IPL 2016: Kohli’s second ton takes RCB back to winning ways

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Image Courtesy: © IPL

IPL 2016: Kohli’s second ton takes RCB back to winning ways

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Arun S Kaimal


Virat Kohli’s 58-ball 108 helped Royal Challengers Bangalore defeat Rising Pune Supergiants by 7 wickets at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru to register their third win of the season. Earlier on Saturday evening, Ajinkya Rahane’s 48-ball 74 helped Pune post a daunting total of 191/6 on board.

Brief Scores: RPS 191/6 in 20 overs (Rahane 74(48), Tiwary 52(39), Watson 3/24) lost to RCB 195/3 in 19.3/20 overs (Kohli 108*(58), Rahul 38(35), Zampa 2/35) by seven wickets

With time running out for both, RCB and RPS clashed at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday in a bid to keep their playoff hopes alive. Tough times call for tough measures, and RCB did just that by benching an out of form Chris Gayle in favour of Travis Head. Sreenath Aravind and Tabraiz Shamsi also exited the team as Chris Jordan made his IPL debut. In the Pune side, injury to Murugan Ashwin paved way for an IPL debut for Adam Zampa. Winning the toss and bowling first has been the favourite decision of captains this season, and it once again continued on Saturday.

Rahane fires yet again at the top

Although Pune have been tottering at the bottom of the table, Ajinkya Rahane has been on a magnificent run scoring five fifties in nine games. He took the count of 50+ scores this season to six on Saturday by anchoring Pune’s innings. Although the away side got off to a quick start scoring 22 runs in the first two overs, they received a blow in the third over after Usman Khawaja ran himself out. The wicket should have stopped the run-flow, but poor fielding from RCB, who dropped three catches and missed a stumping, and grit and determination from Rahane and Saurabh Tiwary kept the run rate surging high.

Kohli kept rotating bowlers in the hope of a wicket, but it made no difference to the duo as they found the ropes at least once each over. Both players brought up their half-centuries in the 12th over as 200+ was looking likely. Although the 106-run stand ended with Tiwary’s departure in the 14th over, Rahane was still there holding one end tight. Watson finally ended Rahane’s 74-run knock in the 18th over.

Wickets at the end broke Pune’s momentum

At the end of the 15th over, Pune were 138/2 with eight wickets in hand. 200 looked doable, but a flurry of wickets at the end limited their score to 191/6. Dhoni, Thisara Perera, and George Bailey departed in quick succession, and if not for the 16-run last over, the total could have been much lower. Shane Watson gave away just 12 runs and picked three wickets in his two overs in the last five and destroyed Pune’s hopes of a 200+ score.

The Virat Kohli show at the top

Apart from the failure against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Virat Kohli has been in magical run scoring six 30+ scores, including a century in his seven innings. Once again it was a Kohli show that lit up the Chinnaswamy stadium. Chasing 192 for a win, RCB needed a good start, and Kohli delivered it by forming a 94-run opening stand with KL Rahul. The fielding positions and bowling changes from Dhoni made little difference to Kohli as he kept on finding the gaps to push the scoring rate up. It all looked easy for Kohli and Rahul in the middle before Aussie leg-spinner Adam Zampa provided a double blow in the 12th over by removing Rahul and de Villiers. Kohli then played the role of a spectator during Shane Watson’s rampage before taking the centre stage again. He smashed Adam Zampa for back-to-back sixes and for a four in the 18th over to make it 22 needed off the last two. The six-hitting continued as he deposited two more in the stands in the 19th over to bring up his second century of the season. He finally finished it in the last over with a four to take the team to a seven-wicket win. 

Shane Watson blitzkrieg 

The Aussie all-rounder, who picked three wickets in the first innings, came in when the side was in a spot of bother at 97/2. In a matter of 13 balls, Watson turned the match completely in favour of the Bengaluru side with a smashing innings of 36. After scoring three off the first three balls, the all-rounder went after Thisara Perera and smashed him for 5 fours in the 14th over. Rajat Bhatia used his slower ones the next over, but it made no difference to Watson as he smashed him for back-to-back sixes. RP Singh removed him the next over, but the required run rate which was 11.87 when he arrived slid back to 10 by the time he departed. 

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