Mohali, Apr 14:
Sensational fifties from Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers overshadowed Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 99 as Royal Challengers finally snapped a six-match losing streak this IPL season with a eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab here Saturday.
Kohli (67) in company of AB de Villiers (59 not out) scripted a superb runchase, sharing a 85-run stand to lay the foundation.
The India skipper blasted eight boundaries, while de Villiers clobbered two sixes and five hits across the rope in his 38-ball innings.
Invited to bat, dashing West Indies opener Chris Gayle (99) carried his bat through with an unbeaten 99, studded with five sixes and as many as 10 hits to the fence to single-handedly anchor Punjab to 173 for four.
Kohli and de Villiers then did bulk of the scoring and once the skipper was dismissed in the 16th over, Marcus Stoinis (28 off 16) played a crucial cameo to take the team through with four balls to spare.
With this victory, RCB also avoided the ignominy of most successive losses for a team at the start of an IPL season.
Chasing 174 to win, Parthiv Patel and Kohli gave RCB a flying start, amassing 43 off 23 balls but the left-handed opener was caught by Mayank Agarwal off R Ashwin in the 4th over.
de Villiers and Kohli then took the bowlers to the cleaners, picking up boundaries at will, as RCB brought up the 100 in the 12th over.
Kohli completed his second fifty of this IPL season in 37 balls but runs dried up a bit in the middle with M Ashwin (24/0) and Andrew Tye (4/40) bowling a tight over each.
Mohammad Shami then gave Punjab a glimmer of hope when over he dismissed Kohli, who pulled one straight to M Ashwin as RCB slipped to 128 for two.
But Marcus Stoinis and de Villiers ensured there were no hiccups, sharing 46 runs, as RCB romped home comfortably in the end.
Englishman Jos Buttler laid the platform with a rampaging 89 while Shreyas Gopal held his nerve at the death to power Rajasthan Royals to a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League encounter here Saturday.
This was Royals’ second victory of the season in seven games after losing a last ball thriller to CSK less than 48 hours back.
Put into bat, Mumbai Indians rode on a aggressive 81 by South African Quinton De Kock to post an imposing 187/5, but Buttler’s 43-ball knock studded with eight fours and seven sixes set the tone before Royals survived a scare to finish the game in 19.3 overs.