RCB named an unchanged team while KXIP brought in Chris Gayle for the first time this season besides handing a debut cap to Deepak Hooda
Virat Kohli top-scored for Royal Challengers Bangalore in his 200th game for the franchise, but the captain and the rest of the top-order were kept in check by the Kings XI Punjab bowlers at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
RCB finished with 171 for six, thanks to Chris Morris (25 not out, 8b, 1×4, x6) and Isuru Udana who came up with lusty hits in the final over to score 24 runs, lending respectability to the total on a ground with short boundaries.
At the receiving end of that nightmarish over was Mohammed Shami. It came right after bowling a superb over in which he dismissed two of the greatest batsmen ever – A.B. de Villiers (two) and Virat Kohli (48, 39b, 3×4).
The South African, who was sent in with just four overs remaining, holed out to a tumbling catch at long on by Chris Jordan. Though the RCB’s decision to send left-handers ahead of him to tackle the leg-spinning duo of M. Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi was understandable, there was too little time for de Villiers, the man who had cracked 73 not out off jut 33 balls in his appearance.
Two balls later, Kohli was caught behind by running K.L. Rahul behind the stumps off a short ball.
Earlier, openers Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch both began well and continued from where they left off in the massive victory against Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue three days ago, when they put on 67.
Padikkal played a delightful flick off Shami for a six, but a ball later, he was caught at short cover off Arshdeep Singh. On a wicket that seemed to be getting slower, the good-length ball stopped a bit and Padikkal could not check the shot he committed.
Then, Finch was beaten and saw his off stump disturbed by a fine leg-break from M. Ashwin. Washington Sundar
became the second victim of the night for his Tamil Nadu teammate, holing out to a tumbling catch by Chris Jordan at long-on.
Like Washington, Shivam Dube too came ahead of de Villiers and hit a couple of sixes before falling to Jordan.