RCB have to win everything now and they seem to be putting everything into each game. In one such high scoring encounter against KXIP, RCB edged out by 17 runs to keep their playoffs hopes alive thanks to one of the most devastating T20 players – AB de Villiers.
Losing the Toss batting first on a batting paradise RCB started well scoring 10 an over in the first 3 overs. However, they lost Kohli cheaply in the fourth over which brought AB de Villiers to the crease. RCB reached 70 in the powerplay losing just the wicket of Kohli. In the next three overs, RCB lost 3 more wickets and slumped to 81 for 4 in 9 overs. In next 8 overs, Stoinis and de Villiers put on just 57 runs but more importantly they did not lose more wickets. The stage was set for de Villiers exploits and he did not disappoint as he and Stoinis scored 64 in the last 3 overs to put RCB beyond 200 when 180 looked beyond reach.
It is always difficult to defend at Bangalore with small boundaries and flat wicket. RCB looked to be losing this one as well when Gayle and KL Rahul started smashing it around. RCB had given up half the runs in 9 overs. But Ali took the crucial wicket of KL Rahul in the 11th over and RCB regained control of the match thereon. They did not lose focus when Pooran hit them for 5 sixes. RCB kept chipping away with wickets and stopped KXIP 17 runs short with Umesh defending 27 in the last over picking 2 wickets in the process.
AB de Villiers top scored for RCB with 82 at the strike rate of above 185. Stoinis played a helpful cameo of 46 off 34 and scored 20 off the last 4 balls of RCB innings. Patel contributed with 43 at the top with a healthy strike rate of about 180. Umesh Yadav was the peak of the bowlers picking 3 wickets for 36. Saini took 2 wickets. Moeen Ali and Stoinis took 2 for 35 in 5 overs among them.
KXIP Punjab should not have conceded 202 after having RCB at 138 after 17 overs. They should have sealed the chase after crossing 100 in just 9 overs. They failed at both as the visitors failed to overcome a target of 203 against RCB. They faltered in the second half of both the innings handing RCB a much-needed victory.
Winning the fielding first at M Chinnaswamy stadium, KXIP started well by dismissing Kohli for 13 in the 4th over. However, with Patel hitting some lusty blows, they had conceded 70 in the powerplay. Once M Ashwin removed Patel, KXIP put a break to scoring rate picking up a few more wickets. They had RCB at 138 with 3 overs remaining. This is where the game got away from them as they conceded 64 in the last three handing a huge score and momentum to RCB.
However, chasing isn’t an issue at Bangalore with the likes of Gayle and KL Rahul in your ranks. KXIP had an explosive start to the chase. They lost Gayle early but KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal put the score beyond 100 in just 9 overs. However, once Rahul got out, scoring became a little slower. Millers under run-a-ball innings did not help either. Pooran kept KXIP in the game with 5 sixes but de Villiers and co had put enough on the board for RCB.
Four bowlers from KXIP took one wicket each. Rajpoot, Shami, and Viljoen went for more than 11 an over. Shami and Viljoen went for more than 50 in 4 overs. Pooran top scored with 46 helped at the top by KL Rahul (42 off 27) and Mayank Agarwal (35 off 21). Eventually, that was not enough.
RCB will play the next encounter away from home against Delhi on 28th April 2019. The clarity seems to be helping the Royal Challengers. One more loss and they are out of the tournament and they are playing like they have nothing to lose. Delhi will be tough opposition but they have not been good at home this season and RCB might want to cash on that.
Kings XI Punjab will play their next game against the Sunrisers away from home on 29th April 2019. Both the teams are on 10 points but the Kings have played 11 matches compared to SRH’s 10. With one more loss situation will get desperate for KXIP. They would be keen to get 2 more points to have some cushion going into the end of the league stage.
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