x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

IPL: Lucky Royal Challengers Bangalore hold off Delhi Daredevils charge

A scintillating 99 from Virat Kohli and five-wicket haul by Jaydev Unadkat puts it past a spirited display by the hosts.

File picture of Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, who fell short of a century by a run. Manjunath Kiran / AFP
File picture of Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, who fell short of a century by a run. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

Toss Delhi, chose to field
Bangalore Kohli 99; De Villiers 32; Nadeem 1-23, I Pathan 1-24
Delhi Chand 41, Rohrer 32, Unadkat 5-20
Man of the match Jaydev Unadkat (Bangalore)

For more than three quarters of the Royal Challengers Bangalore innings, Delhi Daredevils kept the innings under control and built pressure on the batsmen. Then they ran into Virat Kohli on a second wind and AB de Villiers on fire at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.

Delhi then mounted a spirited comeback in their final overs, coming agonisingly close, but were thwarted by Jaydev Unadkat's career-best figures of 5-25 in four overs, ending on 179 for seven, just four runs short of Bangalore's 183 for four.

Bangalore's total came via a scintillating Kohli innings of 99 off 58 balls. Kohli started by playing cautiously and survived with the aid of a few lucky breaks. He ended with a blaze of boundaries and sixes, seemingly able to deposit the ball anywhere he wanted.

Kohli's luck ran out only off the final ball of the innings. Needing two to complete a deserved century, he was run-out going for an impossible second run. By then however, he had ensured Bangalore had enough for a second away win and were back on track for a play-off spot in the Pepsi.

That Kohli got off the mark was fortunate, being squared up by a perfect Morne Morkel delivery that kissed his edge and went through to the 'keeper.

However, Morkel had overstepped by a thin margin, and Kohli lived on. He also survived a dropped chance off Siddharth Kaul on 14 - Virender Sehwag shelling the chance at mid-wicket.

In that phase, with Bangalore having lost Chris Gayle and Cheteshwar Pujara early, Delhi looked in control of the proceedings. When Bangalore were 106 for three in 16 overs, Delhi might even have entertained hopes of restricting them to less than 150.

But if ever there were two batsmen capable of turning a match on its head in the blink of an eye, they were Kohli and de Villiers. Kohli had plodded to 47 off 43 balls, but unleashed a torrent to score 52 runs off the final 15 balls he faced. By comparison, de Villiers' unbeaten 32 off 17 looked almost slow.

The final four overs cost 77 runs, with Umesh Yadav bearing most of the brunt, ending with 4-0-65-0.

Faced with a stiff asking rate, Mahela Jayawardene, who had turned the captaincy over to David Warner, hit some pleasing boundaries off his legs, but neither he nor Sehwag could kick on and both fell without reaching 20.

Unadkat, who was brought into the XI in place of the misfiring RP Singh, accounted for both, getting Jayawardene by denying him room to play his shots and foxing Sehwag with a slower one. When Warner fell soon after, Delhi were 61 for three in seven overs, and the chase seemed done.

But Irfan Pathan's 23 not out off 11 and Morkel's 19 off 10 kept Delhi alive, before they eventually fell short. Bangalore ended with two vital points, which could prove crucial as the league phase enters its home stretch.

Saurabh Somani is assistant editor at Wisden India.

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