Most would remember Royal Challengers Bangalore’s late charge in IPL 2016, where a pumped-up team won 5 games on the trot to qualify to the playoffs and go on to even reach the final. Those were memorable days for RCB fans but ever since then, they were not able to win consecutive matches again, until last night.
When you look at the way RCB played against Kings XI Punjab yesterday, you would wonder why the team isn’t at the top of the IPL 2018 points table. They bowled brilliantly, took wonderful outfield catches, effected three run-outs and then also came out and completed the chase without losing any wickets.
Everything went RCB’s way last night, right from winning the toss and electing to field first. Their bowlers, especially Umesh Yadav, were spitting fire in the powerplay overs and they managed to pick the wickets of three in-form batsmen, including those of the Punjab openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. These were important wickets as both are former RCB batsmen and they would’ve been looking to score big.
Most expected KXIP to consolidate after losing three within the powerplay, but they kept playing reckless shots and running needless runs, while good bowling from the Bangalore bowlers only made things worse for them as they were all sent back to the hut within 16 overs; they put up just 88 on the board, which became the lowest total of the season. Umesh finished with 3/23 – the same figures he had in the reverse fixture between these two teams.
Knocking off these runs wasn’t an issue for RCB but knocking them off quickly and boosting their Net Run Rate was vital. Knowing this, captain Virat Kohli took the onus upon himself to finish off this match quickly. He ended with 48(28)*, while Parthiv Patel played a beautiful knock of 40(22)*, to finish off the run chase in just 8.1 overs. Man of the Match: Umesh Yadav.