Abu Dhabi: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli silenced his critics in style as he scored a sparkling 72 not out to steer his team to an eight-wicket in the 15th match of the IPL here on Saturday.
The win also propelled RCB to the top of the league points table after three wins from four games. Kohli, who struggled in the earlier three games, received able support from young opener Devdutt Padikkal, who came with a 45-ball 63 run knock.
Chasing a 155-run target, Shreyas Gopal drew the first blood for RR after he trapped opener Aaron Finch (8) in the third over with just 25 runs on board.
RR’s joy was, however, short lived as Padikkal, who has been in fine form with the bat, continued his brilliant run.
Both batsmen’s sensible act in the middle helped RCB touch the 50-run mark in the initial six overs and they added another 27 runs in the next four overs to take the score to 77/1 in 10 overs.
Kohli smashed Riyan Parag for a six over deep extra cover in the 13th over as RCB crossed the 100-run mark.
With the RR side struggling for a breakthrough, Jofra Archer came with a relief as he clean bowled a well-settled Padikkal in the 16th over. The RCB opener’s impressive knock contained six boundaries and a six.
The fall of Padikkal hardly affected RCB’s run-chase as Kohli, who finally regained his touch, continued with his fluent shots and in the process also completed 5,500 runs in the league. The run-machine was joined by AB de Villers, who remained unbeaten on 12 off 10 balls, and the pair easily overhauled the target with five balls to spare.
Kohli’s unbeaten knock was decorated with seven boundaries and two hits into the stands.
Earlier, Mahipal Lomror’s valiant 39-ball 47 guided RR post 154/6 in the allotted 20 overs.
Opting to bat on winning the toss, RR’s top order once again failed to give a solid start as it lost skipper Steve Smith (5), Jos Buttler(22) and Sanju Samson (4) within the first five overs with just 31 runs on the scorecard.
After the top order collapse, Lomror, featuring in his first match in the tournament, was joined by Robin Uthappa (17) and the duo shared a 39-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
As it has been so far, Uthappa once again disappointed, failing to convert the start into something substantial, when Yuzvendra Chahal, who had earlier accounted for the wicket of Samson, dismissed him in the 11th over.
Despite Uthappa’s fall, Lomror kept the fight on and was then involved in a 35-run partnership with Riyan Parag (16).
Just after RR crossed the three-digit mark, Isuru Udana sent back Paragin the 16th over before Chahal cut short Lomror’s stay in the middle, which left RR at 114/6.
Lomror unfortunately, missed a well-deserved half-century and his knock included a boundary and three sixes.
Rahul Tewatia, RR’s find of the tournament, and Jofra Archer then added 40 runs in the final 20 deliveries as their side managed to reach a respectable total of 154/6 in their allotted 20 overs. While Tewatia chipped in with a 12-ball 24 not out, Archer contributed with 10-ball unbeaten 16 runs.
For RCB, Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with impressive figures of 3/24 from four overs while an expensive Udana settled with couple of wickets. Meanwhile, pacer Navdeep Saini bagged a wicket conceding 37 runs.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 154/6 wkts in 20 overs (Mahipal Lomror 47, Rahul Tewatia 24 not out; Y Chahal 3/24) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 158/2 wkts in 19.1 overs (Virat Kohli 72 not out, Devdutt Padikkal 63; Jofra Archer 1/18) by 8 wickets