Pune comfortable winners over Gayle-less RCB

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Pune comfortable winners over Gayle-less RCB

Rising Pune Supergiant moved off the foot of the Indian Premier League table with a 27-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, who themselves slumped to the bottom after opting to drop the out-of-form Chris Gayle.

Pune snapped a three-match losing streak to move above their hosts, whose hangover from last year's final loss continues after a third defeat in a row.

It was the solid, if unspectacular, contribution of the visitors' top four - with a little help down the order from Manoj Tiwary (27) - that provided the basis for Pune's triumph.

Ajinkya Rahane (30), Rahul Tripathi (31), Steven Smith (27) and MS Dhoni (28) all played their part to help Pune post a modest, but evidently defendable 161-8.

Then it was over to the bowlers, who restricted RCB to 134-9, with danger men Virat Kohli (28) and AB de Villiers (29) halted in the midst of building potentially pivotal knocks.

Rahane and Tripathi were positive from the outset after Pune were put in to bat, the opening pair putting on 63 at a steady pace before Samuel Badree accounted for the former with a googly.

Tripathi followed in the next over, caught by Kohli off the bowling of Pawan Negi, but Smith and Dhoni kept the scoreboard ticking over, with Shane Watson (1-44) proving expensive during his four overs.

The fall of six wickets inside the final five overs would have given RCB cause for optimism, but their response with the bat soon wobbled.

Mandeep Singh went in the second over without scoring and when captain Kohli fell to the impressive Ben Stokes (3-18), the hosts were already up against it.

De Villiers' brisk innings was ended just past the halfway point, at a time when RCB were 70-3 and in desperate need of a catalyst - perhaps the sort Gayle might have provided, even accounting for his recent struggles.

What they got from thereon in was a slow and steady decline, with wickets falling at regular intervals as the tail failed to wag.