At long last, a drought was ended. While still very much staring at elimination from the tournament, as they will for their remaining games, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) huffed and puffed to what looks, on the scoreboard, like a simple win - only their second this season. They got it against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the only team in the competition against whom they have had any success.
RCB started out well with the bat, but lost momentum after both openers were dismissed. Kohli was unable to find regular boundaries, but still managed a lively innings thanks to good strike rotation. Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar, unfortunately, were not nearly as successful, as their baffling promotions ahead of 'Mr. 360' AB de Villiers impeded RCB's chances at getting a good total. It was only with the help of cameos from Isuru Udana (10 off 5) and Chris Morris (25 off 8!!) that RCB converted a 140s total to 171/6.
In reply, the KXIP openers were all class at the top, with Mayank Agarwal in particular at his attacking best. RCB's ace spinner Chahal was not spared in a rare expensive game, nor was Mohammed Siraj. Though a wily Chahal did take revenge against Mayank, RCB would not get another wicket till the penultimate ball of the match - a run out trying to take the single that would win KXIP the match. Why KXIP let the match get there is a story for another day, but Gayle and KL Rahul's steady fifties ensured it was hard to conceive another loss for KXIP, no matter how hard they tried.
In a rather listless day for RCB, and a game where a few players hardly got exposure in the KXIP camp, there were bound to be some failures. Here are the three top underperformers from the match.
#3 AB de Villiers (RCB)
In RCB's previous game, also at Sharjah, AB de Villiers was the difference between the two teams and the reason for their massive win over KKR. Much of his performance this game can be blamed on when he walked in - with merely four overs left to play, and a desperate need to go for the big shots to get a good score - yet, RCB would have expected some fireworks that ultimately came from their bowling all-rounders.
After trying to settle in during his first four balls, De Villiers went for a lofted shot towards long off. Unfortunately, it was a quick and rather full ball that the RCB mainstay couldn't get under, and thus the ball landed in Deepak Hooda's hands to gift Shami a wicket. RCB certainly missed ABD's heroics, and with Gayle and Rahul's batting, were given a clear sense of what could have been had ABD made more than 2 off 5.
#2 Washington Sundar (RCB)
Thus far in the tournament, Sundar was being hailed as one of the stars. With a ridiculous economy rate of below five an over, Sundar had gathered a reputation of being hard to get away, both in the powerplay and the middle overs. Deployed to bowl against Chris Gayle, Sundar enjoyed some early control, but was dispatched for two sixes in an over once the southpaw got a feel of things. His 4-0-38-0 significantly swept away RCB's plans that hinge on him.
With the bat, even Sundar may not have expected to bat so high. Although he was promoted for a left-hander to bat alongside the skipper, he hardly had an impact on proceedings, dismissed for just 13 off 14. With each ball he wasted, AB de Villiers and RCB were made to regret the decision to promote their all-rounder.
#1 Mohammed Siraj (RCB)
Bowling the first over after the powerplay, Mohammed Siraj had his skipper's faith and was trusted to break the partnership. His first over was negotiated comfortably with Mayank slicing a boundary over point. So far, so good, and with the match still interesting while the required rate was above 9, Siraj had opportunities to make an impact.
When he returned to bowl the 12th over, KXIP needed 84 off 54, with Gayle struggling and Rahul too slowing down. His over opened the floodgates as Rahul struck two sixes out of the stadium. He bled more runs in his next over, again following some tight bowling, and was punished for 20 runs. Siraj was responsible for KXIP cruising towards a win when they looked under pressure in the middle, and RCB would want better than his 3-0-44-0 next game.Published 16 Oct 2020, 00:54 IST