Bengaluru, May 7 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli smashed a masterful century to snatch a much needed seven-wicket victory against Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in the 35th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Saturday.
Requiring 192 runs in 20 overs, RCB spared three balls to score 195/3 as unbeaten Kohli scored a 58-ball-108, packed with seven sixes and eight fours. He was ably supported by Shane Watson (36) and opening partner Lokesh Rahul (38).
Man-of-the-match Kohli is the first batsman to hit two centuries in a single IPL edition until now. He reached his century in style with a six at the end of the 19th over in paceman R.P. Singh’s bowling. His century came in 52 balls with seven fours and seven sixes at the Chinnaswami Stadium.
What looked like an unexciting chase in the beginning without boundaries until after three overs transformed into a entertaining innings, thanks to the consistent Kohli.
Initially, Pune bowlers Ashok Dinda and R.P. Singh frustrated openers Kohli and Rahul — no boundaries were leaked in the first three overs.
RCB managed to hit only 10 runs in the first three overs. Later, Rahul (38) unshackled with two sixes in the fourth over to open the boundaries account for RCB.
Kohli and Rahul constructed a 94 run partnership. Later, Rahul fell to Adam Zampa while going for a huge shot, caught by George Bailey near the boundary.
Though Ab de Villiers (1) faltered, Watson rose to the occasion with a quick fire 13-ball 36-run knock.
The veteran Australian all-rounder blasted five fours and two sixes to emerge valuable with the bat as well after a fine bowling performance.
His show got over after he was declared leg before the wicket off Singh in the 16th over while attempting a big heave.
Meanwhile, Kohli saw to it that the asking rate fell down steadily and swiftly. From an asking rate of 142 runs in 78 balls after the beginning of the match, it fell down to 122 runs needed in 66 balls and 98 in 54 balls and later 77 in 38.
By the end of the 19th over, RCB needed 16 runs off eight ball and four runs off six balls in the final over, Travis Head (6) took a single giving the strike to Kohli.
Excited and entertained fans in the stadium stood up flashing their glowing cell phones to witness the victory coming from Kohli’s bat. With one run needed in four balls, Kohli cracked a four to claim the victory.
Adam Zampa 2/35 performed the best with the ball for PSG while R. P. Singh 1/37 was the only other bowler to manage a wicket.
Earlier, excellent batting by Ajinkya Rahane and Saurabh Tiwary helped Pune post a challenging total of 191/6.
Rahane (74) and Tiwary (52) stabilised the visitors’ innings after opener Usman Khawaja (16) departed early. Tiwary survived two catches and a stumping in the sixth over when Stuart Binny and Sachin Baby dropped him.
He went on to build a partnership of 105 runs with top scorer Rahane.
Attempting a big shot off Yuzvendra Chahal, Tiwary was short of the crease and was stumped by wicket-keeper Rahul in the 15th over.
Rahane hit a 48-ball-74 peppered with two sixes and eight fours.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9), Thisara Perera (14) and George Bailey (0) fizzled out with the bat. Dhoni managed to hit a six off Watson in the 16th, only to throw his wicket away while attempting a big shot. He was caught by Parveez Rasool at third man.
Ravichandran Ashwin managed to steal 10 runs in five balls in the last over.
Watson (3/24) emerged the most successful bowler for RCB with an economy rate of six in his quota of four overs.
After taking a catch from Perera, Watson went on to castle Rahane with the first ball of the 19th over. Three balls later, he sent Bailey back to the dugout in a caught behind wicket scalp.
Continuing his good form, Chahal took one wicket, giving away 38 runs while Chris Jordan was the only other bowler to claim a wicket.
With the victory, RCB stand at the second last position in the points table with six points while Pune also have the same points but ahead at better net run rate.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 195/3 (Virat Kohli 108, Shane Watson 36; Adam Zampa 2/35, R. P. Singh 1/37) beat Rising Pune Supergiants: 191/6 (Ajinkya Rahane 74, Saurabh Tiwary 52; Shane Watson 3/24, Yuzvendra Chahal 1/38)