Virat Kohli scored another half-century and won another chase as Royal Challengers Bangalore booked their place in the playoffs with a 6-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils at Raipur on Sunday. Earlier, Delhi Daredevils posted a disappointing total of 138 with Quinton de Kock fighting a lone battle.
With Kolkata Knight Riders grabbing the third qualification spot for the playoffs in the game which was played earlier in the day, the equation was simple for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils—win the match and qualify for the playoffs.
RCB made the perfect start to their evening by winning the toss and opting to bowl first. Virat Kohli announced one change to their team with Iqbal Abdulla replacing Varun Aaron. Delhi Daredevils, on the other hand, made two changes to their lineup—JP Duminy was replaced by Sam Billings, while the fit-again Chris Morris also returned to the team.
1. Quinton de Kock the lone warrior
The South African has been the most consistent Delhi batsman this season, and sadly for him, he has not always received the support he deserves from his teammates; not consistently at least. He received an early lifeline in the second over when Chris Jordan dropped him at backward point, and de Kock made the most of it.
He saw six Delhi batsmen depart at the other end on his way to his fourth 50+ score this season. The 23-year-old had to cut down his stroke play in order to anchor the Delhi innings, which was a shame since he was timing the ball beautifully in this innings. Eventually, he departed in the 17th over when Jordan got a second chance to catch him at long-off.
2. Questionable batting order
Why Delhi choose to bring in Pawan Negi ahead of both Carlos Braithwaite and Chris Morris will remain a mystery - especially with de Kock still anchoring the innings at the other end. Negi failed to get going and was eventually dismissed after wasting 12 deliveries. Chris Morris, who had shown tremendous ability to accelerate this season in the IPL, came in to bat at number 8 and scored 27 runs off 18 deliveries—if only he had come higher up the order. Delhi scored just 63 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings, despite having two of the most powerful hitters of the ball in the tournament. However, a lot of credit should also go to the RCB spinners, Chahal in particular, who tied down the Delhi batsmen in the middle overs.
3. Rahul takes the bull by the horns
After an initial scare, where a fired-up Chris Morris dismantled the stumps of Chris Gayle, and Zaheer Khan, probably bowling for the last time in IPL, picked up the wicket of AB de Villiers with a ball which bounced a bit more than the South African expected, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli steadied the RCB innings. The duo formed a crucial 66-run partnership, which was surprisingly dominated by Rahul. The 24-year-old played some scintillating shots all around the park during his entertaining knock of 38 runs off just 23 balls.
4. No stopping the Kohli juggernaut
14 innings – 919 runs – 91.90 avg – 152.40 SR – 4 centuries – 6 half-centuries! Simply astounding numbers. There is no stopping this man this season, he is simply playing cricket at a different level to everyone around him at the moment. This was not the most aggressive or flashy knocks he has played so far in this IPL, but it came in the most important game of the season for his team. He started off slowly as his team got off to a poor start, and with KL Rahul going all guns blazing, he kept his head down and anchored the innings. Eventually, he did shed his shackles and played some breathtaking shots to take his team over the line. What a player!
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