They have it all to do to earn a place in the playoffs, so the Royal Challengers Bangalore went out against the Kings XI Punjab and did it all… and in double quick time.
Lokesh Rahul (21) and Chris Gayle (18) got KXIP off to a good start, rolling along nicely to 36 without loss midway through the fifth over. Wickets tumbled as KXIP were reduced to 51-6 within nine overs, and then struggled through the following six overs – scoring at a miserly 4.5 runs an over – before last man Ankit Rajpoot was run out for a single. It was the third run-out of the last four wickets to fall, a crazy statistic considering that KXIP were dismissed with almost five overs unbowled.
Umesh Yadav was the destroyer-in-chief with the ball, taking 3-23 and bowling 16 dot balls, a massive 66% of his deliveries being blanks. It was a disciplined all-round bowling display as only Tim Southee (economy 9.50 off two overs) was going for more than six runs an over. Yuzvendra Chahal (1-3, economy 3.00) and Colin de Grandhomme (1-8, economy 4.00) were the tightest of the RCB bowlers. Each bowled two overs as the KXIP innings was turned upside down, plunging from 50-3 to 61-5 in the space of two overs. That spell of bowling ripped the guts out of their chances of putting a defendable target on the board.
Rahul (21), Gayle (18) and Aaron Finch (26) accounted for 73% of their side’s total, with only Axar Patel of the remaining batsmen scoring more than three runs.
Virat Kohli (48 not out off 28 balls, S/R 171.42) and Parthiv Patel (40 not out off 22 balls, S/R 181.81) raced to an emphatic victory, with Kohli putting the Kings out of their misery by edging a Rajpoot bouncer over the keeper for four off the first ball of the ninth over. The win pushed RCB up to 10 points, within one win of the three teams on 12 points, all battling for just two playoff spots.
The Challengers still have plenty of work to do but, on current form, they should be confident of not going down without one hell of a fight.
Photos by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for BCCI