Bangalore: Whoever smiles more after the rain-curtailed clash between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, the man of the match simply has to be collectively given to the groundstaff at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle perform the Champion dance after the West Indians' 50. Pic/PTI
If it had rained 4s and 6s the previous game here against the Gujarat Lions, the actual rains came down hard last night but less than an hour after the rain Gods had finally relented, there was Virat Kohli out in the centre losing yet another toss.
But, put into bat by Murali Vijay, the reduction of the game to 15 overs-a-side made no difference to Kohli as he notched an incredible fourth ton of the season, one which came in the 14th over.
That exhilarating century and the opening partnership of 147 from a mere 11 overs with fellow opener Chris Gayle meant that RCB finished their 15 overs with 211-3 and set Kings XI an asking rate of 14.13 an over, a near impossible task, even if the RCB bowlers are known for their own generosity.
Who needs 20 overs seemed to be the message as Kohli (113, 50b, 12x4, 8x6, SR of 226) and Gayle (73, 32b, 4x4, 8x6, SR 228) went berserk. They had been made to wait till as late as 9.45 pm as were the patient home fans and as if to pay them back for their loyalty, they tore into the Kings XI attack.
The likes of pacer Kyle Abbot, spinners KC Cariappa and Akshar Patel would have been very glad that they could bowl only three overs each, as they conceded 48, 55 and 46 runs respectively. Their only consolation was that AB de Villiers failed to score on the night.
It was akin to leading lambs to the slaughter as Gayle and Kohli sent the ball soaring into every part of the ground. Gayle was brutal as ever, while Kohli did what Kohli does, both when coaxing the ball for a four and when sending it over for a six. It was another treat for sure.
The hosts then returned to restrict Kings XI for 120 in 14 overs to register their seventh win and reach the second spot in points table with 14 points in 13 matches. They are now tied at 14 points with Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions. Chasing a mammoth 212 to win, none of the Kings XI batsmen could stitch a partnership as the pressure to hit big shots saw them make their back way to the hut. Wriddhiman Saha (24) was the top-scorer for Punjab. For Bangalore, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (4/25) returned with a four-wicket haul, while Sreenath Aravind (2/18) and Shane Watson (2/7) scalped two wickets each. In the end, Punjab were 120-9 with just one over to go when heavens opened up again and the result of the match was decided by the Duckworth Lewis method.
Gayle and Kolhi were also involved in a record 147-run partnership for the first wicket in 67 balls, by hitting all over the ground at will from the first over, treating a packed stadium of 25,000 frezined fans with mighty sixes and massive fours.
Desperate efforts by Vijay to break the partnership or get either of them out early failed as Kolhi and Gayle were in full cry and batted with disdain.
While the first 50 came in 4.4 overs of the six-over power play, the first 100 of RCB's innings came in 8.5 overs.
Though Vijay used as many as five bowlers to contain the openers, there was no respite for Kings till Gayle got caught by David Miller of Arshad Patel ball in 11 over when RCB score was147 on the board.
After in-form AB de Villiers was bowled for a duck in 12th over, keeper K.L Rahul joined Kohli to take the score to 199 when the skipper was caught by Miller off Sandeep Sharma ball at 113 comprising 8 sixes and 12 fours in just 50 balls.
Rahul and Kohli were involved in a 45-run third wicket partnership in 15 balls. Rahul remained till the end at 16 not out. Patel, Sharma and Abbot shared one wicket each of RCB's batters.
Number of runs scored by Virat Kohli in last five IPL matches @ 81.00