Off the mark
Finally, Royal Challengers Bangalore are on the board. Nerves jangled a bit at the end. But Virat Kohli and company managed to get over the line. A dropped catch at the death proved costly for Kings XI Punjab, but RCB’s eight-wicket victory at Mohali on Saturday was well-deserved.
It would have been a choke had they failed to pull it off even after an 85-run second wicket partnership between Kohli and AB de Villiers. The victory target, 174, wasn’t imposing either. The skipper departed after making 67 off 53 balls. AB stayed there till the end, scoring 59 not out off 38 deliveries and winning the Man of the Match award.
Kohli and de Villiers batting together is one of the privileges that the IPL offers. Both paced their innings well. The shot of the match came, when Kohli played ‘outside-in’ to an M Ashwin leg-break, sending the delivery from outside off to the mid-wicket boundary with a flick of the wrist. It was the night’s wow moment.
The RCB skipper, however, uncharacteristically pulled a short ball from Mohammed Shami straight to M Ashwin at deep mid-wicket to get out. His team still needed 46 runs from 26 balls to secure their maiden win of this edition of the tournament. When the 18th over started, the equation came down to 38 runs off 18 deliveries, but Kings XI Punjab were still in the game. Marcus Stoinis took back-to-back fours against Andrew Tye. Then, he swung across the line and presented a skier to M Ashwin at deep mid-wicket. The fielder dropped the sitter. To make matters worse, de Villiers hit a six a ball later to bring things under complete control. Kings XI’s catching and ground fielding weren’t up to the scratch.
Chahal does a Warne
Yuzvendra Chahal conceded a six to KL Rahul but he took the opener’s wicket on the very next ball. And when the leggie was gorgeously driven over extra cover for a maximum by Mayank Agarwal, he responded with a Shane Warne-like delivery.
Chahal found the loop and made the ball to dip, which squared up Agarwal. The batsman was clueless, as the ball spun enough to hit the off stump. It wasn’t quite the ‘Gatting ball’, but the drift and the way Chahal set up Agarwal was a throwback to Warne.
Chahal finished with 2/33 from four overs. Ali was even more miserly – 1/19 from four. The off-spinner, with 17 overs from seven matches so far has been under-bowled by Royal Challengers.
Chris Gayle anchored Kings XI’s innings, but he had a lucky escape in the very first over of the match. A Yadav inswinger hit him on the front leg but the umpire negated the leg-before appeal. Royal Challengers didn’t review and replays showed Gayle would have been out had they done so.
Gayle helped Kings XI survive a shaky start and stayed till the end, finishing on 99 not out off 64 balls.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 174/2 in19.2 overs (Kohli 67 off 53b, 8×4, AB de Villiers 59* off 38b, 5×4, 2×6) beat Kings XI Punjab 173/4 (Gayle 99* off 64b, 10×4, 5×6; Chahal 2/33) by 8 wickets