Royal Challengers Bangalore 92 for 0 (Kohli 48*, Parthiv 40) beat Kings XI Punjab 88 (Finch 26, Umesh 3-23) by 10 wickets
(ESPNcricinfo)-Umesh Yadav ambushed KL Rahul and Chris Gayle with short balls and the rest of Kings XI Punjab’s batting line-up made lemmings seem cautious as they were knocked over for 88 in 15.1 overs. Royal Challengers Bangalore chased it down with almost 12 overs to spare and boosted their net run-rate, from -0.26 to +0.21, and qualification chances for the playoffs. The result also confirmed a top-two finish for current table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Kings XI had suffered a big blow even before the first ball was bowled: their top wicket-taker Mujeeb Ur Rahman was sidelined with a hand injury sustained in his previous game against Kolkata Knight Riders. On the flip side, they recalled Marcus Stoinis to bolster a batting line-up that had Axar Patel at No. 6 on Saturday. Stoinis, however, yorked himself against Yuzvendra Chahal and was part of an irreparable collapse. Three of the last four wickets were chaotic run-outs, which summed up Kings XI’s approach on a pitch that wasn’t as flat as the one that produced a run aggregate of 459 on Saturday, but it wasn’t unplayable either.
Short ball leaves Kings XI short-changed
Umesh teased Gayle with a brace of outswingers in the corridor, including one that grazed the outside edge, but Parthiv Patel dropped it to reprieve the batsman on 0 in the first over. He then ventured short and kept attacking the body of Gayle, who took seven balls to get off the mark against Umesh. In all, Umesh bowled 15 short or short-of-good-length balls in his three-over first spell, and fetched two wickets with such lengths. In his third over, he first had Rahul pulling a catch to deep square leg for 21 off 15 balls and then dismissed Gayle in similar fashion. In the next over, Mohammed Siraj dug one in outside off and coaxed an outside edge from Karun Nair to leave Kings XI at 41 for 3 in the sixth over.
The middle-order implosion
In the next over, Stoinis misread the length of a googly from Chahal and was bowled for 2. His Australia team-mate Aaron Finch, though, threatened to haul Kings XI to three figures, but the other end was a revolving door with batsmen entering and exiting in a flash. Besides Rahul and Gayle, Finch (26) was the only other Kings XI batsman to move into double figures. He, however, fell in the 12th over, when he pulled a short ball from Moeen Ali straight into the lap of Virat Kohli at deep midwicket. The RCB captain was simply having fun. He broke into an animated jig, and his team was in such a dominant position that he could afford at least one slip till the end of Kings XI’s innings. Kings XI’s misery, on the other hand, deepened when R Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, and Ankit Rajpoot all ran themselves out. Kings XI’s 88 was the second-lowest total this season, and their joint second-lowest overall.
RCB’s ‘perfect’ day
In the absence of swing and scoreboard pressure, Kohli and Parthiv Patel launched a flurry of boundaries and took RCB to 66 for 0 in the Powerplay. Three overs later, Kohli capped an early finish with a top-edged four. He later said: “It was a perfect day for us. We are in the nothing-to-lose zone and it will work well for us. Other teams will be wary of a team with such mindset.”
If RCB win their remaining two games against Sunrises Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals, they could sneak into the playoffs.