Royal Challengers Bangalore live to fight another day as they beat Kings XI Punjab in yet another close match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday to move up to seventh place in the table. The win also kept their campaign alive in the tournament.
Defending 202 on a good batting wicket, the Royal Challengers rode on some superb death-over bowling by Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini to restrict Kings XI to 185 for 7 in 20 overs. The win was Bangalore’s third in succession and the second against Punjab this season. IPL 2019, RCB vs KXIP – Match Report | Highlights
For the first time this season, Bangalore moved up a position in the points table and the relief was written large on captain Virat Kohli’s face when he came for the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Yeah, we’ve won four of the five. Could have been five out of five. We were just looking to enjoy the cricket and tonight was a great example of having fun. The game changing partnership was Marcus (Stoinis) and AB (de Villiers). They brought us to 200 which looked highly unlikely. We thought 175 would have been good.
“The only focus was to play well as a team. Losing six in a row really hurt us. Literally no one in the team has been part of such a streak. So we just refreshed, thought about just enjoying ourselves and the important thing now is not to take on any pressure. We know how we play. The world knows how we play. Moeen (Ali) and Washi (Washington Sundar) bowled really well and having six-seven bowling options really help. Also Marcus as the all-rounder gives a lot of flexibility,” Kohli said.
AB de Villiers’ unbeaten 82 off 44 balls and Marcus Stoinis’s unbeaten 46 off 34 balls took RCB to a challenging 202 for 4 and things could have gone awry with young Nicholas Pooran (46 off 28 balls) hitting five sixes at the rear before Saini sealed it in the 19th over.
Needing 30 off the last two overs, Saini (2 for 33), who is one of India’s fastest bowlers, produced a hostile over in which he removed the dangerous David Miller (24) and Pooran but more importantly gave away only three runs.
Saini bowled fast and into the body of the batsmen, who couldn’t really get going and his aggression became the defining factor in the end.
Defending 27 runs off the final over, Umesh Yadav (3 for 33) was better than the other night against CSK as he got a couple of wickets. He removed R Ashwin and Hardus Viljoen off successive deliveries after getting hit for a six off the first ball to seal the deal in Bangalore’s favour.
With four wins in the last five games, RCB will hope to win the remaining three and expect a few favourable results to make it to the play-offs as rank outsiders.