Virat Kohli finally managed to get a big score as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) kept their faint hopes of making the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 Playoffs alive with a much-needed victory against Gujarat Titans (GT) at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Thursday, May 19.
The win means RCB temporarily move into fourth spot on the IPL 2022 Points Table but are still in a vulnerable position as Delhi Capitals can reclaim that spot with a win in their final league game against Mumbai Indians. GT meanwhile are locked in to finish on top of the table after accumulating 20 points.
Hardik Pandya (62 not-out off 47 balls) played a solid knock and Rashid Khan (19 not-out off 6 balls) provided a late burst as GT posted a decent 168/5 after opting to bat.
But Virat Kohli (73 off 54 balls) recorded his highest IPL score since the 2020 season with a Player of the Match performance and Glenn Maxwell (40 not-out off 18 balls) applied the finishing touch to seal a vital 8-wicket victory to keep RCB’s hopes of making the knockout stage alive.
RCB’s chase got off to a superb start with a stunning 115-run partnership between Kohli and Faf du plessis. It was Kohli who started off as the more aggressive of the two as he smashed three fours against Mohammed Shami in the 3rd over.
Kohli raced to a 33-ball fifty with a six against Rashid Khan in the 10th over. He also crossed the landmark of 7000 runs for RCB during a scintillating innings.
It was Rashid who finally got the breakthrough as he got du Plessis (44 off 38 balls) caught out at cover in the 15th over. But, Glenn Maxwell walked out and thumped two sixes and a four against Hardik Pandya (0/35) in the 16th over to ensure RCB don’t lose any momentum.
Kohli hit 8 fours and 2 sixes during an entertaining innings but was finally outfoxed by a Rashid (2/32) googly in the 17th over as he skipped down the track but was beaten past the outside edge as Matthew Wade whipped off the bails.
However, Maxwell wasted no time to seal the win as he finished with a stunning strike-rate of 222.22 and sealed the win with 3 fours against Lockie Ferguson in the penultimate over.
Earlier in the game, Hardik won the Toss and opted to bat as Gujarat made one change with Ferguson replacing Alzarri Joseph. Bangalore had one change too as Siddarth Kaul came in for Mohammed Siraj.
Wriddhiman Saha got off to a quick start with two fours and a six against Kaul in the first over. However, Shubman Gill (1) failed to get going as Josh Hazlewood got him caught at slip in the 3rd over with Glenn Maxwell taking a superb one-handed diving catch at slip.
Matthew Wade went after his compatriot Hazlewood, smashing two fours and a six in the 5th over. But was done in by Maxwell (1/28), who trapped Wade (16 off 13 balls) LBW in the 6th over, bowling a wicket-maiden as GT posted 38/2 in the powerplay.
Saha smashed 4 fours and a six and looked comfortable in the middle but was left stranded after Hardik Pandya drove a delivery to mid-off in the 9th over and set off for a risky single. du Plessis swooped onto the ball and rattled the stumps with a direct-hit to catch Saha (31 off 22 balls) well short.
David Miller walked out and together with Hardik shared a 61-run partnership off 47 balls to help Gujarat cross the 100-run mark. Wanindu Hasaranga broke the partnership in the 17th over as he took a stunning reflex catch off his own bowling to end Miller’s (34 off 25 balls) stay.
Hazlewood (2/39) then got Rahul Tewatia (2) caught behind in the next over to reduce GT to 134/5 after 18 overs. However, Rashid Khan (19 off 6 balls) smashed 2 sixes and a four in the final two overs to provide a late burst.
Hardik brought up his fifty off 42 balls with a boundary in the penultimate over and remained unbeaten on 62 off 47 balls as Gujarat posted 168/5.
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