Bangalore: AB De Villiers and Umesh Yadav were the stars of the day for Royal Challengers Bangalore as they beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets to register their first win of the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season at the Chinnaswamy Swamy Stadium in Bangalore on Friday.
With this victory, Bangalore have opened their account as far as the IPL points table is concerned while as for Punjab, this was their first defeat of the season.
Chasing a modest target of 156, RCB got off to the worst start possible as Axar Patel removed opener Brendon McCullum on the second ball of the innings itself. Virat Kohli came out to bat early and he put on a good partnership with Quinton de Kock to steady the Bangalore ship. The duo started hitting boundaries from the word go to take the attack to the Punjab bowlers.
But the 17-year old Afghanistan star Mujeeb Ur Rahman had other ideas as he rattled the middle stumps of Kohli when he was batting on 21.
Kohli’s wicket brought AB De Villiers at the crease and the two South Africans started the rebuilding job for the home side. The duo stitched together a fifty-run partnership to take Bangalore closer to the 100-run mark and at this point Bangalore were cruising in the match.
However, skipper Ashwin reintroduced himself into the attack and the decision to do so worked wonders as he scalped the wickets of De Kock and Sarfaraz Khan off successive deliveries to bring his team right back into the contest.
Mandeep Singh joined De Villiers at the crease and the duo kept the scoreboard ticking with the help of singles and doubles. De Villiers then upped the ante in the 17th over when he smacked Mujeeb for two sixes and then in the next over, he slammed another one to bring up his fifty in style.
But then, in the penultimate over, Andrew Tye handed Punjab a faint lifeline by getting rid of De Villiers on the first ball. Mandeep Singh, in trying to take a double, threw away his wicket and he ran himself out.
But the damage had already been done as Washington Sundar hit the winning runs and Bangalore got off the mark in the league with this thrilling win.
Earlier, batting first, Punjab were stung by a special over from Umesh and they were dismissed for 155 in 19.2 overs. Umesh picked up three, while Washington Sundar, Kulwant Khejroliya and Chris Woakes ended the innings with two wickets each.
However, Punjab were off to a flier in the match as openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal started to hit boundaries from the word go. Rahul was the aggressor of the two and he simply tore part the Bangalore bowling line-up early on.
But all that changed in the fourth over of the innings when Umesh scalped the wickets of Mayank, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh inside six deliveries. Mayank was caught by wicket-keeper de Kock while Finch was adjudged LBW on the first ball itself. But the best of the lot was Yuvraj’s dismissal as he saw his middle stump fly away.
Rahul found an able partner in Karun Nair and the duo put on a 58-run stand to steady the Punjab ship. But Rahul lost his concentration and he gave away an easy catch to Sarfaraz off the bowling of Washington Sundar.
Karun Nair and Marcus Stoinis followed suit soon as Punjab started to lose wicket in a head during the middle overs. Skipper R Ashwin played a handy hand and struck a 21-ball 33 but a late burst from Chris Woakes ensured that Punjab were dismissed before playing their full quota of 20 overs.