De Villiers blitzkrieg spurs RCB

Jubilant: Royal Challengers Bangalore players celebrate after beating Kings XI Punjab at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH PHOTO/ Satish Badiger

Talismanic A B de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis forged a breathtaking partnership as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a hard-fought 17-run win over Kings XI Punjab here on Wednesday.

Joining forces with the Royal Challengers in a spot of bother at 81/4 and the Kings XI Punjab spinners M Ashwin and R Ashwin on a roll, de Villiers (82 not out, 44b, 3x4) and Stoinis (46 not out, 34b, 2x4, 3x6) first steadied the ship with old-fashioned cautious batting before exploding massively in the final three overs to power the hosts to 202/4 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

The duo, littering the stadium with some stunning shots, stitched together an unbeaten 121-run stand (66 balls) with 64 runs coming in the final three overs. 

Kings XI Punjab then gave the home camp a tough time after in-form opening duo of K L Rahul (42, 27b, 7x4, 1x6) and Chris Gayle raced off the blocks, raising 42 runs in just 3.2 overs. Rahul was then joined by fellow Bengalurean Mayank Agarwal (35, 21b, 5x4, 1x6) and the duo played some wonderful shots to keep the score board ticking along at a fast clip.

A worried RCB skipper Virat Kohli then introduced Stoinis into the attack and the Australian worked magic with the ball too, dismissing Agarwal in the 10th over. Rahul followed Agarwal into the dugout in the next over as KXIP’s chase suffered a double blow.

But Nicholas Pooran (46, 28b, 1x4, 5x6) and David Miller (24, 25b, 2x4) had other ideas. The left-handed duo, after a sedate beginning, started smoking the ball to all parts of the ground in a 68-run stand as KXIP looked like pulling off a stunning win.

But the Challengers kept their composure amidst Pooran blitzkrieg to post their fourth win and rise to seventh in the table with eight points. KXIP are fifth with 10 points.       

The Royal Challengers, who broke their disastrous streak of six successive defeats against Punjab at Mohali on April 13, got off a great start with Parthiv Patel (43, 24b, 7x4, 6x2) yet again at the centre of it.

The diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman, meaning business from the word go, cut and drove with elan. He also showed no fear in playing the uppish shots, especially against Mohammed Shami.

The Royal Challengers collected 70 runs for the loss of skipper Virat Kohli’s wicket in Power Play period before losing three wickets for 10 runs. The seasoned de Villiers and Stoinis then went about the repair work beautifully.

Both curbed their natural instincts and focussed on rotating the strike with singles and twos. RCB then looked like they would reach a score in the 160s but de Villiers and Stoinis switched gears in stunning fashion. De Villiers led the assault by creaming Viljoen for a four and six in the 18th over which yielded 16 runs. The South African then hammered Mohammed Shami for three sixes in the next over — 21 runs were scored in total — before Stoinis joined the fireworks in the final over.

The Australian carted Viljoen for three sixes as RCB picked up 27 runs to past 200-run mark.

SCORE BOARD

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Parthiv Patel c R Ashwin b M Ashwin 43 (24b, 7x4, 2x6), Virat Kohli c Mandeep b Shami 13 (8b, 2x4), A B de Villiers (not out) 82 (44b, 3x4, 7x6), Moeen Ali b R Ashwin 4 (5b, 1x4), Akshdeep Nath c Mandeep b Viljoen 3 (7b), Marcus Stoinis (not out) 46 (34b, 2x4, 3x6). Extras (B-2, LB-4, W-3, NB-2) 11. Total (for 4 wkts, 20 overs) 202. 

Fall of wickets: 1-35 (Kohli), 2-71 (Parthiv), 3-76 (Ali), 4-81 (Akshdeep). 

Bowling: Ankit Rajpoot 4-0-46-0 (nb-2), Mohammed Shami 4-0-53-1 (w-1), M Ashwin 4-0-31-1, R Ashwin 4-0-15-1, Hardus Viljoen 4-0-51-1 (w-2).

KINGS XI PUNJAB: KL Rahul c Southee b Ali 42 (27b, 7x4, 1x6), Chris Gayle c de Villiers b Umesh 23 (10b, 4x4, 1x6), Mayank Agarwal c Chahal b Stoinis 35 (21b, 5x4, 1x6), David Miller c de Villiers b Saini 24 (25b, 2x4), Nicholas Pooran c de Villiers b Saini 46 (28b, 1x4, 5x6), Mandeep Singh (not out) 4 (4b), R Ashwin c Kohli b Umesh 6 (2b, 1x6), Hardus Viljoen c Parthiv b Umesh 0 (1b), M Ashwin (not out) 1 (2b). Extras (W-4) 4. Total (for 7 wkts, 20 overs) 185.   

Fall of wickets: 1-42 (Gayle), 2-101 (Agarwal), 3-105 (Rahul), 4-173 (Miller), 5-176 (Pooran), 6-182 (R Ashwin), 7-182 (Viljoen).

Bowling: Tim Southee 3-0-33-0 (w-1), Umesh Yadav 4-0-36-3 (w-3), Navdeep Saini 4-0-33-2, Yuzvendra Chahal 2-0-27-0, Marcus Stoinis 2-0-13-1, Moeen Ali 3-0-22-1, Washington Sundar 2-0-21-0.

Result: Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 17 runs

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