KXIP were asked to bat first by Kohli. On this ground, Gayle recorded the highest strike rate in IPL - 165.33. Gayle and KL Rahul were watchful in the first two overs making just 7 runs. But they compensated in the last over of the powerplay, as Gayle smashed Mohammad Siraj with 3 fours and 2 sixes, taking Kings XI to 60 for no loss.
In the fifth over, Rahul was dropped by de Villiers. Later in the seventh over, he fell to Chahal after hitting a six. At the halfway, Kings XI were 90 for 2, as they could add 30 runs losing out two wickets from overs 7-10. Interestingly in these overs, Gayle added merely 5 runs in the 11 balls he faced. KXIP’s run rate declined a bit for next few overs, as Sarfaraz Khan and Sam Curran lost their wickets in quick succession. Towards the end, Kings XI managed 16 and 11 runs in the last two overs to reach 173. Even with Gayle's presence till the end, the final score posted looked below par.
While Kings XI’s first over of Curran was satisfactory, they gave away 30 runs in the next two overs. Sensing the urgency, R Ashwin took the charge of fourth over and got the result straightaway with Patel’s wicket. In first six overs, KXIP could grab only one wicket giving away 63 runs. Their bowlers failed to break Kohli-de Villiers partnership before 16th over which cost them the match. Ashwin bowled superbly in the 17th over, giving away just 6 runs, but Andrew Tye and Shami could not stop the onslaught from Stoinis and de Villiers as Kings XI eventually lost in 19.2 overs.
Gayle scored 99 which included 10 fours and 5 sixes, while Mandeep Singh and Rahul supported him with 18 runs each. R Ashwin grabbed 1 wicket for 30 runs and Shami got 1 for 43 runs.
For RCB, it was a wise decision to opt to chase after winning the toss. RCB dropped Tim Southee who conceded plenty of runs in the last match. RCB bowlers gave a good start but could not confine the usual Gayle throughout the powerplay. With no success from the pacers, RCB in a brilliant move introduced Chahal in the seventh over as he stumped out Rahul. It was 2 in 2 for Chahal as he grabbed Mayank Agarwal’s wicket in his next over. Siraj and Ali got Sarfaraz Khan and Curran in the 13th and the 14th over. Chahal, Ali, Saini - did a fantastic job to confine Gayle and his fellow batsmen. In the end, they had a comfortable target of 174.
While chasing, RCB batsmen executed their plan quite well as the openers Patel and Kohli gave the glittering start. They scored 43 runs in under 4 overs. After Patel’s exit in the fourth over, the dependable Kohli-de Villers duo took full control of the match, adding another 85 runs together. After the 10th over, RCB needed another 86 runs while they had 9 wickets remaining. They were strong while chasing as required-run-rate was most of the time less than the current-run-rate. It helped RCB towards the end despite losing Kohli in the 16th over. With raining boundaries and sixes from Stoinis and de Villiers in the 18th and 19th overs, RCB achieved the target with four balls to spare and brought the delight on the captain Kohli’s face.
Kohli top-scored for RCB with his 67 off 53 balls while de Villiers scored 59 at the strike rate of 155.26. Chahal took two wickets for 33 runs, Ali took 1 wicket for just 19 runs, Siraj bagged 1 for 54 while Saini was wicketless but blocked runs, giving away just 23 in his four overs that included 13 dot balls.
Kings XI Punjab will play another home match with seventh-ranked Rajasthan Royal on 16th April at IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali. After losing four in 8 matches, each match is crucial for them. They need to beat Rajasthan to re-enter the group of top four.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will visit Wankhede Stadium to play against Mumbai Indians on 15th April. With the taste of their first victory, they will look forward to grabbing another two critical points. But to defeat MI, RCB bowlers and batsmen need to perform as a unit.
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