Stars of the show

VIRAT KOHLI

Virat Kohli picked up two Man of the match awards in two games, but there's no doubting which innings he will take greater pride in. Against South Australian Redbacks in the final group game, Kohli drilled the ball down long-on's throat with 50 runs needed off five overs, and RCB wobbled before winning only by virtue of a miraculous last-ball six.

If his potty-mouthed exultations had raised any questions over his maturity, Kohli emphatically answered them with his display in the semifinal. In pursuit of another high score RCB appeared on track for a while before lurching, again. Patrick Cummins removed Chris Gayle, Saurabh Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal in quick succession; New South Wales appeared to have thrust a foot in the door. With the team's last recognised batsman in Mohammed Kaif for company, Kohli decided it was best to play Cummins out. 30 runs were still needed off 28 balls, but the 22-year-old simply dead-batted for the remainder of the over. Kohli remained unbeaten on 84 and RCB eventually won with nine deliveries to spare.

“The other day, I was dropped off Shaun Tait but I got out in the same over,” Kohli said afterwards. “Today, I just decided to see their strike bowler out. No matter how well you have batted and how many runs you have scored, to be able to finish the game always brings the greatest satisfaction.”

Captain Daniel Vettori called Kohli's effort “one of the best innings” he'd ever seen. “It's not slogging; it's just good batting.”

DAVID WARNER

Batting in the nets at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium a day before NSW's semifinal, David Warner attempted a switch-hit off a young local bowler but the attempt rather tamely failed. The ball thudded into Warner's midriff; he giggled and tossed it back before returning to his regular stance. Only the previous evening, he had enjoyed success with the audacious shot, pounding Chennai Super Kings into submission. Warner had notched up the highest individual score in the Champions League T20, his 135 (69b, 11x4, 8x6) on a reputedly sluggish surface carrying NSW into the last four.

Captain Simon Katich said his team would have preferred to remain in Chennai, having played all its group games there, but Warner had little difficulty adapting to Bangalore. The following day, the 24-year-old became the first player to score back-to-back T20 hundreds, treating Nannes, Vettori, Arvind and Bhatkal with scarcely more respect than he had Bollinger, Ashwin, Bravo and Raina. He dumped the ball into the stands 11 times in his 68-ball 123, even sending one thudding into the roof. NSW may have lost, but Warner is unlikely to forget this tournament in a hurry.

CHRIS GAYLE

Chris Gayle and David Warner were seen affably chatting as their teams warmed up in the hours before the semifinal began. Warner asked to have a look at Gayle's bat, before exhaling in awe at its weight and performing a few mock bicep curls. The former stunned the Chinnaswamy Stadium into silence with his pyrotechnics soon after, but Gayle showed he could rouse them back into frenzy. If Warner could only strike the roof, Gayle proved he could whack the ball out of the ground. The Jamaican did not get a hundred though, falling on 92 (41b, 8x4, 8x6), but laid the foundation for RCB's win.

Gayle had endured a lukewarm beginning to the tournament but came to life against Somerset, scoring a 46-ball 86. Although RCB's subsequent win over South Australia proved it could sometimes cope in the event of his failure, there will be little anxiety about the result if he bats for a while.

Shreedutta Chidananda