Parthiv: 'Umesh bowling at his best'

Umesh Yadav removed both K.L. Rahul and Chris Gayle, two openers who have slaughtered many a quality attack this season, and finished with three for 23 from his four overs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Umesh Yadav walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award against Kings XI Punjab.   -  Vivek Bendre

Umesh Yadav came up with one of the finest spells so far by a pace bowler in the ongoing Indian Premier League this season on Monday night. By the time his captain Virat Kohli made him bowl him three overs on the trot, he had ensured it was advantage Royal Challengers Bangalore against Kings XI Punjab at the Holkar Stadium.

He removed both K.L. Rahul and Chris Gayle, two openers who have slaughtered many a quality attack this season, and finished with three for 23 from his four overs. He was the obvious choice for the Man-of-the-Match award.

With 17 wickets, Umesh has spearheaded the RCB attack with aplomb. A man who watched that fiery spell from up close, wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, reckons he is bowling at his best now.

"He is getting reward for it too, as he is part of the Indian team for all the formats," said Parthiv, who made an unbeaten 40, playing only his fourth match of the tournament.

"He is executing what he is planning as a bowler."

He said his team was confident of running through the KXIP batting line-up once Rahul and Gayle were dismissed. "We had also thought about improving our net run rate after getting out KXIP for less than 90," Parthiv added.

"We were almost out of the competition before our last two games. We have fought hard since then and showed a lot of intent and positive energy," he said.

If RCB has bounced back in style, KXIP has had a nightmarish run, losing three matches in a row. "We cannot afford a fourth loss," said captain R. Ashwin.

"We have to win our next two games. We had a bad day today."

He admitted the problem in the middle-order persisted. "Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis are good batsmen," he said. "I hope they would score when it matters."

Ashwin threw light on spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman's injury and said, "We don't know if he would be fit for our next match."