Duminy kick-starts Champions League

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The Independent Online

A thrilling innings from JP Duminy led Cape Cobras to a surprise five-wicket victory over the Bangalore Royal Challengers last night in the first match of the Champions League. Cricket's latest Twenty20 competition got off to the perfect start after a sparkling opening ceremony as the South African hit a blistering 99 from 52 balls to chase down the home side's 180-4.

Needing nine to win off the final over, Duminy smashed a six into the stands over wide long-on before taking a single to leave himself on 99. A four from Rory Kleinveldt sealed the victory with two balls to spare and left Duminy a run short of a much-deserved century.

The Royal Challengers, second in the 2009 Indian Premier League, got off to a slow start but Robin Uthappa, who hit 51 having been dropped on 18 by Charl Langeveldt (the Cobras fast bowler injuring himself in the process), and then the New Zealander Ross Taylor (53 not out) ensured they set their rivals a difficult target with the help of some risible fielding from Andrew Puttick's side. That task looked even more difficult when Cobras lost Herschelle Gibbs in the first over of their reply.

Duminy, however, was in no mood to throw in the towel, striking eight fours and five sixes as he drove his side towards their target. He was understandably delighted afterwards. "This was by far the best I've played in this format," he said.

"It just worked out in the end for us. The wicket was a little spongy, it took some time to settle in and we played their spinners well."

Anil Kumble, the Royal Challengers captain, was one of the spinners to suffer, going wicketless as he conceded 35 in his four overs. "Duminy batted brilliantly," he admitted. "I thought 180 was enough. It's a great start to the tournament, unfortunately we ended on the losing side."