCB batsmen charged at Muralitharan only to lose wickets in a heap.
However, Uthappa, who was dropped twice -- first by Ravichandran Ashwin and then by Murali Vijay -- held the innings at one end and stepped the gas in the final overs to take Bangalore past the 150-mark and change the course of the match.
Royal Challengers Bangalore team
JH Kallis, MK Pandey, RV Uthappa, V Kohli, R Dravid, EJG Morgan, MV Boucher, P Kumar, A Kumble, DW Steyn, R Vinay Kumar
Chennai Super Kings team
PA Patel, ML Hayden, M Vijay, SK Raina, S Badrinath, GJ Bailey, JA Morkel, R Ashwin, L Balaji, M Muralitharan, S Tyagi