RCB regain winning touch

RCB regain winning touch

DeVilliers, Kohli come to the party again in 13-run victory over Supergiants

RCB regain winning touch
The Royal Challengers Bangalore shrugged off a late fight back from Rising Pune Supergiants to notch up a 13-run victory here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday. 

Put in to bat, RCB’s impressive total of 185/3 came on the back of yet another Virat Kohli (80)-AB de Villiers (83) show. The in-form duo extended their fantastic run in the season and paced the Bengaluru innings brilliantly during their mammoth 155-run stand. 

RCB’s bowling, lead by the dependable Shane Watson (2/31), then showed signs of promise to restrict the Supergiants to 172 for eight. Apart from leading RCB to their second win, skipper Kohli became owner of the Orange Cap, with 267 runs from four games.

The Supergiants got off to the worst possible start, losing their three key players in quick succession. Faf du Plessis fell cheaply in the fourth ball of the second over to Kane Richardson and after the very next ball; Pietersen was helped off the field, in what seemed like a calf-injury. An alert Kohli ran out Steve Smith, in the next over, with a diving direct hit as he ran in from point.

Despite the early struggle, Pune stayed in hunt with a 91-run stand between skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (41) and Ajinkya Rahane (60) till debutant left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi had Rahane stumped in the 15th over. With 50 needed of the last three overs, it was a daunting task for Pune but Thisara Perera’s blitz gave Pune 25 runs of the 18th over to have the match in balance.

Watson though produced a brilliant penultimate over, effecting two dismissals and giving away just four runs to all but end Pune’s challenge. 

Earlier, opener KL Rahul, who looked edgy right from the start, perished in the fourth over to leave RCB at 27/1.

De Villiers’ began his assault with a cracking cover drive of Ankit Sharma in the fifth over. One over later, the destructive South African batsman swept Ankit for a six over square leg to set the tone for RCB. 

The duo raced to their half-century stand in just 39 balls as RCB kept up a fair run-rate to reach 79 at half-way stage. The biggest over of the innings arrived in the 11th over, when Murugan Ashwin was hammered for 18 runs, with De Villiers doing majority of the damage.

De Villiers swept Murugan for a six of the first ball and pulled the last ball of the over way past the long-on boundary. After racing to his fifty in 25 balls, De Villiers never took his foot off the pedal and with Kohli, took RCB to 128 in 15 overs.

Kohli, who dropped anchor to the attacking De Villiers, exhibited great timing and played a fluent innings. Bagging most of his runs with great running between the wickets and consistent rotation of the strike, Kohli cut loose in the 19th over, smashing two fours of Ishant Sharma, who had a bad at the office, leaking 47 runs of his four overs with no success.
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