R Ashwin, AB de Villiers, Nicholas Pooran IPL 2019
(From left )R Ashwin, AB de Villiers and Nicholas Pooran (Agencies)

After spending a better part of the ongoing Indian Premier League season at the last spot in the points table, Royal Challengers Bangalore finally lifted themselves a place up courtesy their fourth win.

Here we take a look at the phases from their 17-run win over Kings XI Punjab that proved decisive:

Parthiv leads flying start

RCB were off to a flyer despite losing skipper Virat Kohli inside the Powerplay overs. The blitz was courtesy Parthiv Patel who belted seven fours and two sixes in his 24-ball 43. He had come with a set mindset to go after every bowler. Ankit Rajpoot, who bowled the first over was smacked for consecutive fours. Mohammed Shami then removed Kohli who had struck two fours but that didn’t deter Parthiv. After quietly seeing off his over, he punished a slower one from Rajpoot for the first six of the night. He then took Shami to the cleaners with three fours and a six in the sixth over as RCB made 70/1 – the second highest total in Powerplay overs this season.

De Villiers neutralises middle-overs slump

After the fielding overs were restricted, KXIP pulled things back. In the middle overs, RCB underwent a slump that saw them managing just 29 runs off 42 deliveries apart from losing three wickets. From 70/1 in 6 overs, they trudged to 99/4 in 13. But then AB de Villiers exploded, shifting gears with a six off Murugan Ashwin in the 14th over. In the midst of his assault, KXIP bowlers lost the discipline that helped them crawl back in the middle overs. The bulk of the damage was done in the final three overs though when alongside Marcus Stoinis, De Villiers ransacked 64 runs in them to push RCB to another 200-plus total.

Ashwin weathers the storm

KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin, with his bagful of tricks, survived the late rush. The slowdown RCB suffered was courtesy his introduction in the eighth over when he cleaned up Moeen Ali for 4. That over cost KXIP just two runs and a wicket. He bowled three overs during that stage, allowing just 10 runs in them. He refrained from finishing his quota. And rightly so as he bravely came to bowl in the death overs with De Villiers in some mood. It resulted in five runs. Ashwin finished with figures of 1/15 without conceding a boundary.

Kohli’s bowling changes reap rewards

Like RCB, KXIP were also off to a bright start. Tim Southee, replacing Dale Steyn, was hammered for 14 runs in the opening over and taken off the attack. Umesh Yadav removed the dangerous Chris Gayle who struck four fours and a six in his 10-ball 23. Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul ensured the momentum stayed with them as they took KXIP to 68/1 in six overs. Unlike RCB, KXIP didn’t sit back. The run-flow continued even after the end of Powerplay. And at 101/1 in 9 overs, the visitors were favourite to gun down 203. Then Kohli double-change brought in Stoinis and Moeen. Both struck in their respective first overs sending back Rahul and Agarwal to bring relief.

Pooran ignites hopes but RCB excel in death overs

With five sixes and a four, Nicholas Pooran gave RCB a mighty scare. He was given a life when the match was still in a delicate spot but RCB were fortunate that didn’t cost much. He added two more runs to his total before holing out to de Villiers off Navdeep Saini. In the end, the last three overs did prove to be the difference. RCB struck 64 in them, KXIP managed a mere 18.