(Cricinfo) In a game crippled by poor batting, Royal Challengers Bangalore limped to 124 and Kings XI Punjab were in danger of failing to chase that middling total, before they hung on to win by five wickets and leave the UAE with their fifth win in as many games. Chris Gayle, playing his first game of the season, and the rest of his team-mates failed to show up for the second game in a row and Royal Challengers lost seven wickets inside 15 overs. Kings XI also had their moments of anxiety at 88 for 5, but Rishi Dhawan and George Bailey completed the chase with seven balls to spare.
Royal Challengers showed poor game sense from the beginning, starting from Gayle’s unusual approach of going ballistic from ball one. Gayle was forced to sit out the first four games due to injury and in the urge to make up for lost time, hammered 20 off the opening over by Glenn Maxwell, though not in the most convincing manner. But when attempting to dish out the same treatment to Sandeep Sharma the following over, he played one impetuous stroke too many and that started a slide Royal Challengers never recovered from.
Sandeep, the right-arm seamer, gets prodigious inswing and that helped in trapping Gayle and Virat Kohli, though he was lucky to get the latter. The swing took the ball past leg stump when the ball struck Kohli’s pads but Billy Bowden was convinced it was hitting the stumps. A horrified Kohli trudged back after a pause, and the scowl hardly left his face through the game. The top order fell to some inspired seam bowling from Sandeep and Mitchell Johnson who pitched the ball up and induced edges. AB de Villiers failed to take charge of the innings as he tamely lobbed the ball to backward point off Dhawan. The responsibility fell on the inconsistent Yuvraj Singh, and though he showed glimpses of his old self with his on-side flicks, he too fell to a poor shot. He pulled a short ball and found David Miller at deep midwicket with pin-point precision. It was a questionable shot, given the circumstances. Yuvraj was the last recognised batsman and Royal Challengers were three short of 100 with more than five overs to play.
The loss of wickets dried up the boundaries. Incredibly, Royal Challengers failed to score a boundary off the last seven overs, with only two instances of the ball crossing the ropes, via leg byes.
With a paltry 124 to defend, Royal Challengers needed quick wickets. Two brilliant catches at fine leg by Mitchell Starc gave them hope. A pick up shot by Wriddhiman Saha nearly cleared the rope but Starc hung on despite covering several yards near the edge of the rope. Maxwell tried the same shot but Starc this time hung on, diving forward. Maxwell’s wicket gave Royal Challengers hope but for the second time in as many games, Kings XI managed without him.
Miller and Virender Sehwag kept Kings XI on track with a stand of 45. However, a double-strike by the legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal added a twist. Miller edged a googly, Sehwag was adjudged caught behind as well but replays showed he hadn’t nicked it. It left Kings XI at a edgy 88 for 5, but they still held the edge thanks to a comfortable required rate of 5.28 and depth in batting.
Dhawan eased the nerves with a square cut for four off Dinda and a dab to third man off Yuvraj. The captain Bailey played second fiddle and the pair sealed the win in the 19th over. Royal Challengers succumbed to their third loss, and will need a quick turnaround once the tournament returns to India.