Travis Head (left) and Mandeep Singh added 71 runs for the 4th wicket © BCCI
Travis Head (left) and Mandeep Singh added 71 runs for the 4th wicket © BCCI

Travis Head and Mandeep Singh scored half-centuries, as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) crawled to a total of 158 for 6 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), in the match 46 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Early strikes broke the confidence of a team that is languishing at the bottom of the IPL 2017 points table, but Mandeep and Head showed great skills in a rain-affected first innings at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, to help their side to a respectable total. Mandeep finally struck form as he scored 52 off 43 balls, whereas Head remained unbeaten on 75. Head and Mandeep added 71 runs for the fourth wicket, which provided the platform for a competitive total. For KKR, Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav claimed two wickets each.  FULL CRICKET SCORECARD, Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders – Match 46

Once again, Royal Challengers Bangalore lost their three key batsmen inside the Powerplay. The contest on Sunday afternoon was a milestone game for Chris Gayle, who completed his 100 matches in IPL. However, there was no joy for the leading run-scorer in T20 cricket, as Gayle was dismissed off the very first ball in the contest. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders – Match 46

Umesh got the first ball of the game to move away from Gayle, who was early into his shot. Even though Gayle played it with soft hands, but he could not avoid getting a leading edge which went straight to Gautam Gambhir at short cover. Pushed on the backfoot right at the beginning, RCB seem to have found some momentum when Mandeep Singh cracked a four and a six off Chris Woakes in the last two deliveries of the second over.

Mandeep continued to show form when he cracked another four, off Umesh in the third over but soon RCB lost their captain. Looking to slog a delivery which was pitched in the middle stump, Kohli was beaten by the pace as Umesh had bowled a slower one. Kohli was trapped right in front of the middle stump, and fell for 5.

RCB, having lost their key batsmen in Gayle and Kohli for nothing significant on the board looked up to AB de Villiers for some respite. However, it was not going to be a different story for the South African, who hit Sunil Narine over the cover region for a four, but was cleaned up on the next delivery right after.

De Villiers had shuffled a bit to work the ball on the leg side but he missed the line completely, and the ball crashed into his wickets going under his legs. De Villiers scored 10.

Head and Mandeep then dropped anchor to resurrect the innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Knowing their recent struggles with the bat, Mandeep and Head were forced to cut down on strokeplay and look to build the innings by rotating the strike.

Both Mandeep and Head hit a four each before there was a lull for close to four overs,  in which RCB did not score any boundary. The approach did look awkward, but RCB batsmen had to be careful in the middle overs.

It was on the final ball of the 12th over when Head broke the shackles, and hit a four off Ankit Rajpoot to end the drought. Head continued to show aggressive intent, as he picked one off Narine very early and cleared the deep midwicket fielder to get his first six. Soon, Mandeep brought up Royal Challenger Bangalore’s 100, with a four off Colin de Grandhomme. This was when rain cause a delay for about 40 odd minutes.

Soon after the play resumed, Mandeep ended his wretched run this IPL with a fine half-century. He had scored 46 in the previous game as well, but the batsman went on to bring up his first half-century of the season after a horrendous run in the first half.

Towards the end, Mandeep perished right after getting to his half-century, Head continued to get crucial runs. In the 19th over, he smacked a six off Woakes over the bowler’s head. Head spoiled Umesh’s figures, smacking two sixes and one four in the final three balls of the innings.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 for 6 in 20 overs (Mandeep Singh 52, Travis Head 75*; Umesh Yadav 3 for 36, Sunil Narine 2 for 29) vs Kolkata Knight Riders