Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their hopes alive in Vivo IPL 12 after registering a well fought victory against the Kings XI Punjab by 17 runs. The victory was largely built around a sensational partnership from the blade of AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis.
The RCB bowlers leaked runs in crucial junctures but eventually held their nerves to get the job done for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Courtesy their victory they have made a progress to the 7th position in the points table with 4 victories from 11 outings.
Earlier in the day, it was Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin who won the toss and opted to field. Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli got the hosts off to a good start. Parthiv, in particular, looked in great touch while Virat Kohli also started off with 3 crisp boundaries. However, he was dismissed by Mohammed Shami pretty cheaply on 13.
Royal Challengers Bangalore stuttered quite a bit in the middle overs as they kept losing wickets at crucial junctures of the game. The last 6 overs proved to be the decisive factor for RCB as AB de Villiers literally tormented the KXIP bowling attack with his exceptional strokeplay. He smashed Mohammed Shami for 3 consecutive sixes in the penultimate over to take RCB past the 170 mark.
The last over proved to be the most decisive of the innings as Marcus Stoinis took on Hardus Viljoen and collected 27 runs which included 2 fours and 3 sixes. Chasing a more than competitive total, Kings XI Punjab started off in the best possible manner with openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul looking in great touch. Gayle was dismissed by Umesh Yadav after he raced off to 23 of just 10 deliveries.
Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul kept Punjab in the chase with some wonderful strokeplay. Both KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal looked in complete control of proceedings and shared a 59 runs stand to make Punjab believe. However, the wickets of Rahul and Mayank in quick succession put Punjab in the backfoot.
Nicholas Pooran who had not able to take the tournament by storm played a brilliant knock and only dealt in sixes. The southpaw smashed 46 of 28 deliveries which included a four and 5 sixes. However, just when Punjab looked to take the game away from RCB, quick wickets pegged them back again. Umesh Yadav was again handed the final over and he managed to hold his nerves and do the job for his team this time around.
Now here is what Ravichandran Ashwin said at the post-match presentation
There can be so many places where I thought we lost the game, but honestly, in a T20 game, it’s all about winning those pressure moments which we have not been able to win in the last few games.
If we had actually held onto those crunch moments, we might have had a couple of more points or probably four points but that’s that, we weren’t able to close it out and we got some experience in the middle order couldn’t really close it out in the crucial moments today.
It’s all about getting one win together and we can get on a roll like RCB won three in a row now, so it’s all about getting one win and then we go back home and then we probably try to win a couple on the trot. It’s very important to keep trust in the players.
We held onto giving players enough opportunities to try and come out on trumps. It’s important to back the players. In all the eleven games we played to be brutally honest, we haven’t been outplayed by any opposition which is a great positive for us. The one area we could really work on is the powerplay and the back-end finishing.