Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) woes did not abate as yet another poor performance left them deeply entrenched at the bottom of the points table. Despite winning the toss at their home venue, skipper Virat Kohli decided not to make the best use of the slow track on offer and chose to bowl first.
Kings XI Punjab overcame a stutter at the start of their innings to register a highly competitive total of 138. When confronted by some quality swing bowling, RCB’s chase never got going and they eventually fell short by 19 runs.
Let us take a close look at who did what in the fascinating tussle at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Mandeep Singh – 9
Mandeep remained the only positive from what was a treacherous batting display from the home team. For starters, he batted at his preferred position at the top of the order. The opener battled valiantly even as wickets fell at the other end. He finally departed for a well-made 46 off 40 deliveries.
Aniket Choudhary – 8.5
With his awkward line and disconcerting bounce, Aniket troubled the opposition batsmen and emerged as the pick of the bowlers for RCB. The delivery to dismiss an experienced campaigner like Hashim Amla highlighted his immense potential.
Yuzvendra Chahal – 8.5
By chipping in with two vital wickets during the middle-overs, Chahal ensured that his side prevented Kings XI from stitching together significant partnerships. The leg-spinner found the surface to his liking and kept things quiet as well.
Pawan Negi – 8
Even though he was slightly expensive in relation to the other spinners, Negi got rid of the dangerous Shaun Marsh and more than held his own with the ball. Although he gave a resolute effort in the chase, it only seemed to delay the inevitable.
Samuel Badree – 8
Perhaps captain Kohli missed a trick by denying Badree the chance to complete his full quota of four overs. Even as Watson was proving to be expensive, it would not have hurt to give another over to the wrist-spinner who had applied the brakes on the flow of runs.
Sreenath Aravind – 7.5
Another strange decision from Royal Challengers’ skipper saw Aravind bowl only two overs in the game. On a pitch which suited his style of bowling, the left-armer‘s medley of slower deliveries could have tightened the noose around Punjab’s batting lineup.
AB de Villiers – 4
In the middle of an unproductive trough, the dynamic South African batsman played a couple of delightful shots to bring the audience to the edge of their seats and raise the anticipation level in the stadium. But he had to depart soon after suffering an error in judgment.
Kedar Jadhav – 3.5
Fresh from a breakthrough season with India’s ODI team, a lot was expected from the explosive Jadhav. The powerful right-hander has not lived up to those expectations thus far. An opportunity beckoned in this game for him to showcase his skills. But he failed to read a slower ball and walked back to the dressing room without making a meaningful contribution.
Virat Kohli – 3.5
It seems like nothing is going right for Kohli in this edition of the IPL. While RCB have endured a rough time, his own performances have not been up to standards either. Perhaps a cluttered mindset could explain his bizarre approach against the new-ball. Dancing down the track without any plan, he allowed one to sneak through his defence.
Chris Gayle – 2
Under-fire for his woeful form during this season, Gayle’s stocks continued to plummet. Failing to account for the sharp swing generated by Sandeep Sharma, the Jamaican fell tamely for a duck.
Shane Watson – 1
From his four overs, Watson gave away as many as 43 runs. Usually a canny customer in conditions offering something to his slippery medium pace, the right-armer looked completely out of his depth this time around. The less said about his batting, the better.
Kings XI Punjab
Sandeep Sharma – 9
In what was a top-class exhibition of swing bowling, Sandeep tore through RCB’s much-vaunted top-order. Operating in and around the off-stump for the most part, his Test-match style lines proved to be too difficult to handle for the likes of Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers.
Axar Patel – 9
The all-rounder provided the much-needed impetus to Punjab’s innings by racing to an unbeaten 38 off just 17 deliveries. His onslaught against Watson in the final over went a long way in adding substance to the total. He capped off a fine game with a stifling spell that fetched him three wickets.
Mohit Sharma – 8.5
Mohit was introduced into the attack only after the Power Play came to a conclusion. With his steady mix of back-of-the-hand slower balls and short-of-a-length quicker deliveries, he varied his plans smartly to earn a solid showing.
Varun Aaron – 8
The tear away pacer maintained the pressure created by Sandeep’s early burst by bowling smartly at the other end. While he did not get to feature in the wickets column, Aaron did his job with the ball.
Shaun Marsh – 7
The left-hander showed his class by unfurling an array of boundaries to help Kings XI make some use of the Power Play overs. Marsh looked quite fluent while he was at the crease. But his stay in the middle came to an end due to erroneous shot-selection.
Manan Vohra – 6.5
Coming in at number four, Vohra seemed to adapt to his new position rather admirably. The fall of early wickets threatened to turn into a catastrophic collapse for the visitors. But, the 23-year-old batted diligently and tried to forge a partnership with Saha. When it appeared like he was on his way to setting a platform for the lower-order, Chahal outsmarted him.
Wriddhiman Saha – 6
A useful batsman to have at the time of a crisis, Saha attempted to steady Punjab’s ship by applying himself at the crease. After building a few important partnerships, the wicket-keeper batsman ran out of steam during the death overs.
Glenn Maxwell – 5
Being the captain of the team, one would normally expect a game-changing batsman like Maxwell to lead from the front by batting up the order. However, he inexplicably strode out only at the fall of the fourth wicket. Unable to adapt to the conditions, he resorted to a reverse-sweep and faltered badly. Eventually, the all-rounder redeemed himself by taking the key scalp of Mandeep Singh.
Martin Guptill – 4
Despite being a natural timer of the ball, Guptill struggled to come to terms with the sluggish surface in Bengaluru. After meandering through the start of the innings, the New Zealand batsman threw his wicket away by playing a poor stroke.
Thangarasu Natarajan – 3
One of the success stories of the IPL auction, Natarajan has not been able to get regular opportunities with his franchise. Performances such as this (he conceded 15 runs from a solitary over) won’t help matters at all.
Hashim Amla – 2
Punjab’s leading run-scorer in this tournament perished quite early in the piece. Amla could not control the urge to flay at a close delivery and consequently found himself paying the price. To his credit, the gentleman in him ensured that he walked off even as the umpire seemed unconvinced.