After rain had delayed the start of the match for more than two hours, Kings XI Punjab captain Murali Vijay called correctly at the toss and put the home side in, hoping his bowlers would use the moisture in the pitch brought about by the surface remaining under the covers. He was made to rue that decision, after Virat and Gayle launched an onslaught from both ends, leaving the KXIP bowlers short of ideas. RCB started steadily, scoring 17 in the first three overs. That was the calm before the storm – those were the only three overs in the innings in which RCB scored in single-digits.
It was fireworks for the next twelve overs. Boundaries came thick and fast, and balls were hit into the boundary hoardings and into the stands in regular intervals. Gayle had sounded out a warning after the previous match in Kolkata, asking his fans to be prepared to cheer and celebrate; the Jamaican lived up to his words, smashing 73, hitting four boundaries and eight sixes in his 32-ball knock. His captain Kohli matched him stroke-for-stroke at the other end. In the 147-run partnership, which was brought to an end with Gayle’s dismissal in the eleventh over, Kohli had contributed 69.
Though RCB lost AB de Villiers for a second-ball duck soon after, Kohli motored along; he batted with an injured left hand, yet played some stunning cricketing strokes. Never once was there a slog or a stroke played under pressure. The RCB captain’s thought process and shot selection was impeccable; he scored plenty of runs in the ‘V’, and also peppered the midwicket boundary.
Kohli brought up his fourth T20 century, and in the course displaced Suresh Raina as the top run-getter in the IPL; on this day, he needed only 47 balls to get to the three-figure mark – the quickest of his four centuries, each one coming at a progressively quicker pace. He was dismissed at the end of the 14th over when he attempted to go over the top of long-off, but mishit it and holed out to David Miller on the boundary; Kohli made 113 from 50 balls, and his innings was laced with 12 fours and 8 sixes.
KL Rahul chipped in with a cameo, scoring 16 from six balls, as RCB finished their allotted fifteen overs at 211-3 – their third 200-plus score of the season.
Faced with a required run rate of 14.13 from the start of their chase, KXIP had no other option but to go for it. Already without two of their key players – Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, KXIP’s run-chase never took off. Once captain and batting mainstay Murali Vijay was dismissed in the second over, the pressure was only mounting further. KXIP failed to stitch partnerships and kept losing wickets consistently.
For RCB, Sreenath Arvind, who has a fondness for the Chinnaswamy Stadium, accounted for the two openers, before leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal tied up the opposition, returning with career-best figures of 4-25. Shane Watson too picked up two wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 211-3 in 15.0 Overs (Chris Gayle 73, Virat Kohli 113) beat Kings XI Punjab 120-9 in 14.0 Overs (Wriddhiman Saha 24, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-25, Shane Watson 2-7, Sreenath Arvind 2-18) by 82 runs (DLS Method).
Man of the Match: Virat Kohli, for his match-winning 50-ball 113.