The Kings March Past The Challengers To Record Another Win
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s big guns failed to fire as they lost to Kings XI Punjab by 32 runs at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
RCB captain Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to field against the league leaders Kings XI Punjab. The opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Mandeep Singh got Punjab off to a flying start, adding 60 runs in less than 6 overs. The RCB bowlers conceded way too many extras with Mitchell Starc being the main culprit. However, the Bangalore boys were back in business as they took two quick wickets in successive overs. First it was Mandeep, who didn’t quite time the ball and heaved it straight to Albie Morkel at mid on to hand Harshal Patel his third wicket of the tournament.
In the next over, Yuzvendra Chahal, a strong contender to win the Emerging Player of the Tournament award, was introduced to curb the attacking strength of Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell. Sehwag fell to a nicely flighted delivery as Kohli held on to the catch. Sehwag’s dismissal normally halts the run scoring for any team, however, the leading run scorer of the tournament, Maxwell was determined to continue in the same attacking vein.
Maxwell hit two huge sixes and a four in an expensive Yuvraj over. The Australian tried to do the same against Chahal but the wily leggie came out on top as Maxwell’s effort to clear the rope was thwarted by a fine catch at deep mid-wicket by Starc. In the next over, Miller sent Aaron to the cleaners with three boundaries in one over. KXIP raced to 107/3 in their first 10 overs. Things weren’t looking that great for RCB but Morkel found some solace for Kohli’s side as he forced Bailey, who survived a strong LBW shout earlier, to edge the ball to the RCB wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
The Miller show continued in full flow as the South African made merry, going after both Starc and Patel to race to a half century off just 23 balls. One of his 3 sixes, recorded at 102m, went out of the stadium! It took RCB’s speedster Varun Aaron to provide the breakthrough as Chahal held on to a catch to end Miller’s onslaught. Miller’s knock of 66 runs in just 29 balls was the highlight of KXIP’s innings.
Miller’s departure in the 17th over resulted in the runs drying out for KXIP in the death overs. Starc captured two wickets in the last over to restrict the batting side to 198/6. Chahal was the star bowler for RCB with 2 wickets for 23 runs, while Patel who also captured 2 wickets, gave away 56 runs in 3 overs at an expensive economy rate of 18.66.
Chasing 199 for victory, RCB got off to a disastrous start. RCB’s destructive force Chris Gayle looked out of sorts right from the beginning, one mistimed shot early on going to KXIP’s opening bowler Sandeep Sharma, who fumbled the catch. Sharma made amends in his next over, forcing Gayle to edge it straight to the wicketkeeper, Wriddhiman Saha. The young pacer struck gold yet again as he got captain Kohli out off the very next ball. Kohli edged it to the keeper and the umpire raised his finger without delay. However, the RCB batsman decided to stay put as there was initial doubt on whether the keeper held on to the ball cleanly. After a long wait, the third umpire ruled in the fielding side’s favour much to Kohli’s frustration.
At the end of 5 overs, RCB was restricted to 22/2. The chase was hardly underway, yet RCB’s batting order looked brittle. The next RCB batsman to head to the dugout was Parthiv Patel who lofted the ball straight to Mandeep Singh at the sweeper position as Sharma claimed his third wicket. Sachin Rana, brought into the side to replace Rilee Rossouw, provided some fireworks in the beginning, but even he failed to capitalize on his start and was out bowled to Akshar Patel. At the end of 8 overs, RCB was 40/4 with Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers both fresh at the crease.
Yuvraj failed to live up to his reputation as he edged one straight to Sehwag which gave Shivam Sharma his maiden IPL wicket. New batsman Albie Morkel had a lifeline initially as Miller miscued a catch and the ball went over the fence. Morkel made up his mind to go after Maxwell with another six off the very next ball. However, in the next over, Morkel miscued another shot, and this time he paid the price as Bailey managed to hold on to the catch and the young off-spinner claimed his second wicket. But the equation was getting out of hand even for de Villiers as RCB needed 114 runs with 4 wickets in hand and only 8 overs remaining.
The two spinners, Patel and Sharma, bowled well in tandem to restrict the run flow. de Villiers was the lone warrior for RCB as he accelerated with 3 sixes off the slower bowlers. Mitchell Starc began to hit a few boundaries to raise the hopes of the Bangalore fans. They needed a whopping 90 runs in the last 5 overs for victory.
In the next over, de Villiers decided to hit the pedal, sending Balaji’s beamer to the stands. The next ball saw yet another six and it brought de Villiers’ 50 in just 25 balls. But even RCB’s superman couldn’t save the day as de Villiers skied the next delivery and the fielder, Akshar Patel, made no mistake. De Villiers departed after compiling a heroic lone hand 53.
There were over 5 overs to go but the result was already certain. It was a tall order for RCB’s tailenders as the wickets began to tumble. In the final over, Balaji brought an end to Starc’s resistance thanks to a diving catch by Miller. RCB finished at 166/9. KXIP’s Sandeep Sharma took home the Man of the Match award as he finished with 3 wickets and conceded only 25 runs in his 4 overs.
Having lost 5 out of their 8 matches, RCB now have to get some back-to-back wins and hope that other results favour them if they are to make it to the playoffs.