Centurion: Manish Pandey's spectacular century helped Bangalore Royal Challengers to thrash Deccan Chargers by 12 runs and secure a spot in the semifinals of the Indian Premier League on Thursday at Centurion.
Pandey became the first Indian to score a century in the second season of the IPL with a brisk 117 from 73 balls as Bangalore posted 170 for four.
Deccan looked like easily catching Bangalore's impressive total, until opener Herschelle Gibbs fell for 60 at 116-4 in the 15th over, and the run rate proved to be beyond his teammates as Deccan fell short at 158-6.
The victory helped Bangalore to overtake Deccan to claim third in the league standings, setting up a semifinal against second-placed Chennai Super Kings on Saturday at Johannesburg.
Royal Challengers were in danger of falling to fifth position in IPL table, if they suffered a massive loss, which would have allowed Kings XI Punjab to sneak through to the knockout phase on net run-rate.
But 19-year-old Manish Pandey hit a superb century, paving the way to 170-4 after Bangalore won the toss and batted.
Deccan reached 158-6 off 20 overs in reply, falling short in their chase despite a valiant effort from Herschelle Gibbs, who returned to form by smashing 60 runs off 43 balls.
Deccan, who were in last in IPL's first season, were already assured of a place in the knockout stages, but dropped to fourth as Bangalore leapfrogged them.
Chargers will face top most team Delhi Daredevils in the first semi-final in Centurion Friday while Bangalore play second-placed Chennai Super Kings the following day in Johannesburg.
The final will be played in the middle of an extravagant gala event at the Wanderers Sunday.
Bangalore won the toss and chose to bat, getting off to a good start in what was a crucial encounter for them.
Roelof van der Merwe paired with Pandey in a 55-run stand for the second wicket after opener Jacques Kallis made a second-over exit.
Van der Merwe was stumped by Adam Gilchrist off Andrew Symonds in the tenth over, contributing 23 off 18 deliveries.
But Pandey, promoted up the order, batted through the innings, taking control as he smashed 114 runs from 73 balls with 10 fours and three sixes.
It was a remarkable effort from the little-known teenager, who took full advantage of being dropped on two by RP Singh to score only the second century of this Twenty20 extravaganza.
"It was a brilliant hundred, Manish got a few opportunities but didn't get to bat in the other games because he was batting lower down the order. So we just took a chance and sent him up the order and he came off really well." said Kumble
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