A scintillating late onslaught by Chris Morris and steady batting performance by Virat Kohli steered Royal Challengers Bangalore to a competitive 171 for 6 against bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Kohli elected to bat after winning the toss. Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen justified his captain’s decision with a sensible batting display.
Royal Challengers Bangalore got off to a cracking start through Aaron Finch (20) and Devdutt Padikkal (18). They put on 38 runs for the first wicket in four overs.
However, after a bright start, RCB was then strangled by spin, with leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin (2 for 23) being the wrecker-in-chief. After conceding a four of the previous ball, Ashwin bowled a superb leg-spinning delivery to disturb the furniture of Finch.
Virat Kohli (48: 39 balls, 3×4) came in to bat in the fifth over and brilliantly anchored the RCB innings from then on. He did not go for the lofted shots and instead played the waiting game.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s ploy of sending in young left-handers Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube ahead of last-match hero AB de Villiers to counter KXIP’s leg spinners blew up in their faces.
Mohammed Shami picked up both Kohli and De Villiers in the 18th over to give Kings XI Punjab an upper hand.
However, Chris Morris, who remained unbeaten on 25, exploded in the last couple of overs to salvage the RCB innings and provide a better looking total in the end.
Shami bowled the last over which proved quite expensive and damaged his bowling analysis. Morris scooped an attempted yorker for four to fine leg to bring 150 for RCB.
Sri Lanka’s Isuru Udana went for a big smash and hammered the ball to six off the bouncer.
Morris then pummelled a six over long-off. Adding salt to the wounds of Shami, the all-rounder walloped another huge six to square leg to finish the innings in style. Experienced Shami conceded 24 runs off the last over as Morris ended up with 25 off 8 balls.
KXIP are languishing at the bottom of the table despite having the top-two leading run-getters of the tournament in the form of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
The two teams have faced each other 25 times in the IPL so far, and KXIP slightly lead the head-to-head count 13-12.
Earlier in the first leg encounter in Dubai on September 24, the Punjab-based franchise handed the RCB a 97-run drubbing. KL Rahul’s record-breaking innings of 132 not out was the highlight of the match.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 48, Chris Morris 25 not out, Shivam Dube 23, Aaron Finch 20, Devdutt Padikkal 18, Washington Sundar 13, Isuru Udana 10 not out; Murugan Ashwin 2-23, Mohammed Shami 2-45, Arshdeep Singh 1-20, Chris Jordan 1-20) vs Kings XI Punjab.