Kohli, de Villers guide RCB to first win of 2019

Mohali, April 14 : Bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) finally ended their winning draught in the ongoing season of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 as skipper Virat Kohli’s scintillating 53-ball 67 followed by AB de Villiers (59* off 38) and Marcus Stoinis (28* off 16) fruitful knock guided them to a thumping eight-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium here on Saturday.

It was the 85-run stand between Kohli and de Villers before the South African got involved in a match-winning 46-run partnership with Stoinis which handed Bangalore a much needed win.

Defending 174, Punjab bowlers not only failed in getting wickets but also leaked runs as the visitors crossed the line with four balls to spare.

Eyeing their maiden win this season, openers Partiv Patel (19 off 9) and Kohli started on a good note as they added 36 runs in the first three overs before the former became a victim of Ravichandran Ashwin in the fourth over.

Kohli, who has been recently criticised a lot for not leading Bangalore decently, however took charge of the chase and led from the front with de Villers to help his side cross the 100-run mark in 11.1 overs. The Bangalore skipper meanwhile, also notched up his half-cetntury off 37 balls.

With everything moving in Bangalore’s way tonight, Mohammed Shami bought some relief to the Punjab camp after picking the crucial wicket of KOhli in the 16th over with the visitors’ score reading 128/2.

Kohli’s knock contained eight boundaries.

The Punjab bowlers however, were denied to make any further inroads in the Bangalore batting line-up as de Villiers and Stoinis joined hands and played sensibly before fetching 14 runs in the second last over off Shami.

In the final over, Ashwin handed the ball to former Bangalore player Sarfaraz Khan to defend five runs. However, there was no stopping the Bangalore pair as Stoinis hammered a four in the first ball before picking the required couple of runs in the next to hand a comfortable victory to his side.

De Villiers’ innings was laced with five fours and two maximums while Stoinis hammered four boundaries.

For Punjab, Ashwin and Shami bagged a wicket each.

Earlier, opener Chris Gayle missed out on his century by just one run but his valiant effort (99* off 64) helped Punjab (KXIP) post a fighting 173/7.

Despite getting little support from the other end throughout the innings, Gayle, the self-proclaimed ‘universe boss’, kept one end in control after staying in the middle through the 20 overs.

Put into bat, Gayle and K.L. Rahul started on a cautious note as they accumulated 36 runs in the first five overs. It was Yuzvendra Chahal who drew the first blood for the visitors as he broke the 66-run opening stand by dismissing Rahul (18) in the seventh over.

With just 20 runs added to the Punjab scorecard, Chahal struck again as he castled Mayank Agarwal, who could only manage to contribute 15 runs to the team total.

Sarfaraz Khan (15) also failed to stay in the middle for long as he edged Mohammed Siraj to Parthiv behind the stumps in the 13th over. Moeen Ali then trapped Sam Curran (1) plumb in front with the hosts’ scorecard reading 113/4 in the 14th over. The visiting bowlers kept on striking at regular intervals, but couldn’t get the better off Gayle.

The Caribbean power hitter kept the scoreboard moving as he smashed some lusty blows to guide his side to a fighting total. His knock was laced with 10 fours and five sixes. Mandeep Singh also remained unbeaten on 18 off 16 deliveries as Punjab handed a 174-run target to Bangalore.

Chahal (2/33) was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors, while Mohammed Siraj and Moeen Ali picked up one wicket apiece.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 174-2 in 19.2 over (Virat Kohli 67, AB de Villiers 59 not out; Ravichandran Ashwin 1/30) beat Kings XI Punjab: 173/4 (Chris Gayle 99 not out, K.L. Rahul 18; Yuzvendra Chahal 2/33) by 8 wickets.
(IANS)

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