Navdeep Saini’s fabulous penultimate over kept RCB afloat as they beat Kings XI Punjab by 17 runs in their IPL match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday.
After setting a target of 203, the home team kept picking up wickets at important moments to derail the visitors everytime they threatened to chase the runs down. Eventually, the equation came down to KXIP needing 30 off the last two overs; they could only score 12 and finished at 185-7.
Earlier in the evening, Royal Challengers Bangalore scored their third 200-plus total of the season riding on the back of AB de Villiers’ 82 and Marcus Stoinis’ 46, and their unbeaten 121-run partnership.
There were three parts to RCB’s innings: first, Parthiv Patel scored a flurry of boundaries against the new ball and helped his team to a brisk start, then the cautious consolidation when the KXIP spinners were in operation, and finally the carnage at the backend when de Villiers and Stoinis shredded the KXIP quicks.
RCB scored 70 runs in the powerplay, added 29 in the next seven overs, and added a further 103 runs in the final seven overs – 64 of those in the last three overs. For Kings XI Punjab, the wickets were shared by four of the five bowlers used. The two spinners were the most economical – returning combined figures of 8-0-46-2, while the pacers leaked 150 runs in their twelve overs combined.
In their chase, Kings XI Punjab threatened. But every occasion when they had their noses ahead and had momentum with them, a set batsman would be dismissed. Several batsmen got off to starts but not one made a 50, 60 or 70. Nicholas Pooran’s 46 (28 balls, 1 four, 5 sixes) and KL Rahul’s 42 (27 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) were the two top scores in the chase.
For RCB, Umesh Yadav (3-36) and Navdeep Saini (2-33) were the pick of the bowlers. They had 36 runs to defend in the final three overs, responded brilliantly, conceding 6, 3 and 9 from overs eighteen, nineteen and twenty. Marcus Stoinis and Moeen Ali were the other wicket-takers; Stoinis dismissed Mayank Agarwal, while Moeen accounted for Rahul’s dismissal.
AB de Villiers came out to bat after his captain (and opener) Virat Kohli was dismissed at the start of the fourth over. 35-1 at that stage, RCB lost three wickets in a very short span to find themselves at 81-4 at the end of the ninth over.
De Villiers took stock of the situation, realised the need was for him to knuckle down and ride out the next few overs. He knew all too well that his team needed him to stay at the crease and backed himself to do the damage in the later overs.
After crawling to a run-a-ball 25, de Villiers teed off when Ankit Rajpoot was brought back into the attack in the fifteenth over; he collected a four and a six off that over, and collected another six off Murugan Ashwin in the following over. The South African brought up his half-century in the eighteenth over – getting there in 35 balls.
Then there was carnage; he hit Mohamed Shami for three consecutive sixes in the nineteenth over, and added one more big hit to his tally at the start of the final over. de Villiers took a single off the second ball of the final over, and had to stay put at the non-striker’s end for the remaining four deliveries.
The standout feature of de Villiers’ knock was how quickly he picked the length and got into position to take toll; he was brutal on anything that was short – even marginally – and deposited the delivery into the stands. He scored 22 off 18 balls off the two spinners, and scored 60 off 26 balls off the three quicks.
“Yeah, we’ve won four of the five. Could have been five out of five. We were just looking to enjoy the cricket and tonight was a great example of having fun. The game changing partnership was Marcus and AB. They brought us to 200 which looked highly unlikely. We thought 175 would have been good,” Virat Kohli said.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 202-4 (Parthiv Patel 43, AB de Villiers 82*, Marcus Stoinis 46*) defeated Kings XI Punjab: 185-7 (KL Rahul 42, Mayank Agarwal 35, Nicholas Pooran46, Umesh Yadav 3-36) by 17 runs.
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