Royal Challengers Bangalore opened their account in VIVO IPL 2019 after they defeated Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets at the IS Bindra Stadium on Saturday night. RCB restricted the hosts to 173-4 and then chased down the runs in 19.2 overs. The win ended RCB’s seven match losing streak and brought to a halt KXIP’s seven-match winning streak on their home ground.
For a little while, when Chris Gayle and KL Rahul were blazing away in the evening, the RCB camp might have wondered if they had made a mistake by opting to bowl. The KXIP openers had added 50 in 5.3 overs and had extended their association to 66 when Yuvendra Chahal provided the first breakthrough. In a period of play which was reminiscent of spin bowlers of old, the leg-spinner was hit for a six but came back strongly next ball to dismiss KL Rahul.
Even as Gayle endured slow bowling in the middle overs, KXIP lost three wickets at the other end. Gayle batted to the end, accelerated in the final few overs and took his team to a competitive total.
For RCB, Chahal was the standout bowler, though Navdeep Saini and Moeen Ali bowled tidily and finished with economy rates of under six. Umesh Yadav, who returned to the RCB line-up, conceded 42 runs in his four overs, while Siraj leaked 54 runs in his four.
Needing 174 to end their 7-match losing streak, RCB began aggressively with Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel adding 43 runs before the latter was dismissed in the fourth over. Virat and AB de Villiers then added 85 runs for the second wicket; both batsmen contributing almost evenly to that partnership. RCB were in absolute control and looked like they would cruise to the target when Virat was dismissed for 67.
de Villiers then stepped up the ante, and in the company of Marcus Stoinis polished off the chase. De Villiers would finish 59 not out, while Stoinis – who scored the winning runs – was 28 not out from 16 balls. The RCB captain was pumped up after the win, and the smiles were back in the dugout.
Standout batting performances
RCB’s best chance of chasing down 174 was if Virat Kohli or AB de Villiers made a big score. Virat struck two boundaries at the start of the second over – a straight drive followed by a whip off the pads through midwicket. Those two strokes and his body language were enough indication that he was on a mission. By the time the powerplay had ended, Virat had raced to 34 of 20 balls. The RCB captain then slowed down a touch, and reached his half-century 17 balls later. Virat was dismissed in the 16th over against the run of play; he pulled a short delivery from Mohammed Shami, but picked out the man at midwicket. Virat made 67 from 53 balls, and his knock contained eight boundaries.
de Villiers’ innings wasn’t the usual frenzied knock one has come to expect from him. The South African opened his account with a free-flowing drive and collected another boundary two balls later. Thereafter, he controlled the pace of the inning running plenty of ones, ensuring Virat got sufficient strike too. After Virat’s dismissal, de Villiers hit two sixes and scored 18 from 7 balls, ensuring the equation wouldn’t get out of reach.
Chris Gayle’s 99 not out was an innings of three parts. He began like Gayle of old; he hit six fours and three sixes and raced to 48 from 23 balls by the time the powerplay ended. Then in the second part of his innings, he reined himself in - not scoring a boundary until the fifteenth over – and accumulated 13 runs from 21 balls. And finally the end-overs flourish; he got stuck into Mohammed Siraj – off who he had scored 24 runs in the sixth over – hitting him for three boundaries.
The standout feature of Gayle’s innings was his application; he took toll when there was pace on the ball, and was prepared to bide his time knowing the RCB captain would eventually turn to his pacers. Gayle, who would have been dismissed for 0 if only RCB had reviewed an LBW appeal, had a second reprieve on 83 when Virat grassed a straightforward opportunity. The Jamaican needed to score five runs off the last delivery to get to three figures; he could only collect a boundary and therefore finished 99 not out. Gayle’s 64-ball knock contained 10 fours and 5 sixes.
Standout bowling performance
Yuzvendra Chahal was the one bowler who stood out; the leg-spinner bowled better than his figures of 4-0-33-2 would suggest. Chahal, who was introduced into the attack immediately at the conclusion of the powerplay, was welcomed with a six – KL Rahul getting under a length ball and depositing it into the stands at long-on. But Chahal had the last laugh; the very next delivery, he tossed one up and beat the batsman in flight, and Parthiv Patel effected a regulation stumping.
In his next over, he repeated the six-followed-by-wicket act again; after Mayank Agarwal had hit him into the stands at cover, Chahal tossed one up, got the ball to drift and turn, beat the outside edge of the bat and took out the off stump. Chahal’s third and fourth overs were fairly uneventful and he had been bowled out by the end of the 15th over.
For the record, Chahal bowled 12 deliveries at Gayle, and only conceded 11 runs!
Kings XI Punjab: 173-4 (Chris Gayle 99*)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 174-2 in 19.2 overs (Virat Kohli 67, AB de Villiers 59*)
Stat of the Match
With their 85-run partnership, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers became the most prolific partnership in the IPL; they have together added 2793 runs in the IPL, bettering Virat’s partnership aggregate with Chris Gayle.
Man of the Match:
AB de Villiers, for his 59 not out.