Raipur: Continuing his impressive form, Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 54 to power Royal Challengers Bangalore into the IPL-9 playoffs with a comfortable six-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils here on Sunday.
Earlier, Quinton de Kock hit a fighting half-century to help Daredevils post a modest 138 for eight. In reply, RCB cruised home with 11 balls to spare.
The RCB bowlers straitjacketed the Daredevils batsmen with a very disciplined effort with leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal (3/32) taking three wickets and Chris Gayle (2/11) dismissing two batsmen in a single over.
Surprisingly, despite it being a knockout game and a Play-off berth at stake, the Daredevils batsmen did not show much urgency to score quickly. 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.
Daredevils made a sedate start and lost young Rishabh Pant (1) early when he was caught behind off Sreenath Aravind on a delivery that took off after being pitched.
Another young gun Karun Nair (11) made an early exit but De Kock kept the innings together and paced his own knock well under the conditions. At half-way stage, they were 75 for three with Sanju Samson becoming victim of Chahal.
The ball turned sharply, Samson tried to guide it to the third man but could not connect. Wicket-keeper KL Rahul jumped in the air, claiming the edge, and the umpire raised his finger.
Sam Billings too departed when his cut off Chris Jordan was taken brilliantly in the air by a diving Chris Gayle. It could have been worse for Daredevils had Aravind not dropped Pawan Negi, who had not even opened his account, in the last ball of the same over.
De Kock completed his half-century with a single in the 14th over, bowled by Aravind, who again dropped Negi but it was a tough chance in his follow through. Skipper Virat Kohli marshalled his troops well, using seven bowlers by the 15th over. His slow and medium pacers did an exceedingly good job. Gayle sent back Negi (6) and Carlos Brathwaite (1) in space of four balls.
It was now left to De Kock and Morris to lift the Dardevils innings but the South African southpaw was dismissed by Chahal at the start of the 17th over. 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....