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RCB make it three wins in a row

All over! RCB win by 17 runs

Ravichandran Ashwin began with a six first ball, but he hit the next one straight down Virat Kohli's throat. Hardus Viljoen fell first ball, caught behind by Parthiv Patel, and the remainder of the over was just formality.

Saini completes an absolutely incredible over

W 0 1 11 W

Oh the game swings again! Navdeep Saini gets a wicket! With 30 to get from 12, David Miller looked to hit down the ground but ended up hitting it flat and straight to AB de Villiers at long on. He gives nothing away to Mandeep Singh and Nicholas Pooran and ends the over with the West Indian's wicket.

Nicholas Pooran smashin' it

The fantasy geeks who pre-empted a busy and eventful season for Nicholas Pooran have finally got a moment to rejoice - he's going after the RCB spinners. He's whacked five sixes in his 22-ball 42 - three off those coming in a single over from Washington Sundar. He's batted so well that David Miller has become a silent spectator at the other end. RCB are once again heading towards a finish where their bowlers are going to let them down.

Moeen Ali strikes first ball!

For all the fuss about saving your left-handed spinner for left-handed batsmen. Moeen Ali comes on and gets a wicket on the first ball he bowls.... to a right-hander. And not just any right-hander - a well-set KL Rahul for a 27-ball 42.

WICKET - Stoinis ends Mayank-KL flourish

Mayank Agarwal has to go! He tried to pull a short one from the Aussie, but ended up hitting to Yuzvendra Chahal at mid-wicket. Mayank walks back for a 21-ball 35, giving RCB a breather from a fine partnership between him and KL Rahul - worth 59 runs 29 balls. KXIP though, already have half of RCB's total, and now need the promoted David Miller to accompany Rahul to the finish line.

KXIP - 68/1 in 6 overs

And the chasers are on par.. for now. RCB had 70 in the same period. RCB also had an incredible dip for the next eight overs, and then smashed everything in sight in the last three. KXIP will be better served to even things out - by not letting RCB spinners take control in the middle, which would inturn leave them in a situation where they won't have to hit 60-odd off the last three overs. That's perhaps what KXIP will aim for.

Live by the sword, die by it!

And out goes Chris Gayle after smoking a few big sixes. A 10-ball 23 for the big West Indian. Should he have played longer? Yes, sure. But has he given the sort of start from where KL Rahul can consolidate? Most definitely. RCB will be happy to have removed the one man in the top order capable of nullifying AB's manic hitting. A straightforward catch for AB after Gayle didn't time his big hit off Umesh.

RCB finish with 202/4!

AB de Villiers-fuelled mayhem in the end has given RCB far more than what they'd have expected to score after their collapse in the middle overs. As many as 64 runs were scored in the last 18 balls as Hardus Viljoen and Shami just couldn't get their lengths right. There was even one outrageous hard-to-explain in words hit - as AB took his eyes off what was a high full toss and somehow swatted it away one-handed, and landed it over the roof.

Yes, we weren't sure how that happened either, but it did. Viljoen went for 16 and 27 runs in his last two overs to finish with figures of 1 for 51. Shami went for 53 in his four. RCB started brilliantly, dipped quite a lot and then picked up right at the end - at their absolute peak, RCB scored 134 in 9 overs and that might just be the difference.

AB with the finishing touches

All that's gone by in the middle-overs is the past. AB de Villiers is smashing the KXIP bowlers here. He's got his fifty and is on his way to take RCB to a defendable total here. At 109 for 4 in 14 overs, that didn't seem possible.

Fifty Stand

Both AB and Stoinis are looking to open up now. 16 overs done and RCB have 133 on the board. How many will they get?

The Post-PowerPlay dip

From 70 for 1 in 6 overs, RCB have crashed and burned through to 109 for 4 in 14 overs, and run the risk of posting yet another sub-par score. The choke has been put on RCB by the KXIP trio of Murugan Ashwin, Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardus Viljoen. RCB need a sprint at the end to come close to defending a total here.


Akshdeep Nath is gone! Change of pace from Ashwin - with an arm ball - does the trick here. Akshdeep tamely pushes the ball to Mandeep at cover. And just like that, RCB are down to 81 for 4 in 9 overs.

Silver lining, you ask? AB de Villiers is still there, and Marcus Stoinis has joined him in the middle.

Another wicket!

Ravichandran Ashwin has breached Moeen Ali's defence... with an angled-in ball that held its line. Moeen goes for a five-ball four and there's a bit of wobble for RCB. Can AB rescue them?

Murugan Ashwin strikes!

And Parthiv Patel is absolutely livid with himself. The KXIP leggie - formerly RCB btw - has foxed the left-hander, getting him to go early in his attempt to tuck it on the leg side and ending up with a leading edge that went straight to Ravichandran Ashwin at covers. Unfortunate that he can't carry on his superb batting nick today but he's more than done his job here - he walks back for a 24-ball 43!

Parthiv the constant

Let Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers be. For once, let's talk about Parthiv Patel. He's been their constant in times of distress - think season opener against CSK and their win against the same side at home a couple of days ago. He's not the most coveted wicket for the opposition, but he frankly, must be up there. Right now, he's keeping AB at the non-striker's end and throwing his bat around himself to give RCB a move on from an early wicket. He's gone to 43 off just 23 and RCB have the second-highest powerplay score of the season - 70!

Shami strikes!

Hardus Viljoen can breathe again. Virat Kohli hasn't quite made the most of the early gift the South African gave him. The RCB captain looked to hit Shami over the top on the off-side but he didn't connect well, and seemed out of balance too. He ended up hitting to Mandeep Singh at covers. RCB 35/1 in 3.1 overs

Two slips for Virat Kohli, and an opportunity spilled

Ashwin seems to have watched the RCB-CSK game. MS Dhoni got the RCB captain with a slip fielder and a Deepak Chahar tempting him with away swingers from outside the off-stump. It worked. For KXIP, though, there's misfortune at the start. Two-slips was brave, but Kohli offered a chance - an absolute sitter - off the first ball of the second over from Shami. But Hardus Viljoen fumbles a straightforward chance at mid-wicket. Kohli then proceeds to whack two pristine boundaries. This might not end well for KXIP.

TOSS: KXIP opt to bowl. KXIP bring in Nicholas Pooran, Ankit Rajpoot for Sam Curran and Harpreet Brar. RCB have a forced change in Tim Southee for Dale Steyn, who is out with a niggle. And Washington Sundar finally gets a game, in place of Pawan Negi tonight.

Points table and qualification chances aside, tonight's game is also Chris Gayle's return to Bangalore.. as an opposition player. Here's Vineet on how there's a two-way battle for the Chinnaswamy throne.

Prelude - A sprint towards Top-four

IPL 2019 finds itself fascinatingly poised at the moment. We're well into the second half and there is still a lot left to play for. CSK have mathematically crossed the league stage line, all that's left for them is to try to and fight for a top-two spot. In a refreshing change to what's been the narrative for the last few seasons, Delhi Captals have pushed the envelope and now find themselves a win or maybe two away from reaching the playoffs too. What's really left is how the third and fourth spots are fought for. Mumbai Indians are very slightly ahead of the chasing pack, with the likes of SRH, KXIP and even KKR in the mix - though they're on quite a downward curve since April 9. And then there's RCB, who have just three wins in their kitty but aren't out of contention yet. They host KXIP fresh from having beaten CSK in a game where they - just about - defended a sub-par total to inject life into their campaign. Maybe, there's still room for a crazy sprint in the last few games. If that's true, it has to start today.

KXIP's case is also intriguing. Last season, they fell apart quite dramatically after having won five of their first six games, and just two of their last eight. They have five wins and as many defeats this year so far, and somehow haven't managed to go on a streak of wins to break away from the host of contenders. They arrive in Bangalore after having conceded an away game to the Delhi Capitals.

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