The first innings of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab witnessed a big surprise when Virat Kohli’s men were batting. Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube walked ahead of in-form AB de Villiers, in Sharjah on Thursday. The decision to demote the South African was baffling considering the South African had hit a scintillating half-century in their last game at the same venue. The plan failed, as he scored two.
But, Punjab taught Bangalore a lesson or two, putting a player’s form over everything else when it came to their batting line-up. They could have opened with Chris Gayle, who was playing his first match of the season, but they stuck to KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal’s combination at the top. And they showed why.
Chasing 172 to win, both delivered, with Rahul remaining 61 not out while his partner managed 45 to play an integral role and set the base for others to follow. Punjab, once again, nearly faltered from a winning position (2 needed from last over), but Nicholas Pooran hit a last ball six to secure the victory. This is their second win of the season and both have come against Bangalore.
The openers were in full flow in the powerplay. That flying start of 56 in the first six overs meant, even after Mayank was out in the eight over, Gayle (53) could take his time. The southpaw was 6 from 14 but changed gears after getting his eye in. But it was Rahul, who put them in control for the majority of the match. His innings included one four and five sixes.Earlier,
Bangalore, who opted to bat first could not really get going in the middle overs, which proved to be their undoing. Even Kohli (48), who was playing in his 200th scored 32 from 31 balls after the field restrictions were over. A late onslaught from Chris Morris steered them to 171/6, but it did not prove to be enough.