Bengaluru: In what could be called an infomercial on how to build an innings, Virat Kohli powered Royal Challengers Bangalore to a seven-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiants in their IPL-9 tie at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.
The talented right-hander became the first ever player in IPL history to score two centuries in one season with an unbeaten 58-ball-108 which saw his side chase down the target of 191 with three balls to spare.
The Indian test captain peppered his innings with eight shots to the ropes and seven over it covering all parts of the ground. The skipper and KL Rahul (38, 35b, 1x4,2x6) provided the home side with strong foundation with a 94-run opening stand before the latter was removed after he misjudged IPL debutant Adam Zampa’s turn to give an easy catch for George Bailey in the deep.
AB de Villiers headed back to the pavilion five balls later to cue the stage for Shane Watson, whose 21-ball 46-run stand with Kohli for the third wicket pulled RCB back into the reckoning. Watson’s 13-ball-36 included five fours off Thisara Perera in the 14th over and two back-to-back massive sixes off Rajat Bhatia.
Following the Australian’s departure, trapped leg-before by RP Singh, Travis Head played the smart game allowing Kohli to lead them to a much needed victory. Earlier, a 106-run partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Saurabh Tiwary saw Pune post 191/6, once again showing the bowling frailty of the home side.
After opener Usman Khawaja (16, 6b, 2x4, 1x6) fell to an early run out, Rahane (74, 48b, 8x4, 2x6) and Tiwary (52, 39b, 9x44) took matters into their hands as the former showcased some excellent display of conventional stroke play while the latter took the less sophisticated route to score.
Tiwary was handed lifeline in back to back deliveries from Varun Aaron in the sixth over with Stuart Binny and Sachin Baby putting down presentable chances.
The fielding fiasco continued in Aaron’s next over when Rahane top edged a short pitched delivery but a miscommunication between the bowler and Watson saw a gilt edged chance go begging.
The mistakes proved costly as Tiwary slapped Parvez Rasool for two fours before roping in his 50 in 37 balls. Rahane reached his half century in the very next ball, in the 13th over, in 34 balls.
The partnership was broken in the 14th over when the left-hander was stumped by Rahul off a wide delivery from Yuzvendra Chahal. With the scoreboard reading 132/2, Dhoni promoted himself up the order but the move failed to pay off as he top-edged Watson’s delivery to Rasool.
Following a brief cameo by Thisara Perera (14, 8b) and two wickets in the penultimate over from Watson, Ravichandran Ashwin and Rajat Bhatia smashed 16 off debutant Chris Jordan’s last over to put Pune across the 190 mark....