Kohli's RCB makes short work of Kings XI

Chasing 89, Kohli’s men won by 10 wickets with 11.5 overs to spare.

Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel celebrate victory against Kings XI Punjab at Holkar Stadium in Indore on Monday.   -  PTI

Virat Kohli is a cricketer of rare instinct and intensity. Those qualities were on abundant display at the Holkar Cricket Stadium here on Monday night, as he led Royal Challengers Bangalore to a desperately needed victory over Kings XI Punjab.

Scoreboard and ball-by-ball details

Such an authoritative win it turned out to be too, as Kohli’s men won by 10 wickets with 11.5 overs to spare. It is the fourth biggest IPL victory in terms of balls remaining.

RCB now has 10 points though it is still placed second from bottom of the table. But it has momentum going for it, having defeated Delhi Daredevils in its last game. Its rival, though, is going through a terrible run. From being on the brink of qualifying for playoffs, R. Ashwin’s men find themselves suddenly out of the top four. They would have to play much better than they did in their last two games.

Punjab was out-batted by Kolkata Knight Riders here on Saturday.

On this night, it was out-bowled. Whatever could go wrong, went wrong for the Punjab men. They lost the toss and were promptly sent in by Kohli. The RCB captain was at his aggressive best throughout. He made bowling changes tactically as well as instinctively.

His bowlers obliged him. Among them, Umesh Yadav stood out. He bowled with pace, got a bit of a swing and gave little away. And he got both the dangermen of KXIP – K.L. Rahul and Chris Gayle, who have about scored half the runs of their team in the tournament, in the same over.

The ‘Universe Boss’  had got a reprieve though off the ball of the night though, as he was dropped behind the stumps by Parthiv Patel off Umesh, who, however, would have the last laugh.

 

Pitching a short ball, he had Gayle caught at deep square-leg by Mohammed Siraj.  The Jamaican opener was undone for yet another time in this IPL by a ball aimed at his ribcage.

Umesh had already dismissed Rahul, who has been in awesome form, with another short ball.  The Karnataka opener was promising another big innings, having hit three sixes, when the law of averages finally caught up with him at deep square-leg, where he was caught by Colin de Grandhomme.

Now, it was up to the KXIP’s middle-order batsmen to improve upon their dismal record.  They did nothing of the sort, as they succumbed to the pace of Mohammed Siraj and spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Moeen Ali. KXIP also had get three of its batsmen getting run-out.

After the short innings, Kohli returned to the field and ensured the night truly belonged to him, scoring 48 not out (28b) and taking his team home in the company of fellow-opener Parthiv (40 not out, 22b).

Qualification scenario

Royal Challengers Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab means five teams (!) remain — other than Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, which have already qualified — in contention for making the IPL 2018 playoffs. Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals are the other three.

Prior to Monday's match, RCB was placed seventh on the table with eight points from 11 fixtures and a net run rate of -0.26. It remains seventh after its win but, most importantly, its net run rate has improved to +0.21, which is better than KKR's (-0.18), Rajasthan's (-0.34) and Kings XI's (-0.51).

What RCB needs to do: Win the two remaining fixtures, against Sunrisers and Royals.

Kings XI was third on the table with 12 points from 11 fixtures and net run rate of -0.05. It slipped to fifth after the defeat to RCB, its net run rate dropping to -0.51. Of the contenders, however, Kings XI is the best placed to go through despite two massive back-to-back defeats.

What KXIP needs to do: Win its two remaining fixtures, ideally! One win and a loss may not suffice given its negative net run rate.

 

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