Uthappa scored a half-century and Angelo Mathews smashed 19-ball 32 but a poor performance by the middle-order batsmen meant their efforts go in vain.
Pune Warriors didn’t make a great start to their chase of 188 as they lost skipper Aaron Finch in the third over. He hit a boundary in the second over and clobbered a six off Moises Henriques over mid-wicket in the third, but the bowler had the last laugh as he cleaned him up on the next ball.
T Suman and Uthappa joined forces after the early blow, but their stand didn’t last long as the former was run-out after a fine fielding effort by Bangalore veteran Muttiah Muralitharan.
Yuvraj Singh, the next man in, made his intentions clear as he lifted Henriques over mid-off for six on the second ball of the ninth over, and got the same result on the last ball over the fine-leg boundary.
But the star all-rounder failed to carry on the momentum, as on the first ball of the 11th over bowled by R Vinay Kumar, he gave a simple catch to AB de Villiers at long-on. The Warriors slipped further when their in-form batsman Steven Smith was caught behind by Arun Karthik on the last delivery of the over for four.
Despite the fall of wickets from the other end, Uthappa carried on with flair as he got his half-century in 34 balls with a six over the mid-wicket in the 15th over. In the 13th over bowled by Vinay Kumar, the right-handed opener moved across the wickets to lift the ball over the deep square leg boundary to show the rhythm he was in.
Angelo Mathews, who resigned from full-time captaincy for Pune before the game, found form with the bat as he belted two sixes off compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan in the 16th over to keep the Warriors in hunt. Murali’s third over of the game proved to be a good one for the hosts as 21 runs came off it, with Uthappa too hitting a six.
Vinay Kumar once again helped Bangalore claw their way back into the game when he had the dangerous Mathews caught by Chris Gayle at the backward point position on a full-toss. Mathews contributed 32 from 19 balls, including three sixes.
The required run-rate kept going up and the fall of wickets at regular intervals put tremendous pressure on Uthappa, who finally succumbed after an impressive knock of 75 off 45 balls. Uthappa fell in the 17th over off Murali Kartik, after clobbering five sixes and as many boundaries.
Abhishek Nayar’s failure to connect a full-toss off Kartik early in the same over probably summed up Pune’s disastrous campaign in the tournament, as he couldn’t put enough power in the shot and de Villiers took the catch at long-on.
Vinay was RCB’s most successful bowler, taking three wickets for 31 off his four overs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 187 for 3 in 20 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 52, AB de Villiers 50*; Ashok Dinda 2 for 52) beat Pune Warriors India 170 for 9 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 75, Angelo Mathews 32; R Vinay Kumar 3 for 31) by 17 runs.
(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)