Kohli, De Villiers Fifties, Pick Up The First Points For The BCR > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Kohli, De Villiers fifties fetch first points for RCB
Royal Challengers Bangalore avoided the ignominy of being the first team to lose their first seven successive matches in the IPL as Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers orchestrated a successful run chase, nullifying Chris Gayle's 64-ball 99, that included 10 fours and five sixes.
Virat Kohli didn't seem to put a foot wrong. So, did RCB enjoy a good start?
Based on how the season had gone for them until today, RCB actually started on a positive note when Virat Kohli won just his second toss in seven fixtures and chose to bowl. But almost immediately, fortune turned its face away. In the opening over, Umesh Yadav got one to straighten after pitching on a length to Gayle, and struck him on the knee roll. The bowler appealed, and as did few of the fielders but the straight umpire's denial didn't prompt the visitors to review it. Surprisingly so, as replays showed the ball would've struck the leg stump and sent Gayle packing for a four-ball duck.
KXIP hamstrung by an over-eager top-order
Gayle enjoyed a reprieve and even carted Mohammad Siraj all over the ground in a 24-run first over to steer KXIP to 60/0 in the Powerplay overs, but KXIP messed up when they had to consolidate. Each of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Sarfaraz Khan perished right after hitting a six. Agarwal got an absolute peach of a leg spinner from Chahal that squared him up and struck the stumps, but both Rahul and Sarfaraz trudged back after attempting successive big hits. This affected KXIP's momentum to an extent, as they went from 60/0 off 6 to 110/3 of 13.
Did Gayle slow down too?
He had to.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Moeen Ali tied him down expertly in that post-Powerplay phase. Chahal was particularly accurate with his strangling line and length - targetting on the leg side. Gayle saw reason to bide his time and not try to swing his way out of a lull, with an eye to secure a good finish against the fast bowlers.
Did that work?
He hit just 11 off 12 from Chahal and 6 off 9 from Moeen, but made up for it by going after the both Siraj and Umesh at the death. He hit 22 off the 35 that came in the last three overs, finishing agonisingly short of a century. KXIP, though, gave themselves a chance to resign RCB to a seventh straight loss as they posted 173/4 in 20 overs.
Was that on the cards at any stage?
Not at first.
Virat Kohli brought out his sublime timing against KXIP's lead pacer - a bowler who is a contender to share new-ball duties with Jasprit Bumrah for the RCB skipper's side in the World Cup. Parthiv Patel joined in the four-hitting binge, driving a full delivery straight back past Sam Curran and then pulling a short ball over the short fine leg fielder.
What did Ashwin do next?
He brought himself on...
...and struck straightaway. Parthiv Patel was onboard with Kohli's plan to milk the Powerplay overs, but that played into the wily spinner's hands as he sneakily shortened his length with every ball and eventually drew Parthiv to play a false shot. But that wicket brought AB de Villiers and Kohli together in the chase ...
Did they pace their partnership well?
Yes and No.
The post-Powerplay period put the brakes on the scoring, but there was also a bit of caution from the two batters as Ashwin threw his leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin at them - knowing fully well their recent susceptibility against the wrong 'un. They weren't troubled as such, but still largely played risk-free cricket against him.
At the halfway stage, RCB had 88 for 1 and needed 86 off the next 10, which seemed gettable.
What happened then?
There were three more big overs that seemed to quicken RCB's dash towards their first win, but Murugan and Shami cranked up the pressure suddenly. A four-run over from Murugan was followed by Shami's which saw Kohli attempt to break the shackles and end up hitting it to Murugan, fielding in a position that can best be described as the middle point of midwicket and deep midwicket.
Ravichandran Ashwin returned for his final over and turned the screws further with his fourth over, conceding just six and leaving RCB needing 38 off the last 18 balls. KXIP still had a way back, but their former player ended those hopes swiftly.
He went after Andrew Tye in the crucial 18th over. Tye gifted him freebies and Murugan dropped a sitter in the deep to see the pressure transfer back to the home side. The over fetched 18 runs, bring the equation down to just 20 off the last 12. In his quest to try and push the game to a nervy final over, Shami gave away just eight in the first five balls, but de Villiers ensured the scales tipped in RCB's favour by moving across and sweeping a low full for a six over fine leg.
Ashwin tried his luck with his part-time leggie Sarfaraz Khan to defend six off the last six balls, but that endeavour lasted just two deliveries.
What could KXIP have done better?
Fielding and a batting decision.
KXIP endured an off day on the field and also dropped a couple of catches to ease RCB's pathway.
There was also a batting decision that could've given them a few more runs at the death. When KXIP were 110 for 3 in 13 overs, the platform was perhaps perfect for a batter like Nicholas Pooran - with his T20 strike rate of 143 - to walk out and give the side a late lift. But the batting side trusted Mandeep Singh in that position, who finished with an undefeated 18 off 16 balls. In hindsight, a more aggressive hitter of the ball would've pushed KXIP to about 10-15 more runs, which could've swayed the result in their favour.
Where do they go next?
KXIP have a home game against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday before hitting the road for three successive games. RCB travel to Mumbai Indians for a game on Monday.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 173/4 (Chris Gayle 99*; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-33) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 174/2 in 19.2 overs (Virat Kohli 67, AB de Villiers 59*; Ravichandran Ashwin 1-30) by 8 wickets.
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