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J P Duminy’s brilliance dump Royal Challengers in CLT20 opener

J P Duminy dazzled with the bat with a blistering unbeaten 99 to guide Cape Cobras to a five-wicket victory Royal Challengers Bangalore in the high-scoring opening Group C match of the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 tournament on Thursday.

Not a single Bangalore bowler was saved from Duminy’s pyrotechnics as the left-hander struck eight fours and five sixes in his scintillating 52-ball knock to power the South African side home with two balls to spare.

Apart from Duminy, Henry Davids (27 off 21) and Ryan Canning (20 off 18) were the other notable scorers for Cobras.

Praveen Kumar was the pick of the bowlers for Bangalore, picking up three wickets for 32 runs.

Earlier, Robin Uthappa made a brisk 51 off 39 balls while Taylor scored an unbeaten 53 off 24 deliveries to help Royal Challengers post a formidable 180 on the board.

Cobras’ run chase got off to horrendous start as Praveen Kumar found the outside edge of Herschelle Gibbs’ (0) bat in the last ball of the opening over.

Skipper Andrew Puttick became Praveen’s next casualty as he found a thick edge and Virat Kohli did the rest.

Then Davids (27 off 21) and JP Duminy stabilised the Protea side innings with a 48-run third wicket stand before Davids fell prey to first change R Vinay Kumar, caught by Kohli just after hitting the bowler for back-to-back fours.

But Duminy used his experience to great effect and played sensibly with fours and sixes when required to keep alive the Cobras’ chase.

Needing 53 off the last five, Ryan Canning stepped up the gear, cutting Kohli for four and then Duminy finished off the over with another boundary in the last ball.

Duminy then clobbered his South Africa team-mate Roelef van der Merwe over the long on boundary to reduce the margin to 32 runs off 20 balls.

To the disappointment of Bangalore fans, skipper Anil Kumble dropped Duminy at 74 off his own bowling and the left-hander then added salt to the former India captain’s wound by hitting his next ball over the mid-wicket boundary.

Duminy hammered the final nail in Royal Challengers coffin when he hit two consecutive fours off Praveen with Cobras needing 17 off nine deliveries.

The 25-year-old middle-order batsman, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, then finished off the proceedings, slamming R Vinay Kumar over wide long-on.

Earlier, electing to bat the Challengers had a cautious start to their innings and it took a smart shot from Jacques Kallis to bring the first boundary in the second over.

However, Kallis (8) couldn’t stay long and perished in the next over after he edged Charl Langeveldt to Ryan Canning as Challengers reduced to 14 for one in three overs.

Rahul Dravid and Uthappa rode on luck to pick up 50 runs off 37 balls as the Challengers crossed the fifty mark in 7.5 overs.

Uthappa, who was dropped once at 18, made the most out of the opportunity and sent the bowlers for a leather hunt.

Claude Henderson was introduced into the attack in the 10th over and Uthappa gretted him with two boundaries.

The right-hander was at his ominous best as he dispatched Monde Zondeki for two sixes in the next over before Herschelle Gibbs had to pull out a blinder at point to remove Uthappa. He struck seven fours and two sixes in his blistering knock.

Experienced Dravid made 28 from 24 balls before he was run out.

Virat Kohli played a 14-ball 17 run innings before he was stumped by Canning off Henderson.

But Taylor had other plans as he hammered the Cobra bowlers to all parks of the ground and along with young Manish Pandey put on 65 runs for the fifth wicket in less than five overs to power Bangalore to the formidable score.

Taylor struck four boundaries and equal number of sixes in his breezy innings while Pandey was unbeaten on a run-a-ball 10.

For Cobras, Langeveldt, Zondeki and Henderson picked up a wicket each.

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