Kings’ falter at the last step : Kings’ XI Punjab (KXIP) needed just four runs in the final delivery to romp home. Chris Jordon bowled a full toss to Marcus Stoinis on the off stump and all that Stoinis could do was to pull it towards the mid-wicket and scramble for a couple of runs. Not having enough swinging room to add power to the shot he could not send the ball to the ropes.
That was the end of the KXIP innings, who finished with 174 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in 20 overs in reply to the score of 175 runs for the loss of 6 wickets scored by Royal Challengers Bangalore in their allotted 20 overs at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali.
Put into bat, the visitors never looked like crossing 140 runs since they kept losing wickets at equal intervals.
KC Cariappa struck two big blows removing KL Rahul (42) in the third ball of the 7th over and also accounted for the danger man Virat Kohli (20), a couple of deliveries later.
The opening duo were going strong and put on 63 runs for the first wicket.
After the twin blows and after losing Shane Watson (1) pretty cheap, AB de Viliers and Sachin Baby, played very cautiously and added a very valuable 88 runs for the fourth wicket.
AB de Villiers took the lead and brought up his half-century in 30 deliveries with the help of 4 fours and a six. He was particularly harsh on Sandeep Sharma as he picked up 11 runs (1*6, 1*4, 1) in the 18th over but succumbed to a wide yorker, while trying to steer the same to the wide of the short third-man region, but ended in giving an easy catch to Cariappa.
He scored 64 runs off 35 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes.
Sachin Baby and Travis Head played the next two overs and took the score to 175 runs, while Baby was run-out of the last delivery, trying to take a ‘non-existing’ second run.
Sandeep Sharma and KC Cariappa picked up a couple of wickets each.
The chase started off well with Murali Vijay and Hashim Amla (21) adding 45 runs in 5.3 overs, losing Amla’s wicket, with Shane Watson doing the damage.
While Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha were seemed to be steadying the innings, Saha came fairly down the track to lift Yuzvendra Chahal delivery off to the stands, completely missed and the ball sailed behind the stumps to KL Rahul, who also failed to collect it cleanly and could not stump. However, before Saha could retrace the steps into the crease, Rahul collected the ball whipped off the bails and Saha (16) was ‘run-out’.
In the very next delivery of the same over, Chahal removed David Miller (0) even before he could open his account, stumped by Rahul.
The loss of two quick wickets put KXIP on the backfoot.
Vijay and Stoinis, who had joined him at the fall of Miller’s wicket, went on building the innings. Vijay brought up his half-ton in 36 deliveries with the help of 5 fours and a six.
Just as the game was moving into the control of KXIP, Watson bowled one wide outside the off stump. Vijay tried to pull it over square leg boundary but only succeeded in giving an easy catch to Chahal.
Vijay scored 89 runs off 57 balls studded with 12 fours and 1 six.
With 37 runs required from 18 balls, Stoinis, in the company of Farhan Berherdian, kept up the pressure on RCB bowlers. They both added 13 runs in the 18th over, 7 runs in the 19th over and another 13 runs in first 5 deliveries of the 20th over bowled by Chris Jordan and could score only 2 runs off the last delivery.
Stoinis remained unbeaten on 34* runs while Beherdian was unbeaten on 9* runs as KXIP innings folded at 174 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
Watson was the most successful bowler ending with the analysis of 4-0-22-2.
This win was a great relief for RCB given the close defeats that they had faced in this tournament.
Shane Watson was awarded the Player of the Match.
At the post-match presentation, Watson said, “Nice to get a bit of momentum for RCB. To be able to get a couple of wins back-to-back, nice to put a few smiles on a lot of people”s faces. It”s really simple. It”s about trying to be as clear as I can be about the ball I want to bowl at the top of my mark. It”s really trying to pre-empt what the batsman is trying to do, it helps that I”m also a batsman, and then bowl a ball that is slightly out of the hitting zone.”
A dejected Murali Vijay said, “We were in the game till the last over. It was a good game of cricket. Lots of positives to take forward. Like the batting, we took the game till the last overs, and the bowlers did well to keep them to 170 after AB de Villiers” innings. I didn”t want to change the fields too much, because anyway he was going to play with the fields, so I told them to stick to their plans. I told Stoinis to stay till the end, there was no bounce on the wicket, so just play cricketing shots and stay till the end, anything can happen.”
A relieved Virat Kohli said, “Two points in the bag, they feel as sweet as the 50-run win in the first game. Glad to cross the line. It was really tense in the end, I would credit Murali Vijay, the way he was batting, the wicket wasn”t that easy to bat on. He batted with a lot of composure, ran lots of twos. KL was going well, so I thought, just hang in there, play the anchor role. Losing two wickets in an over was criminal. You need world-class players to step up, and AB de Villiers did it for us. No one else would have been able to execute some of the shots he played. Every ball matters in this format. You can”t keep thinking about what has gone wrong before that ball. Credit to Chris Jordan, and the way he kept his composure in the last two balls and finished it for us.”