The Result: Kings XI Punjab 10-155 (Rahul 47, Umesh 3-23) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 6-159 (De Villiers 57, Ashwin 2-30) by four wickets with three balls to spare.
The match in a tweet: Umesh Yadav sets Kings XI up with three scalps for AB de Villiers to knock them down with a match-winning knock in Bengalaru #RCBvKXIP
The Umesh effect: Kings XI Punjab got off to a great start with the damaging KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal flying along after being sent in to bat. Going along at ten per over for the first three, Umesh Yadav stepped up. He first had Agarwal caught behind off a regulation edge that was sharply taken by Quinton de Kock. The very next ball – the first faced by Australia’s Aaron Finch this season – trapped the Kings XI No.3 in front for a golden duck. Indian stalwart Yuvraj Singh strode to the crease and deposited the hat-trick ball to the boundary, but a change of tack by Yadav saw the bowler go around the wicket and castle Yuvraj for his third scalp of the over, completely swinging the momentum inside the space of six balls.
It goes both ways: Kings XI skipper Ravichandran Ashwin remains one of the world's most difficult spinners to pick, and now with a leg-spin delivery added to his repertoire he looms as a major player in the IPL. With the Royal Challengers cruising towards their target, Ashwin brought himself on and snuck through the gate to bowl de Kock with a quicker off-spinner. The next ball he produced a leg-spinner Shane Warne would be proud of, and Sarfaraz Khan picked out the expertly-placed slip fielder to give Ashwin two scalps in as many balls.
Proteas fire: With arguably the most fire-power of any top order in the competition, if one Bangalore batsman doesn’t hurt you, another most likely will. Inside the powerplay, the hosts lost Brendon McCullum (0) to Axar Patel, and then Virat Kohli (21) at the hands of Afghani teenager Mujeeb ur Rahman, who snuck a ball through the captain’s iron-clad defence. With de Villiers and de Kock occupying the crease and chasing a tricky total, the two combined for nine boundaries and five sixes. De Villiers took was the more aggressive as the pair posted a vital 54-run stand that went a long way towards RCB securing their first victory of IPL 11.
The Aussie Pack: All of the Aussies featured on the losing side, with Aaron Finch’s long-awaited return to the IPL over quickly, trapped in front from the very first ball he faced. Marcus Stoinis looked likely to anchor the middle-order with a six signalling his intent, though he opted to dance down to Washington Sundar who threw in a quicker one as Quinton de Kock whipped the balls off and the Western Australian departed for 11. Andrew Tye contributed a run-a-ball seven, his four overs with the ball producing 1-27, including the wicket of de Villiers that injected a sliver of hope into the Punjab side with the game on the line.
The next stop: Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore will meet D’Arcy Short and the Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab heading to Chennai to face Shane Watson and the Super Kings, who sit equal-top on the IPL table.
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