Royal Challengers Bangalore have made it through to the 2016 IPL final on Sunday after defeating the Gujarat Lions by four wickets at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore in Qualifier one.
The Lions were put into bat by Virat Kohli and started poorly as they were reduced to nine for three but a fantastic innings of 73 from Dwayne Smith saw the Lions somehow get up to 158 from their 20 overs.
In reply, the Royal Challengers were reduced to 31 for five in their powerplay but once again Ab de Villiers, who finished 79 not out, stepped up at the crucial moment and put on an unbeaten 91 partnership with Iqbal Abdulla who made 31 not out, saw their side through to the final with 10 balls remaining.
Royal Challengers won the toss and chose to field first
At the toss, Royal Challengers captain Kohli won it and chose to field first, something he always wants to do knowing how well his side chases at their home ground in Bangalore and also so they know what they need to chase to make it to the final.
The Lions lost three early wickets
The Lions got off to a terrible start in their first six overs being reduced to nine for three in the fourth over before getting to 23 for three at the end of their power play.
The three wickets to fall were Brendon McCullum for one from four balls, Aaron Finch for four from six balls and Suresh Raina for one from nine balls. Abdulla got the wickets of McCullum and Finch while Shane Watson got the wicket of Raina to really put their team on top.
Smith top-scored with 73 to get the Lions up to 158
The rebuild of the innings though began with Dinesh Karthik and Smith coming together for the fourth wicket. The pair put on 85 before Karthik was out for 28 from 30 balls of the bowling of Chris Jordan.
Smith passed fifty during the partnership as he held the key to the Lions posting a decent total. Ravindra Jadeja joined Smith at the crease at the fall of the Karthik wicket but he didn't last very long as he only made three from seven balls as Watson took his wicket.
Unfortunately for the Lions, not long after the Jadeja wicket, Smith's innings was ended in the seventeenth over as Yuzvendra Chahal got him out for 73 from 41 balls.
Late hitting from Eklavya Dwivedi who made a quick fire 19 from nine balls and Dhawal Kulkarni who made 10 from four balls got their side up to a respectable score of 158 all out. Watson finished the innings with four wickets for 29 runs from his four overs as the Royal Challengers bowled really well.
Royal Challengers lost five early wickets
In Reply, the Royal Challengers got off to the worst possible start after being reduced to 31 for five after six overs.
The wickets to fall were captain Kohli for a duck from two balls, Chris Gayle for nine from 12 balls, Lokesh Rahul for a first ball duck, Watson for one from six balls and Sachin Baby for a duck from three balls.
Kulkarni was on fire for the Lions taking four of the five wickets while Jadeja got the other as the Lions fought back well. The fall of the fifth wicket brought Stuart Binny to the crease to join De Villiers.
Binny and De Villiers started to counterattack against the Lions and we're doing it well until Binny fell for 21 from 15 balls LBW to Jadeja to leave the score on 68 for six in the tenth over.
De Villiers and Abdulla hit an unbeaten partnership of 91 to see Bangalore through to the final
De Villiers was still there though and alongside Abdulla who came in at the fall of the Binny wicket the pair saw their side home with a brilliant partnership of 91 which was unbroken. De Villiers was the main man once again for his side finishing 79 not out while Abdulla scored his highest score in T20 cricket of 31 as they got their team over the line with 10 balls remaining.
The Lions even though they were defeated will get a second chance on Friday when they play the winner of the game between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knight Riders who play on Wednesday in the second qualifier.