Durban:Ravi Bopara (84) led Kings XI Punjab to their first victory in the second edition of the Indian Premier League as they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by a handsome seven-wicket margin on Friday.
The England batsman batted with patience initially and and turned explosive after reaching his half-century.
Bopara shared two crucial partnerships - 52 for first wicket with Karan Goel and 66 for third wicket with Yuvraj Singh - to give Punjab a lease of life in the tournament.
Chasing 169 to win, Punjab overhauled the target with one over to spare with Yuvraj finishing it off with a six off Jacques Kallis.
Before coming to this clash, Punjab had lost both of their matches as bad weather dented their chances on both the occasions.
Earlier, Jacques Kallis rescued the Bangalore side with a splendid 62 to help them overcome a mini top-order collapse and post a competitive 168 for nine after sent in to bat.
Yusuf Abudulla was star performer for the Punjab side with his four-wicket haul while Irfan Pathan (3/35) took three wickets.
Bopara scored bulk of the runs by running hard between the wickets and it was only after the 15th over that he opened his arms and that too with great effect.
Adjudged Man-of the Match, Bopara hit four fours and five sixes in his 59-ball knock.
When Bopara departed Punjab needed just 11 runs off 11 balls and Yuvraj (unbeaten 30) finished the game for his side in style.
The Punjab chase began on a cautious note as Goel (19) and Bopara relied more on singles and double rather than going berserk as the ball came slow off the track.
The first six came only in the first ball of the seventh over when Bopara lofted Kallis over the mid-wicket which also brought up the fifty-run partnership.
However the pair frittered away the good start when Goel, who was dropped by Virat Kohli in the previous over, ran himself out.
They were comfortably placed at 52 for none at that stage and there was no need to take risk. Punjab could have been 59 for two had Rahul Dravid not dropped Kumar Sangakkara (26) off rival skipper Kevin Pietersen.
The Sri Lankan left-hander hit Pietsern for a four and six in the last over before the strategic break but failed cash in on the life he got as he perished while trying to hit one from Anil Kumble out of the park.
Punjab slowly moved towards the target and in the end registered a comfortable victory for them.
In the Bangalore innings, Kallis held one end together when wickets were tumbling from the other after Kevin Pietersen opted to bat.
Kallis revived Bangalore innings with his second IPL fifty, studded with five fours and two sixes, and found an able ally in Ross Taylor, who contributed valuable 35 runs.
The duo put up 61 for the fifth wicket after seamer Yusuf Abdulla's double strike in the sixth over had pegged them back.
Though wickets fell at regular intervals in Bangalore innings, runs never dried up as Kallis kept the scoreboard ticking with his brilliant innings.
Jesse Ryder with his 32-run cameo at the start was the other contributor for his side.
Pathan drew the first blood for Punjab as Robin Uthappa (0) chased a wide delivery and ended up edging that one to Yuvraj Singh at first slip.
Kallis, though was least perturbed with the blow and got off to mark with a six over the mid-wicket off Pathan.
Ryder, who had a disastrous start to the IPL after getting two ducks in as many mathces, finally got some runs flowing from his willow as he unleashed a flurry of boundaries in Ranadeb Bose's second over.
The Kiwi southpaw extracted 18 run off that over in which he hit him for four boundaries.
Yusuf Abdulla then dealt two big blows to the Bangalore side as he first castled Ryder and then deceived skipper Kevin Pietersen (0) with a slow ball, having him caught by Karan Goel at short cover.
Yuvraj and Piyush Chawla then bowled in tandem as they made Kallis and Rahul Dravid (10) work hard to get runs.
Immediately after the strategic time out, Dravid tried to break the shackles but failed to rescue his team this time.
The former India captain stepped out of his crease for a big shot off Chawla but hit the ball with the toe of his bat and VRV Singh took a brilliant running catch.
Kallis continued to score runs from one end, taking forward his side towards a fighting total.
Taylor, who has struggled to score runs, struck form at the right time for his side providing good support to Kallis.
He hit VRV Singh for two boundaries and then lofted Chawla for a massive six over the mid-wicket, setting the tome for an exciting finish for Bangalore.
In their bid to push the accelertor button, Bangalore lost wicket in a hurry in the end, yet, put up a decent total.