Kolkata: Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers continued their sparkling show with the bat to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to a commanding nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders and keep their play-off hopes alive in the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League, here on Monday.
Chasing a challenging 184 for win on a turning Eden Gardens track, Chris Gayle returned to form to set up the chase with a 31-ball 49 (5x4s, 4x6s) before skipper Kohli and De Villiers posted half-centuries each in a 115-run unbroken second wicket partnership off just 68 balls to take KKR comfortably home with eight balls to spare.
It was Kohli and De Villiers fifth hundred plus run stand this season. Continuing his sensational batting form in this year’s IPL, Kohli posted an unbeaten 75 off 51 balls (5x4s, 3x6s) while De Villiers remained not out on 59 off 31 balls (5x4s, 3x6s) as the duo carried forward from where they left against Gujarat Lions in their last match.
Kohli, who batted with a split webbing on his left hand, completed his half-century in 37 balls and also became the highest rungetter in an IPL season, surpassing Gayle’s 733 as RCB moved to fifth position in the standings with 12 points from as many matches to remain in the hunt.
Kohli never looked back after he was dropped at 32 by his counterpart Gautam Gambhir at point. Opening the batting, Gayle crawled to one run from four balls before he took the charge with back-to-back fours off Morne Morkel. He was even better when he smacked fellow Jamaican Andre Russell for two successive sixes.
Gambhir was quick to introduce Sunil Narine into the attack in the fifth over but the result was no different as Gayle effortlessly cleared the boundaries with his brute force.
Gayle was beaten once during his quickfire innings when he failed to read the sharp away turn of Chawla but he bounced back quickly to whack the leg-spinner over long-on in what seemed a mis-hit but had enough power to clear the long-on rope.