Royal Challengers Bangalore thumped Kolkata Knight Riders by 38 runs for its third straight win and Delhi Capitals enjoyed a six-wicket victory against Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League on a double-header Sunday.
At Mumbai, Delhi rode on opener Shikhar Dhawan’s 49-ball 92 to reach 198-4 with 10 balls to spare in reply to Punjab’s 195-4.
The dew at Wankhede Stadium didn’t help Punjab's bowlers to contain Dhawan, who smashed 13 fours and two sixes. Prithvi Shaw played a cameo of 32 off 17 as Delhi raced to 59 inside the first six overs.
Bowlers found it difficult to grip the wet ball and India fast bowler Mohammed Shami returned 0-53.
Dhawan missed out on a deserved century when he was clean bowled by Jhye Richardson in the 15th over before Marcus Stoinis finished off the game with an unbeaten 27 off 13 balls. “We were under pressure at the start because the wicket was not doing much and they had a good start," said Delhi captain Rishabh Pant.
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Earlier, Delhi recovered well to contain Punjab after Mayank Agarwal (69) and captain KL Rahul (61) had featured in a 122-run opening stand off 76 balls.
“Victory would’ve been sweet on my birthday," Rahul said.
In the early game, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers shone with the bat as Royal Challengers Bangalore rounded off its Chennai leg of the tournament with their third win in a row.
De Villiers’ unbeaten 76 off 34 balls with nine fours and three sixes rocketed Bangalore’s total to 204-4 after captain Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat. Maxwell matched the South African in also smashing nine fours and three sixes with a solid knock of 78 off 49 deliveries.
Kolkata’s top-order batsmen couldn’t convert good starts and Bangalore restricted them to 166-8 with New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson picking up 3-41.
“We got 40 extra runs on that pitch which slowed down,” Kohli said. “There are areas we can work on. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves and not getting over-excited.”
After losing Kohli for just five in the second over, Maxwell dominated spinners and fast bowlers on a wicket where the ball nicely came onto the bat. Maxwell was finally outdone by fellow Australian Pat Cummins’ short-pitched delivery in the 17th over as he top edged a pull to short fine leg.
De Villiers and Jamiesen smashed Andre Russell for 38 runs off his two overs and Harbhajan Singh conceded 18 off the penultimate over as the last 18 balls yielded Bangalore 56 runs.
RCB are now top of the table in this season's IPL with six points, two ahead of the Delhi Capitals.
Kolkata opener Shubman Gill (21 off nine balls) blazed two sixes and two fours, but substitute fielder Daniel Christian took a spectacular two-handed diving catch at mid-on in the second over.
Russell (31), captain Eoin Morgan (29) and Shakib Al Hasan (26) all scored better than a run-a-ball, but Bangalore kept taking wickets at regular intervals to end its Chennai leg of the event with three wins from three games.
“Certainly RCB’s day with the bat,” Morgan said.
The Knight Riders are in the bottom half of the table now with just two points after winning one game and losing two. They face the Chennai Super Kings next on 21 April. Delhi will take on Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians next on 20 April, while Kohli's RCB face the Rajasthan Royals in their next fixture on 22 April.
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