IPL: Royals dethrone Kings in a must-win game

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Bengaluru, May 19 (IANS) Hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) dethroned Kings XI Punjab on early Thursday by 91 runs in a must-win league tie to keep its hopes of a place in play-offs alive in the IPL-9 season at the Chinnaswamy stadium here.

Chasing an imposing target of 212 in 15 overs RCB had set by piling up a whopping 211 for three wickets in 15 overs after heavy rain delayed the match by 110 minutes on Wednesday night, Kings scrambled to make 120 for 9 wickets in 14 overs, when sudden rain again forced the umpires to call off the match.

The third consecutive victory propelled the home team to the second position from fifth position in the points table, with 14 points from seven wins in 13 games by virtue of its record net run rate of +0.926, ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Mumbai Indians (MI) and Guajrat Lions (GL) who all have 14 points each with 7 wins.

Chances of a berth in semis brightening up with a hat-trick of victories, RCB will play its last league tie against Delhi Daredevils on May 22 at Raipur in Chattisgarh to stay on the course.

After RCB’s openers Chris Gayle and skipper Virat Kohli rattled the Kings XI bowlers to register a record 149-run first wicket partnership in 67 balls (11.1 overs), it was the turn of Royal bowlers to dominate the game by unsettling the latter’s batsmen and making the contest one-sided.

As Kings lost wickets at regular intervals, its top and middle order failed again, with Wriddhiman Saha being the top scorer at 24 in 10 balls.

RCB’s only leggi Yuzvendra Chala was the most successful bowler taking four wickets in three overs for 25 runs, while Shane Watson and S. Arvind bagged two each in two overs each.

Earlier, put to bat by Kings XI skipper Murali Vijay who opted to field despite winning the toss, man-of-the-match Kohli set a new record by scoring his fourth century (113 in 50 balls with 8 sixes and 12 fours) in this IPL season and Chris Gayle returned to form by hitting 73 in 32 balls with 8 sixes and four boundaries.

Desperate efforts by Vijay to break the partnership or get either of them out early failed as Kolhi and Gayle were in full cry and batted with disdain.

While the first 50 came in 4.4 overs of the six-over power play, the first 100 of RCB’s innings came in 8.5 overs.

Though Vijay used as many as five bowlers to contain the openers, there was no respite for Kings till Gayle got caught by David Miller of Arshad Patel ball in 11 over when RCB score was 147 on the board.

After in-form AB de Villiers was bowled for a duck in 12th over, keeper K.L. Rahul joined Kohli to take the score to 199 when the skipper was caught by Miller off Sandeep Sharma ball at 113 comprising 8 sixes and 12 fours in just 50 balls.

Rahul and Kohli were involved in a 45-run third wicket partnership in 15 balls.

Rahul remained till the end at 16 not out.

Patel, Sharma and Abbot of Kings shared one wicket each of RCB’s batters.

RCB retained the same team that won by 9 wickets over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Kolkata on May 16, while Punjab made three changes, bringing in Farhaan Behardien, Kyle Abbot and K.C. Cariappa in place of Glen Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Anureet Singh.

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