AB de Villiers set the M Chinnaswamy Stadium alight with his hitting which saw Royal Challengers Bangalore record their fourth win in five matches. This third in a row win keeps the RCB hopes of qualifying for the playoffs very much alive. Kings XI Punjab bowled poorly in the death overs which allowed the RCB batsmen to plunder 64 runs in the last three overs of their inning. What looked likely to be a score in the region of 170-175, suddenly ended up being 202 for 4 which proved to be too much on the Kings XI platter.
Parthiv Patel started the Bangalore innings with two boundaries off Ankit Rajpoot and Kohli was dropped off Mohammed Shami’s first ball at mid-wicket. Mohammed Shami got his man in the next over when he induced Kohli to drive in the air through the covers where Mandeep Singh held on to the ball. Parthiv Patel (43 off 24 balls) played aggressively taking 18 runs off Mohammed Shami’s third over and RCB were 70 for 1 at the end of power play. Ravichandran Ashwin made a change in the bowling which bore fruit instantly. Murugan Ashwin got Patel’s leading edge to his second ball, a googly, which R Ashwin caught comfortably at cover.
In the next over Ravichandran Ashwin came on himself, beat Moeen Ali with an arm-ball and bowled him. Akshdeep Nath who came in at the fall of Ali’s wicket did not last long either. He played early to a slower ball from Hardus Viljoen only to lob the ball to Mandeep Singh at cover. At 81 for 4 in 9 overs, RCB were in a sorry state. AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis set about rebuilding the innings. They rotated the strike collecting singles. When Stoinis lifted Aswin straight back for a six it was the first boundary scored in 44 balls. The scoring rate had also dropped from 11 to 7.8 runs per over.
Till the fourteenth over AB de Villiers was scoring at a run a ball and was on twenty-five. The duo scored 24 runs off the next two overs. At the end of the seventeenth over RCB were still 138 for four, scoring at 8.11 runs per over. What followed in the next three overs can best be described as carnage. AB de Villiers (82* off 44 balls) hit a boundary and four sixes in the next two overs; three of them consecutively off Mohammed Shami. After de Villiers lofted Viljoen's first ball of the last over for a six, Marcus Stoinis (46*off 34 balls) scored 20 runs off the last four balls with the help of two sixes and two fours. The duo had scored 64 runs off the last three overs to take RCB to 202 for 4.
As KL Rahul and Chris Gayle looked to be in great touch, Kings XI raced to 36 runs in three overs with both the batsmen sharing 8 boundaries between them. Chris Gayle (23 off 10 balls) hoicked a Umesh Yadhav full-toss for a six and was caught by AB de Villiers at long-on off the next ball. KL Rahul (42 off 27balls) and Mayank Agarwal (35 off 30 balls) scored 59 runs between them in good time with the latter doing most of the scoring. Stoinis ended the partnership when he had Agarwal caught at midwicket. Six balls later Moeen Ali got a wicket off his first ball when KL Rahul mistimed a lofted shot and Tim Southee caught him at long-off.
Over the next three overs, the asking rate rose to over 12 runs per over. Well aware of that Nicholas Pooran lofted Washington Sundar for three sixes in the fourteenth over. Nicholas Pooran and David Miller added 68 runs for the fourth wicket and when Miller was out, caught by de Villiers off Saini the required run rate was 15 runs per over. Nicholas Pooran lost his wicket at the end of the nineteenth over when de Villiers took another catch off Saini. Umesh Yadav dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardus Viljoen off successive deliveries and the Kings XI innings folded at 185 for seven wickets giving RCB a win by 17 runs.
AB de Villiers brilliant 82 not out and some good bowling by Umesh Yadav (3 for 36) and Navdeep Saini (2 for 33) saw stay alive in the race to the playoffs. But Moeen Ali and Marcus Stoinis, both vital cogs in the RCB line-up are headed back home to begin their World Cup preparations. RCB will take on the second-placed Delhi Capitals on Sunday.