ABD and Stoinis hand RCB their third consecutive win in this season so far. RCB’s talisman ABD and their overseas superstar scored 48 of the last two overs that made the difference in the end.
It was down to Miller who had it before. Flashback to 2013, the situation was same but the ground was different when Miller pulled off a next to impossible chase. Chasing a daunting target of 194 Punjab were reduced to 64/4. It was down to 96 from 42 when Miller started his onslaught and such was his precision of power stroke that KXIP won the match with two overs to spare meaning he scored 96 of 30 balls.
But on this occasion he had the West Indian, Nicholas Pooran who was doing it. In the 14th over Pooran smashed Washington Sundar for three sixes and brought the run chase back on track. Miller was scoring at less than 100 S/R. When the pacers started to operate Pooran was trying to hit every ball and lost his shape thereby playing dot balls and the pressure was mounting. It was down to 30 of 12 balls and the penultimate over was trusted to RCB most economical pacer, Navdeep Saini. He removed the struggling Miller in the first ball of the 19th over and then Pooran in the last ball of his over after conceding just 3 runs.
KXIP never looked like they were out of the chase. The universe boss, Chris Gayle gave a perfect start scoring 15 of Southee’s first over. The wicket looked absolute belter and both Gayle and Rahul capitalized on RCB’s weak pace bowling. However they got some respite when Gayle mistimed a pull short thereby giving a simple catch to ABD right at the edge of the boundary ropes. But the incoming batsmen Mayank Agarwal carried on the same tempo. He and Rahul added 52 for the second wicket and posted 100 in just 9 overs. But as we have seen often how things changes in a space of one over. KXIP lost both their set batsmen Rahul and Agarwal in quick succession and were looking down the barrel.
RCB’s openers, Patel and Kohli started off positively scoring at nearly 11 runs per over but as the partnership was started to flourish and look dangerous, Kohli threw away his wicket. In the third of Shami he played a lofted drive but the ball big on him and he just managed to hit the ball straight into the safe hands of Mandeep who was standing at the edge of 30 yard circle. Patel took the onus on him to increase the run rate given that ABD will take time to get settled. Patel smashed Shami for 18 runs in the final over of the powerplay to take RCB score at 70/1, the second highest runs scored in PPs this year.
RCB however couldn’t capitalize on the rollicking start thanks to the Ashwin’s. First murugan Ashwin removed Parthiv through a googly which the later couldn’t pick and just managed to get a leading edge. Parthiv had a 40 % boundary ratio in his innings of 43 of 22. In the next over Ravi Ashwin bamboozled Moeen Ali reducing RCB to 76/3. Akshdeep Nath soon followed after he couldn’t pick a slower ball from Viljoen handing a simple to Mandeep. The incoming batsmen Stoinis and ABD played some intelligent cricket and played out the spinners comfortably. 6.3 overs since last boundary, the pressure was mounting and the shackles was broken by Stoinis.
The next half was a nightmare for KXIP bowlers. They couldn’t stop the Stoinis and ABD eventually conceding a staggering 64 in the last three overs thanks to De Villers who went from first to fifth gear. ABD was scoring at run ball 25 (25) till the 14th over but he scored 57 of the next 19 balls he faced. His strike rate in the death overs is the best (265.4), the best among all batsmen who have played min of 100 balls this year so far. The 121 run partnership between those two bolstered RCB’s total to 202/4.
In the last over of the powerplay, Parthiv Patel went berserk and scored 18 runs of Shami which increased RCB’s winning probability by 12 % from 52 to 64.
Punjab’s winning chances dropped to 3 % in the penultimate over when RCB’s best death bowler this season, Navdeep Saini gave away three runs and removed the dangerous Pooran and Miller in a space of four balls.