Kohli’s onslaught puts Sunrisers in the shade

K.C. Vijaya Kumar
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Perera and White play a good hand for the Hyderabad side

CALLING THE SHOTS:Virat Kohli's blitzkrieg took Royal Challengers Bangalore to victory with 2.2 overs to spare.— Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar
CALLING THE SHOTS:Virat Kohli's blitzkrieg took Royal Challengers Bangalore to victory with 2.2 overs to spare.— Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

Deserted by regular batting allies like Chris Gayle and A.B. de Villiers, Virat Kohli still found his inner fires to quell Sunrisers Hyderabad in a Pepsi IPL match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.

Gayle and de Villiers may have flattered to deceive but there was no stopping the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper’s onslaught (93 n.o., 47b, 11x4, 4x6), that gave his team a seven-wicket win much to the delight of his teammates, sore as they were with the Super Over loss to the same rival at Hyderabad on Sunday. Pursuing Sunrisers’ 161 for six, RCB cantered home in 17.4 overs.

Ploy backfires

Sunrisers’ captain Kumar Sangakkara again employed Hanuma Vihari for the first over but the ploy that worked in Hyderabad did not yield the desired result as Gayle, from the non-striker’s end, watched Mayank Agarwal lash 11 runs. During his cameo, Mayank also pounded Ishant Sharma before Thisara Perera, bolstered by his earlier batting stint, scalped the RCB youngster.

The showdown between Gayle and Dale Steyn also did not provide the desired thrills and with Ishant luring a tame prod from RCB’s talisman, the rescue-act hinged entirely on Kohli and de Villiers, who replaced Tillakaratne Dilshan in the playing eleven.

Kohli was power and placement personified as he punched Perera for four and then hoisted a six each off the seamer and Cameron White.

In the interim, de Villiers, after clouting Ashish Reddy, pulled White straight to the fielder on the mid-wicket boundary.

Kohli remained unflustered and ushered his men towards a victory that seemed as inevitable as his sixes against Amit Mishra in an over that cost Sunrisers 21 runs.

Soon, Kohli flung his arms skywards and embraced Moises Henriques, with whom he shared a match-winning unbeaten 66-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Calm before the storm

Earlier, the Sunrisers’ batting stint was divided into two parts. A turgid 15-over phase at a steady run-rate of 6.53 was literally the calm before the storm. A teaser trailer of what was in store being revealed through Perera’s six off Murali Kartik.

That big blow in the last delivery of the 13th over resonated in the last five overs as Perera and partner White unleashed their runs at break-neck speed.

The duo lofted six more sixes as a Henriques over went for 18 runs and the next delivered by Vinay Kumar was scattered for 19.

R.P. Singh, making his debut for RCB, grabbed a wicket and conceded just six runs in the last over but Sunrisers had found some belated lustre thanks to Perera and White’s 80-run fourth-wicket partnership off a mere 45 deliveries that covered the cracks in the Sunrisers’ top-order.

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