Kings XI Punjab beat Royal Challengers Bangalore with an eye on Play-offs


Bengaluru: The M Chinnaswamy Stadium seems to have become a bowler’s paradise, a drastic shift from last year. Batting and huge scores had been the hallmark of this ground, which looks like a thing of the past these days.

When Kings XI Punjab scored 138/7 after being put in, there was some hope that Royal Challengers Bangalore would be able to make a match of it. That was not to be. Apart from Mandeep Singh’s 46, there was very little resistance. The chase stopped at 119 in 19 overs.

Sandeep Sharma rocked the hosts early, by claiming the big three of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers by the fifth over. Heart taken out of the line-up, the team just caved in after that. A late rally led by Pawan Negi revived faint hopes, but it was too little.

Out of contention for the playoffs, RCB had to produce something special to win the remaining matches. Sadly, it just does not seem to be working. While fielding, their body language reflected positivity. When they got down to chasing, it was just hopeless.

“It was bad timing that so many batsmen got out so soon. We wanted to take advantage in the first six overs but that just did not happen,” said RCB bowler Aniket Choudhary.

Despite RCB’s lacklustre performance, the stadium saw a full house. It is learnt that their next home game against Kolkata Knight Riders has seen roaring ticket sales. It looks like the Bengaluru crowd is firmly behind the team, notwithstanding the outcome of the games.

It was a good toss to win. KXIP were struggling to get runs on the board. There were a few good hits, but when batsmen slacked a little bit, they had to make their way back to the pavilion.

“The wicket was slow and there was low bounce. We had to play straight bat shots. That is what we did well. We thought 150 would be a good total and the 19 runs in the last over was a game-changer,” said Patel. His team stays in contention, with 10 points from 10 matches.Axar Patel (38 not out) and Manan Vohra (25) were the highest scorers. Yuzvendra Chahal and Choudhary bagged two wickets apiece. Patel’s contribution turned out to be invaluable. Runs were hard to come by and each one was going to be crucial. Though they lost wickets regularly, Patel stood strong. His sixth-wicket stand of 34 with Wriddhiman Saha was most welcome. The last over of the innings from Shane Watson was rather profitable, with 19 coming off it.