After losing two consecutive games, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) produced an all-round performance to get the better of MS Dhoni's Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) with a thrilling 13-run win at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) stadium, Pune in the Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter on 22 April.
RCB's trusted batting pair of Virat Kohli (80) and AB de Villiers (83), once again, proved to be the nemesis for the opposition as the duo added a pivotal 155 runs off 95 balls for the second wicket to guide their side to a compelling 185-run total.
Put in to bat, Bangalore got off to a cautious start scoring 48 runs at the loss of one wicket in the powerplay. KL Rahul (7) failed to make it count for the RCB after he was dismissed by Thisara Perera in the fourth over.
Rahul's dismissal brought De Villiers to the crease who appeared to be in a class of his own, smashing six flamboyant fours and four towering sixes in his breezy 46-ball knock. While his partner came out all guns blazing, Kohli was looking to anchor the innings by rotating the strike at regular intervals.
The duo stayed at the crease till the very end before losing their wickets on consecutive deliveries to Perera in the final over. Kohli was caught in the deep by Ajinkya Rahane, while De Villiers lobbed one to Ankit Sharma inside the ring.
In reply, Pune suffered an early blow in Faf du Plessis (2) who was dismissed by Kane Richardson in the second over. On the very next ball, the hosts lost Kevin Pietersen (retired hurt) who sustained a hamstring injury.
If that wasn't enough, a rare lapse in concentration from Steve Smith (4) and a brilliant presence of mind from Kohli ensured Pune lost their second wicket for just 18 runs.
Losing three top batsmen early in the innings, the hosts desperately needed a partnership and found one in Ajinkya Rahane (60) and Dhoni (41). The duo added 91 runs off 73 balls for the third wicket and brought Pune closer to the target.
However, with the asking rate jumping to 13 runs an over, Pune required some big strokes that eventually led to dismissal of Rahane who was foxed by debutant Tabraiz Shamsi's deceiving slider. Dhoni soon followed his partner back in the hut after getting caught at long-off by De Villiers.
Perera, who slammed 13-ball 34, kept the hopes alive for Pune after smashing Harshal Patel for three fours and a six on consecutive deliveries in the 18th over. But, Shane Watson and Kane Richardson took two wickets each in their respective 19th and 20th overs to help Bangalore inflict a third consecutive loss on Dhoni's men.
Bangalore's bowling attack, one of their weak zones so far, did a fair job to maintain pressure on the opposition while Pietersen's injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the visitors. Richardson turned out to be the pick of the bowlers for Bangalore with his spell of 3-13.
Both RCB and RPS faltered in their last two matches, but it was Kohli's side that came out on top in hostile territory to notch up two valuable points from the game. Bangalore now rise to the third spot with two wins and two losses in four matches.
On the other hand, Dhoni-led Pune continues to struggle in the lower-half of the points table with three losses and just a single win in their four games so far.
Here's a look at some of the key statistics from IPL, Match 16 between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiants:
- After scoring 80 runs against Pune, Virat Kohli has now become the leading run-scorer in the IPL this season with a total of 267 runs.
- Out of the 16 games in the IPL 2016 so far, only two matches have been won by the teams batting first. Both of those two matches have been won by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
- With a knock of 83 runs against Pune, AB de Villiers has now amassed 249 runs and is only behind Virat Kohli in the list of leading run-scorers in the IPL this year.
- Royal Challengers Bangalore's Tabraiz Shamsi, who made his IPL debut against Pune, has taken 57 wickets in first-class cricket during the 2015-16 season in South Africa. It is the second highest by any bowler in the season.
- AB de Villiers, who smashed four maximums against Pune, now holds the record for most sixes in the IPL this season with a total of 12 big hits to his name. David Warner (9) is second in the list.
- Before today's match, Virat Kohli had scored 115 runs off 83 balls against Ravichandran Ashwin in IPL. Kohli is the only batsman to have scored 100+ runs off a bowler without getting dismissed.
- Royal Challengers Bangalore's innings against Pune witnessed 28 dot balls - third least in an IPL innings of 20 overs. In 2013, Chennai Super Kings faced just 25 dot balls - least in IPL - against Mumbai Indians.
- Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers added 155 runs for the second wicket against Pune. It was their third 150+ stand. No other batting pair has more than two such stands in all T20s.
- Kohli and De Villiers brought up their 50-run stand in 59 deliveries against Pune. It was their fourth 50+ partnership this season and 11th overall in IPL. Only Kohli-Gayle (15) and Hussey-Vijay (13) have more such stands.