Rahul punishes Stoinis
Marcus Stoinis all-round performance had fetched him the Man-of-the-Match award in the KXIP’s previous game against Delhi Daredevils, but he did not have a good start against RCB. He dropped Virat Kohli in the third over at backward point and came on to bowl immediately after the miss and was tonked for 20 runs. Stoinis had bowled slower deliveries against DD with good effect, however, KL Rahul had the Australian well scouted as the Karnataka batsman hit him for three fours and a six in the fourth over. Rahul punished two short deliveries from the medium-pacer and then danced down the track to hoist one over sweeper cover for a six. The third four of the over came in the third man region.
Cariappa opens the floodgates
Batting well at 42, scored off just 25 balls, Rahul’s eyes would have lit up when the lesser known legspinner KC Cariappa was summoned to bowl. Cariappa bowled seam up first, Rahul went across the wicket for a sweep and completely missed the ball and was castled. One ball later, Virat Kohli failed to reach the pitch of a good length delivery and drove in the air only to find rival skipper Murali Vijay at short cover. Cariappa had halted RCB’s momentum and in the next over Axar Patel got rid of Shane Watson (1) to put the visitors in a spot of bother.
De Villiers goes hammer and tongs
After starting off slowly during which de Villiers and Sachin Baby found it hard to score boundaries, the duo went about their business by rotating the strike well. However, once he got his eyes set in, de Villiers went hammer and tongs. He went down on one knee and dispatched an attempted yorker from Sandeep for a six over wide of fine leg fence and then proceeded to hit the Punjab bowler for a four in the 16th over. Two more boundaries followed in Mohit’s next over. A six and a four off Sandeep in the 18th helped RCB past the 150-run mark, but the South African perished in the same over, getting caught at short third man.
Vijay leads from the front
In chase of 175, it was imperative for one KXIP batsman to bat long and that job was taken upon by the skipper himself. Vijay’s 57-ball 89-run knock kept his team in the hunt and right from the start the opener was in his zone. Short making was not easy on a slow Mohali track, but Vijay went about his business with utter nonchalance and the timing with which he executed his shots was absolutely ridiculous. Despite losing partners at regular intervals, Vijay was unfazed and even as others struggled to get going, he managed to find the odd boundaries and rotated the strike well. He did not hesitate to go for the unorthodox shots to manufacture some kind of momentum and when the deliveries were presented to him in the slot, he obliged with sublime drives. Unfortunately, no other KXIP batsman could come close to what Vijay did for his team.
Watson – the man with the golden arm
Shane Watson was the answer to RCB’s bowling woes ahead of the season and he finally delivered with match-winning figures off 4-0-22-2. On a slow track, Watson managed to extract good bounce and two of the wickets he took came via bouncers. Hashim Amla, one of the better players of the short delivery, was deceived by a short one from the Australian. Kohli gave him one over spells and after his first went for seven runs, he was held back. He returned in the middle overs and proceeded to give away just right runs off his next two while adding one more wicket. But it was his last over that proved to be the decider. With 24 needed off 12, Watson hit the bulls eye, delivering five yorkers and gave away three singles. He missed his length once and was taken for a four. Seven came off the over and Chris Jordan had a comfortable 12 to defend. He almost made a meal of it, but RCB scrapped though.