AB de Villiers hit an unbeaten 82 as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Kings XI Punjab by 17 runs in Bengaluru on Wednesday to stormed to their 3rd successive victory in the 2019 Indian Premier League. RCB still have a chance of making it to the play-offs as they moved up from the last spot in the points table for the first time this season.
AB de Villiers hit his 5th fifty in 10 matches in the 2019 IPL before Umesh Yadav (3 for 36) and Navdeep Saini (2 for 33) bowled brilliantly in the closing stages of the game to deny Kings XI Punjab victory after a brilliant knock from Nicholas Pooran.
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Chasing 203, Kings XI Punjab had no option but to start strong. Chris Gayle took care of that for KXIP as he hit 4 fours and a six in 9 deliveries. He had blazed away to 23 before AB de Villiers caught him at long-on off the bowling of Umesh Yadav.
KXIP were overtly dependent on KL Rahul and to an extent Chris Gayle in 2018. This season, both men have been in top form again but Mayank Agarwal’s hitting prowess has been a huge bonus. KL Rahul played some cracking shots to keep KXIP in the hunt while Agarwal looked solid at the other end.
At the end of 6 overs, KXIP were 68 for 1 in pursuot of a steep target.
After the strategic time out, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal upped the ante further and the KXIP camp sensed a special win was on the cards. But Marcus Stoinis gave RCB a crucial breakthrough when he dismissed Agarwal off the first delivery of the 10th over. In the next over, Moeen Ali struck with his first ball to see off KL Rahul for 42 off 27 and Virat Kohli was overjoyed.
The momentum shifted suddenly but there was still hope for KXIP with David Miller and Nicholas Pooran in the middle. KXIP had kept in touch with the required rate but suddenly they fell behind as RCB made a strong comeback with the two quick wickets of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul.
David Miller was the senior pro in the middle but it was Nicholas Pooran who took the initiative and smashed Washington Sundar for 3 sixes in his 2nd over. The momentum was back with KXIP and Pooran was celebrating his World Cup call-up in style. However, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini turned it around for RCB with some splendid pace bowling at the back-end.
Umesh Yadav gave away only 6 runs in the 18th over while Navdeep Saini removed Miller (24) and Pooran (46) in the penultimate over to seal the deal for RCB. They have defeated KXIP twice this summer and this win was their 3rd successive after a string of defeats.
Virat Kohli’s 5th IPL hundred had won it for RCB against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. In Bengaluru, MS Dhoni nearly pulled off a sensational win for Chennai Super Kings but RCB held on for a 1-run win on Sunday.
Earlier in the evening. Royal Challengers Bangalore got off to an explosive start after Kings XI Punjab captain R Aswhin won the toss and opted to field. Virat Kohli was looking particularly dangerous but his stay was cut short by Mohammed Shami in the 4th over of the RCB innings.
But Parthiv Patel has been in spectacular form in the 2019 Indian Premier League and he was undeterred by the loss of Virat Kohli. AB de Villiers watched in awe at the other end as Parthiv Patel played some stunning shots to keep KXIP under pressure.
WATCH: Parthiv Patel’s whirlwind 43(24)
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On Sunday, Parthiv Patel had played a top knock against Chennai Super Kings in a thriller in Bengaluru and was named man-of-the-match. On Wednesday, Parthiv was on fire again as he smashed 7 fours and 2 sixes in what was a sensational power play for Royal Challengers Bangalore even after Virat Kohli was dismissed early.
It took a lovely googly from M Ashwin to outfox Parthiv Patel who edged it and was caught easily by R Ashwin at cover. Parthiv was gutted and he began his slow walk back to the pavillion after standing at the crease and looking utterly dejected. Within the next 10 runs, RCB lost Moeen Ali and Akshadeep Nath but with AB de Villiers still in the middle, RCB were hopeful of a big total.
AB de Villiers paired up with Marcus Stoinis and both men sent the KXIP bowlers on a leather hunt. While de Villiers hit 3 fours and 7 sixes to remain unbeaten on 82 off 44 balls, Stoinis was not out on 46 and hit 3 sixes.
AB de Villiers retired from international cricket last year but he has hit 5 fifties and 414 runs in 10 matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2019 Indian Premier League. In fact, he is 5th in the list of highest run-scorers this season and is the highest scorer for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Virat Kohli, who hit his 5th IPL hundred a few days back, has 400 runs from 11 matches.