Virat Kohli (72 n.o., 53b, 7×4, 2×6) and Devdutt Padikkal (63, 45b, 6×4, 1×6) guided Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a facile eight-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals (RR), in an IPL encounter at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The duo helped RCB reach the modest 155-run target with five balls to spare, giving RCB a third win in four matches.
RCB vs RR: AS IT HAPPENED
Kohli, after three failures in this tournament, struck form with a steady knock. With two clean sixes off leg-spinners Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia, Kohli showed that he had regained his old touch.
Padikkal added to his growing reputation with a third fifty in four matches. The southpaw scored a bulk of his boundaries on the leg-side, with sweetly-timed pulls and flicks. Padikkal battled cramps late in his knock, before losing his stumps to a fiery yorker from Jofra Archer.
Kohli scored his first fifty of the IPL season and remained unbeaten on 72. – BCCI/IPL
Earlier, RR recovered from a shaky start to record a respectable total. Jos Buttler, Steve Smith and Sanju Samson – three key batsmen – fell cheaply, leaving the side in trouble at 31 for three. A low diving catch at slip by Padikkal got rid of the dangerous Buttler (22, 12b, 4×3, 1×6), while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal showed great athleticism to take a tough caught and bowled chance to dismiss Samson.
Robin Uthappa (17, 22b, 1×4) and Mahipal Lomror (47, 39b, 1×4, 3×6) rebuilt the innings to a small extent with a 39-run fourth-wicket stand. Chahal then showed his class, taking out Uthappa and Lomror with enticing, flighted deliveries. Neither batsman was able to get under the ball, resulting in catches in the deep.
Rahul Tewatia (24 n.o., 12b, 3×6) smacked it around, providing vital acceleration at the death. Tewatia survived a scare, getting hit flush on the chest by a fast beamer from Navdeep Saini. Tewatia shook it off, smashing Saini for sixes off the next two deliveries.
Chahal (three for 24) emerged as RCB’s most successful bowler, while off-spinner Washington Sundar (4-0-20-0) once again returned miserly figures. With an impressive tournament economy rate of 4.72, Sundar has emerged as an invaluable part of the RCB bowling attack.