ROYAL Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) impressive Indian Premier League (IPL) resurgence continued with a fourth win in five matches as Virat Kohli’s men defeated Kings XI Punjab by 17 runs.
RCB were deep in trouble in this year’s competition as they began with six consecutive defeats, leaving little room for error in the remainder of the tournament.
But they have thrived under the circumstances and did so again at home to Kings XI, with a sensational unbeaten partnership of 121 off 66 from AB de Villiers (82 not out) and Marcus Stoinis (46no) stealing the show.
That carried RCB from 81-4 to 202-4, setting a target that Kings XI never truly looked like reaching as Umesh Yadav finished with figures of 3-36.
The visitors mustered 185-7 from their 20 overs, but the momentum they required deserted them late on.
RCB were sent in to bat first and initially looked set to continue their strong run in real style as Parthiv Patel and Kohli combined for 35 runs in the first three overs of the powerplay.
But Kohli (13), having already been dropped at the start of the second over, was soon snared by Mohammed Shami.
Parthiv kept chipping away for a time and reached an impressive 43 off just 24, yet his departure signalled the start of a tough stretch for the home side and they were reduced to 81-4.
de Villiers had let Parthiv do the heavy lifting in their partnership, but the South African responded in stunning fashion to losing three team-mates.
Some sublime big hitting included four sixes in five balls to bring up the century partnership with Stoinis, who was also in the mood for a slog, and RCB made 64 from the final three overs.
Kings XI set a good early pace to maintain some interest in the contest, though, reaching 101-1 through the first nine overs.
KINGS XI CANNOT UNDO DAMAGE
KL Rahul made 42 from 27 through partnerships with Chris Gayle (23) and Mayank Agarwal (35), but he eventually departed to Moeen Ali.
Kings XI’s scoring rate did not quite reach the required standard, yet they were in a position where a final flurry – which de Villiers earlier delivered – might have stolen victory.
It did not materialise, though, with David Miller (24) and Nicholas Pooran (46) gone in the same over, before Yadav removed Ravichandran Ashwin (6) and Hardus Viljoen, who endured a torrid time with the ball, from consecutive deliveries.