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Virat Kohli © Gallo Images

Kohli steers RCB to emphatic win

A sensational undefeated 47-ball innings of 93 by Virat Kohli catapulted the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a seven-wicket victory with 14 balls to spare over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Pepsi IPL clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Full Scorecard: Bangalore v Hyderabad

The visitors had earlier posted a seemingly competitive total of 161 for six, with Australian Cameron White blasting his way to 52 from just 34 deliveries, while RP Singh snatched three for 27 in his four overs.

In reply, the hosts had slipped to 47 for two, but Kohli’s 11 fours and four maximums ultimately saw them cruise to a comfortable victory.

Dale Steyn (4-0-16-0) was the only Sunrisers bowler to reign the batting side in, as his teammates had no answer to the carnage from the bat of Kohli.

Having suffered defeat to the same opposition in an over-eliminator on Sunday, the triumph represents apt revenge for the Royal Challengers, and they now join the Sunrisers Hyderabad with two wins from three matches.

Having earlier won the toss and elected to bat first, the visitors lost opener Akshath Reddy (12) in the third over as he mistimed one to mid-on, and skipper Kumar Sangakkara (23) strode out to the crease to join Parthiv Patel (20) who was yet to get off the mark.

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The captain got things moving with a boundary off only his second delivery as he pierced a packed offside field with a lovely drive. It began a period of consolidation for Sangakkara’s men, and Patel brought up the fifty by expertly guiding Muttiah Muralitharan (4-0-23-1) to backward point for two in the eighth over.

Murali made a decisive breakthrough one delivery later though, as a fine doosra that deceived Patel slid through the gate, and when Sangakkara holed out in the 11th over from the bowling of Murali Karthik (3-0-21-1), the men from Hyderabad were struggling at 62 for three.

Two tight overs followed, and with the pressure beginning to build, the shackles were finally broken as Thisana Perera (40) dispatched Karthik into the crowd over long off with a lusty blow at the end of the 13th over.

The maximum marked a shift in momentum, as the pair of Perera and White cleared the ropes with astonishing regularity. Moises Henriques (1-0-18-0) had two sixes and a four carved off him in an 18-run 16th over, before Vinay Kumar (4-0-43-1) was carted for 19 in the over that followed.

By the time Perera was castled by Singh in the 18th to end the 80-run partnership, his team had raced to 142 for four. The imperious White then got down on one knee to launch Kumar over extra cover for six to raise his 19th domestic T20 half-century, and, although he was eventually caught at mid-off with six deliveries remaining, he and Perera had given their team the impetus to post an imposing total.

The Bangalore-outfit needed a fast start in reply, and opener Mayank Agarwal (29) showed his intent as he struck a six and a four in the very first over. The 22-year old repeated the feat at the start of the fifth over off Ishant Sharma (3.4-0-30-1), and a further boundary from fellow-opener Chris Gayle (13) helped the score to 39 without loss by the time Sharma’s 15-run over was complete.

Perera (3-0-35-1) was then introduced in the sixth, and he delivered the breakthrough with his opening delivery as Agarwal was gleefully snared by Sangakkara after a leading edge.

Gayle joined his partner in the dugout just six balls later when Sharma had him caught behind, and the home crowd were left stunned with their team at 47 for two.

AB de Villiers (15) was next to the crease, and he absorbed some initial pressure with his captain Kohli. After edging his team past the fifty mark, the skipper clubbed Perera for a towering six over mid-wicket in the ninth over, and it prompted the fielding side to take their strategic time-out.

The duo, especially Kohli, played with more fluency when play resumed, and a flurry of boundaries began to shift the balance of the game in their favour. The partnership of 49 was brought to an end in the 12th over, as White (1-0-14-1), who had been bludgeoned for a four and a six by Kohli at the start of his over, had de Villiers caught at deep mid-wicket with a rank long-hop.

At 96 for three, the responsibility of guiding the home side over the line fell to Kohli, and he, along with Henriques (seven not out), played sensibly without letting the required rate get away from them. The talented Indian brought up his 17th half-century in the 15th over, and, from that point onward, he proved unstoppable as he took the game away from the Hyderabad side.

In the over that followed, he smashed Amit Mishra (4-0-42-0) for 21 to leave his team needing just 24 from the final four overs. He then wasted little time in reaching the target, as he crushed a further five boundaries in the space of 10 deliveries, and the home fans were left celebrating an emphatic win by their team.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Moises Henriques, Arun Karthik (wk), Vinay Kumar, Murali Kartik, Jaydev Unadkat, RP Singh, Muttiah Muralitharan

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: Akshath Reddy, Parthiv Patel (wk), Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Cameron White, Thisara Perera, Hanuma Vihari, Biplab Samantray, Ashish Reddy, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharm


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