Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting comes a cropper while chasing a big target

With an army of strong hitters on both sides, this contest had offered much hope to the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium of being a run-heavy blockbuster.

As it turned out, most of the fire came from one direction as a rampant Kings XI Punjab laid waste to Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Friday.

David Miller and man-of-the-match Sandeep Sharma played leading roles as the home team, in pursuit of 199, sank to a dire 32-run defeat.

The win was Punjab’s seventh in eight games in the Pepsi IPL, its two-point lead at the top of the table now restored. RCB, meanwhile, will seriously worry after a fifth loss in the competition.

The outcome was never truly in doubt during the run chase, RCB crumbling to 50 for five inside 10 overs. That the margin was limited to its eventual extent was largely due to the fire-fighting efforts of A.B. de Villiers, who made a valiant 26-ball-53.

Sandeep strikes

Sandeep bothered RCB just as he had in Dubai last month, removing Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli cheaply off consecutive balls. Kohli was deemed caught-behind, after a slight delay when the umpires waited to see if Wriddhiman Saha had held it cleanly. Parthiv Patel was Sandeep’s next victim, the bowler finishing with figures of three for 25 from his four overs.

Yuvraj Singh’s troubles seem incessant. He was a picture of agony here, needing seven balls to get off strike, struggling to score off the 20-year-old debutant Shivam Sharma. The same bowler finally ended his suffering, claiming Yuvraj for three (11b). de Villiers and Albie Morkel launched a few into the night sky, but with the enormity of the target, their efforts were never going to be adequate.

Asked to bat, Punjab soared away on the back of a robust opening partnership, Virender Sehwag and Mandeep Singh adding 60 runs inside six overs.

Sehwag may not be the unstoppable force of old but he still treats the new ball with the same irreverence. He struck five boundaries in his 30, before the openers fell in the space of seven balls.

The tornado that is Glenn Maxwell then made landfall. The Australian walked out to a huge roar — a sign of his burgeoning reputation — and put away his first delivery past point for four. He then tore into Yuvraj, striking successive, clean sixes in an eighth over that brought 19 runs.

Maxwell was dismissed, however, before he could completely alter the aspect of the contest. He fell for an 11-ball-25, sweeping Yuzvendra Chahal straight to Mitchell Starc at deep midwicket.

Any delight at containing Maxwell, though, evaporated as Miller stepped on the pedal. Varun Aaron was hit for three fours in one over and Harshal Patel, who had a miserable evening with the ball, clubbed twice for six. The second of those strikes off Harshal sailed over the roof, taking Miller to a 23-ball fifty.

The South African was removed by Aaron, caught sharply on the offside by Chahal for 66. Punjab had managed only 33 runs between overs 10 and 15, but 58 came off the last five as the total swelled. Its charge would not be halted.

Scoreboard

Kings XI Punjab: Virender Sehwag c Kohli b Chahal 30 (24b, 5x4), Mandeep Singh c Morkel b Harshal 21 (15b, 2x4), Glenn Maxwell c Starc b Chahal 25 (11b, 2x4, 2x6), David Miller c Chahal b Aaron 66 (29b, 8x4, 3x6), George Bailey c Parthiv b Morkel 1 (7b), Wriddhiman Saha c de Villiers b Harshal 17 (17b, 1x6), Mitchell Johnson (not out) 16 (12b, 1x4, 1x6), Akshar Patel b Starc 2 (3b), Shivam Sharma b Starc 4 (2b, 1x4), L. Balaji (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-2, nb-2, w-11): 15; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 198.

Fall of wickets: 1-60 (Mandeep), 2-68 (Sehwag), 3-93 (Maxwell), 4-116 (Bailey), 5-170 (Miller), 6-184 (Saha), 7-189 (Akshar), 8-193 (Shivam).

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-43-2, Albie Morkel 4-0-20-1, Varun Aaron 4-0-35-1, Harshal Patel 3-0-56-2, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-23-2, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-19-0.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle c Saha b Sandeep 4 (7b, 1x4), Parthiv Patel c Mandeep b Sandeep 13 (14b, 3x4), Virat Kohli c Saha b Sandeep 0 (1b), Sachin Rana b Akshar 18 (16b, 2x4, 1x6), A.B. de Villiers c Akshar b Balaji 53 (26b, 1x4, 5x6), Yuvraj Singh c Sehwag b Shivam 3 (11b), Albie Morkel c Bailey b Shivam 16 (8b, 2x6), Mitchell Starc c Miller b Balaji 29 (23b, 4x4), Harshal Patel c Saha b Johnson 6 (3b, 1x4), Varun Aaron (not out) 17 (11b, 1x4, 1x6), Yuzvendra Chahal (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-1, w-4, nb-1): 6; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 166.

Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Gayle), 2-8 (Kohli), 3-26 (Parthiv), 4-39 (Rana), 5-50 (Yuvraj), 6-76 (Morkel), 7-125 (de Villiers), 8-133 (Harshal), 9-153 (Starc).

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Sandeep Sharma 4-0-25-3, Mitchell Johnson 4-0-25-1, L. Balaji 3-0-43-2, Akshar Patel 4-0-22-1, Shivam Sharma 4-0-26-2, Glenn Maxwell 1-0-24-0.

Man-of-the-match: Sandeep Sharma

Kings XI Punjab won by 32 runs