The Gujarat Lions won their fourth match of the season, after beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in Rajkot on Sunday.
The new franchise, after winning their first three, have now won four of their five matches, while the RCB’s inconsistencies continue, with three defeats and two wins to their name.
Virat Kohli, arguably the best batsman in the world in this format, and across the other formats for that matter, scored a century – a feat that had eluded him in this format until now, which was made all the more special considering it was his idol Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday today. It was to no avail, however, as a blistering start from the Lions paved the way for a comfortable chase.
RCB, after winning the toss and choosing to bat first, were slow going at first, with the score on 76-2 after 10 overs and 115-2 after 15, but another 104 runs were piled on in the final 10 overs, thanks to Kohli and Lokesh Rahul.
AB de Villiers scored 20 as he put on a 51-run stand with Kohli, but the tempo increased when Rahul strode out, as he scored 51 from 35, while Kohli smashed 14 runs off the final three balls to get him to the milestone.
Needing 181 for victory, the Lions, who decided to leave Dale Steyn out of this one, got off to a scorcher, scoring 72 in the power play overs, including 25 off the sixth. That was mainly thanks to Brendon McCullum, who raced to 42 off 24 balls.
The man to get McCullum was Tabraiz Shamsi, and the Titans Chinaman bowler was easily the best bowler on the night, with figures of 1-21 from his four overs, which included 11 dot balls.
The rest of the bowlers failed to step up, despite RCB’s victories this season having come from defending their totals. West Indian Dwayne Smith scored 32 from 21, before Dinesh Karthik turned a potentially tricky finish to the match into an easy one with a half-century off 39 balls. Dwayne Bravo hit the winning runs with three balls to spare.