Virat and Unadkat deal Delhi defeat
Kohli made a great start to the 2013 IPL, scoring 321 runs in his first 6 games at an average of 64.20 and strike rate of 140.17. At the halfway mark of their campaign, RCB had 6 wins, were on top of the table and their two losses had been extremely close affairs.
Before the game against Delhi, RCB had lost 3 of their next four games, including a stunning bowling surrender against Punjab. Kohli’s fortunes too had dipped and he had only made 84 in his last six games at an average of 14 with a strike rate of 100.
He got a life when on 0 tonight, caught behind off a no ball from Morne Morkel and again on 14, dropped by Virender Sehwag at midwicket off Siddharth Kaul. He made the reprieves count, smashing his highest score in T20 cricket, run out 1 short of his first T20 hundred in front of his home crowd and setting up a desperately needed away win for RCB.
RCB lost both Chris Gayle (4) and Cheteshwar Pujara (17) early after being put in to bat first by Delhi’s stand in skipper David Warner. Though he said it was because the pitch was slow and he expected it to ease up only later Warner possibly could still have had David Miller’s onslaught on his mind.
The track was not too hard to score on and Kohli began the initial rebuilding in a 57 run partnership with Moises Henriques (26 22b 3x4) who had been promoted to no. 4. The duo had began to hit their stride, taking the team to 74/2 after 10 overs when Delhi’s bowlers began to pull it back for them. Only 32 runs came in the next 6 overs, leaving RCB at a precarious 106/3 after 16 overs.
AB de Villiers began the acceleration with a scooped six over fine leg off Morkel in the 17th over. Kohli took over from there, bringing up his 50 off 44b soon before getting stuck into Umesh Yadav the next over. Siddharth Kaul managed a comparatively tight 19th over, conceding just 12 off it but Yadav was plundered for 23 runs in the last over.
RCB looted 77 runs off the last 4 overs to post 183/4, AB going from 7 off 8 to 32* (17b 2x4 2x6). Kohli was incredible in his acceleration, racing from 47 off 43b to an incredible 99 (58b 10x4 4x6) and run out 1 short of a well deserved hundred when trying to take a second run off the last ball of the innings.
Delhi lost both Mahela Jayawardene (17) and Virender Sehwag (18) by the end of their powerplay overs. Replacing RP Singh, Jaydev Unadkat had made a big mark with the wickets of the two. Henriques (1/21) then bowled Warner (4) with a beautiful delivery to reduce Delhi to 61/3 after 7 overs.
They would have been 4 down but the both AB de Villiers and the umpire failed to hear a huge edge from Unmukt Chand to AB in the previous over, Vinay’s passionate appeal going in vain.
Chand carried on, building a 58 run partnership for the 4th wicket with Ben Rohrer. It was a crucial stretch with Kartik Murali, Vinay Kumar and even Chris Gayle helping RCB pull things back. By the time Vinay got the breakthrough with the wicket of Rohrer (32 27b 4x4) in the 15th over, the asking rate was above 11.
Unadkat once again turned the game decisively for RCB, getting both Chand (41 35b 4x4 1x6) and Kedar Jadhav (8) in the 17th over to leave Delhi to get 51 off 18 balls.
Irfan Pathan (23* 11b 2x4 2x6) and Morne Morkel then took 32 runs off the next two overs, punishing Vinay (1/43) and Ravi Rampaul severely to reduce the equation to 19 off the last over.
Kohli had saved Unadkat just for this and he brought him back. He conceded two fours in the first three deliveries but sealed the game with the fifth ball, a yorker that took out Morkel’s (19 10b 3x4) leg stump. Delhi finished on 179/7 and RCB’s 4 wicket win kept them at no. 4th on the points table with 16 points.
Unadkat finished with 5/25, only the second five wicket haul in RCB’s history and it couldn’t have come at a better time, keeping RCB’s charge to the playoffs still alive.