Virat Kohli and Shane Watson combined in spectacular style to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a remarkable seven-wicket victory chasing 192 in their IPL match against the Rising Pune Supergiants at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore yesterday.
RCB captain Kohli played the ultimate leader’s innings with an unbeaten 108 from a mere 58 deliveries to secure victory with three balls to spare and keep alive his team’s faint hopes of reaching the play-offs.
The defeat, however, has all but ended the hopes of the Supergiants of progressing beyond the group stages.
Even Kohli’s innings would have been insufficient, however, without an astonishing burst of hitting from Watson who arrived at the crease following the departure of AB de Villiers at 97-2 at the beginning of the 12th over. The required rate was almost 12 an over.
Watson smashed five fours and two sixes from his first 12 balls before he was trapped lbw when slog-sweeping seamer RP Singh for 36 from 13 balls.
Opener Lokesh Rahul did his best to derail the run chase with a painful 38 from 35 balls but Watson put things back on track and Kohli finished the job.
Ajinkya Rahane earlier top-scored for the visitors with an elegant 74 from 48 deliveries with eight fours and a pair of sixes but Saurabh Tiwary was a little sluggish in perfect batting conditions with 52 from 39 balls in a second-wicket stand of 106.
Sri Lankan allrounder Thisara Perera smacked 14 from eight balls and further acceleration was provided in the final few deliveries by Rajat Bhatia and Ravi Ashwin who hit a six apiece in making 19 from nine balls between them.
England allrounder Chris Jordan, hired by the Royal Challengers to provide them with a legitimate death bowling option, conceded 43 runs from his four overs but Watson was outstanding, picking up three wickets, including that of Rahane, at a cost of just 24 runs.
Rahane and Tiwary stabilised the visitors’ innings after opener Usman Khawaja (16) departed early. Tiwary survived two catches and a stumping in the sixth over when Stuart Binny and Sachin Baby dropped him. He went on to build a partnership of 105 runs with Rahane.
Attempting a big shot off Yuzvendra Chahal, Tiwary was short of the crease and was stumped by wicket-keeper Rahul in the 15th over. Rahane hit a 48-ball-74 peppered with two sixes and eight fours.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9), Thisara Perera (14) and George Bailey (0) fizzled out with the bat. Dhoni managed to hit a six off Watson in the 16th, only to throw his wicket away while attempting a big shot. He was caught by Parveez Rasool at third man.
Ravichandran Ashwin managed to steal 10 runs in five balls in the last over.
Watson (3/24) emerged the most successful bowler for RCB with an economy rate of six in his quota of four overs. After taking a catch from Perera, Watson went on to castle Rahane with the first ball of the 19th over. Three balls later, he sent Bailey back to the dugout caught-behind. Continuing his good form, Chahal took one wicket, giving away 38 runs while Jordan was the only other bowler to claim a wicket.
With this win, RCB stand at second last position in the points table with six points while Pune also have the same points but ahead at better net run rate.
“I was pretty determined today. Last time in Hyderabad we had to chase down 192 and we were pumped up. Today I was motivated to go that extra mile and we need to win six out of seven remaining games to qualify. I’m just happy we could pull that one off,” said Kohli.
“It’s never easy in a chase when you need to find boundaries at the right time. There were brilliant contributions from Rahul and Watson in the middle overs too. It’s about understanding the situation and doing what suits best at that time. Even today I was not keen on celebrating too much after the hundred, the victory matters more for the team,” the RCB skipper added.
Pune Supergiants: 191/6 (Ajinkya Rahane 74, Saurabh Tiwary 52; Shane Watson 3/24, Yuzvendra Chahal 1/38) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore: 195/3 in 19.3 overs (Virat Kohli 108, KL Rahul 38, Shane Watson 36; Adam Zampa 2/35, RP Singh 1/37) by 7 wickets
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