Virat Kohli did not hesitate to bowl first after winning the toss against Kings XI Punjab. After all, all the wins so far in IPL 2018 have come for teams chasing the total. In Bangalore, this is more likely with smaller boundaries and Royal Challengers Bangalore boasting with top four who can win any match single-handedly. Umesh Yadav with the ball and then AB de Villiers with the bat proved it right for captain Kohli as Bangalore picked up their first win of this season. Kings XI were handed their first defeat in two matches as RCB scampered home with four wickets in hand.
But it wasn’t that easy for RCB. In the chase of 155, they lost Brendon McCullum and Virat Kohli in the powerplay and then two quick wickets in the middle overs. But a 54-run stand between Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers, who scored a fifty, took the team towards the victory before Chris Woakes and Washington Sundar finished it off with three balls remaining.
After the game, Kings XI captain Ashwin admitted that they were “20 runs short” but he was proud of the way his team fought against a quality team. But in the end, that was the difference between the two teams.
Pacer Umesh had earlier rocked the Kings XI Punjab innings with a three-wicket burst in an over as Bangalore bowled out the visitors for 155. KXIP were reduced to 36 for 3 in the fourth over after Umesh dismissed Mayank Aggarwal (15), Aaron Finch (0) and Yuvraj Singh (4) in the space of six balls in his second over to leave the visiting side in trouble early in their innings.
KL Rahul had given them a top start again with his 47 off just 30 balls but no other batsmen could provide him support. Ashwin made 33 off 21 while Karun Nair made 29. They were 84 for 3 after 10 overs but then Rahul was dismissed and Kings XI could never recover.
Umesh’s pace partners Kulwant Khejroliya and Chris Woakes and off-spinner Washington Sundar then took over in the later part of the KXIP innings with two wicket apiece as the visiting side could not even complete their allotted 20-over quota as they were all out in 19.2 overs.
Bangalore lost McCullum off the second ball before Kohli came and hit some beautiful strokes. He was bowled through the gate by 17-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman, a sight he is unlikely to forget. But De Villiers struck a half century with a late flurry of sixes. Mandeep Singh contributed 22 down the order while Sundar hit the winning runs — four — as RCB reached 159 for 6 in 19.3 overs.
De Villiers came in and in company of compatriot de Kock steadied the RCB innings. The South African duo stitched 54 runs for the third wicket before KXIP Punjab captain Ashwin (2/30) took two wickets — that of de Kock and Sarfaraz Khan (0) — in successive deliveries to keep his side in the hunt for a victory.
The home side reached 109 for 4 at the end of 15 overs, needing 47 from the final five overs. But with de Villiers still there, the RCB had the batsman who can do the job. The 17th over bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman turned out to the game changer as de Villiers hit two consecutive sixes out of 19 runs from that over.
(With PTI Inputs)