Royal Challengers Bangalore's bowlers delivered in tandem © AFP
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowlers delivered in tandem © AFP

IPL 2018: Kings XI Punjab‘s (KXIP) top order was filled with Karnataka stars when they took on the field versus Royal Challengers Bangalore at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. Opting to bowl first, as has been the trend in IPL 11, Virat Kohli-led side restricted the opposition to 155 in 19.2 overs despite a brisk start from KL Rahul. At one stage KXIP were 71 for 3 in 9 overs. However, the script changed after Washington Sundar and Kulwant Khejroliya carried on from a ponytailed Umesh Yadav‘s good work in the Powerplay overs.

Chris Woakes had bowled 15 dot balls in RCB’s tournament opener, against Kolkata Knight Riders. This evening he started off by conceding 16 off the first over. Rahul’s ominous form continued as he middled almost anything and made full use of his home ground’s shorter boundaries. The pulls, cover drives and flicks were a treat to watch. All of Rahul’s strokes were proper cricketing shots, and he kept the scoreboard ticking single-handedly.

Mayank Agarwal perished for an 11-ball 15. He was looking good before edging one off Umesh as Quinton de Kock pulled off a stunner behind the stumps. Umesh was smart with his length and resorted to smart variations from time to time. He trapped Aaron Finch — playing for his seventh franchise — LBW for a golden duck. The umpire’s call led to the newly-married Finch’s dismissal. No. 4, Yuvraj Singh missed a length delivery to see his middle stump rattled.

KXIP maintained a healthy rate till the 11th over, but the momentum shifted from thereon, once Rahul fell. Rahul was kept quiet for a while, and he missed a big hit off Sundar. From 94 for 3 KXIP slipped to 110 for 6. Khejroliya then claimed Karun Nair (29) and Akshar Patel.

As a result, KXIP never managed to accelerate. They were bowled out for 155 in 19.2 overs after they looked certain destined for more. Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (33) was the lone warrior in the death overs.

Brief scores

Kings XI Punjab 155 in 19.2 overs (KL Rahul 47, Karun Nair 29, Ravichandran Ashwin 33; Umesh Yadav 3 for 23, Washington Sundar 2 for 22, Kulwant Khejroliya 2 for 33) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore.