Virat Kohli banishes Delhi Daredevils
Royal Challengers Bangalore grabbed the last available spot in the IPL playoffs with a six-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils as Virat Kohli continued with his superlative batting show by hitting a responsible 54-run knock, on Sunday night.
It was the RCB bowlers that set up the easy win by restricting Daredevils to a modest 138 for eight with leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal (3 for 32) taking three wickets and Chris Gayle (2 for 11) scalping two batsmen in a single over.
Quinton de Kock (60) hit a fighting half-century but other Daredevils batsmen struggled badly as the RCB bowlers straitjacketed them with a very disciplined effort, albeit, on a pitch that offered help to both pacers and spinners.
De Kock scored 60 off 52 balls with five fours and a six while Chris Morris came up with a useful unbeaten cameo of 27 runs, late in the innings.
Surprisingly, despite it being a knockout clash and a playoff berth at stake, many Daredevils batsmen did not show much urgency to score quickly.
RCB took control of the match with smart bowling and overhauled down the target with 11 balls to spare as Kohli anchored the chase with his unbeaten 54-run knock.
His well-calculated innings came off 45 balls and had six shots to the fence. RCB lost Chris Gayle (1) and AB de Villiers (6) early in the innings but inspirational skipper Kohli ensured that his side capitalised on the good work done by the bowlers with his responsible batting.
RCB survived fiery spells from Morris and rival captain Zaheer Khan, who both tested Kohli and KL Rahul with their accuracy and speed. Rahul played a gem of a knock (38 off 23) as his quick scoring took pressure off Kohli.
They added 66 runs for the third wicket before Rahul found his stumps disturbed when the ball found a way to hit the timber after playing a defensive shot off Carlos Brathwaite.
Shane Watson joined Kohli, enjoyed two lives in the 14th over, but could not cash in on as he holed out to Sam Billings off Negi in the 15th over. At that stage, RCB needed only 28 runs off five overs.
Kohli steered the side to win in company of Stuart Binny, who scored 16 off 11 balls. Kohli ran hard and desisted from playing extravagant shots.
With their fourth straight victory, RCB finished second in the table and will clash with table toppers Gujarat Lions in the first Qualifier on Tuesday in Bangalore.
Third-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad face Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator on Wednesday in New Delhi.