Bangalore win in seesaw chase
Royal Challengers Bangalore 161 for 7 (Kohli 56, M Morkel 3-25) beat Delhi Daredevils 160 for 6 (Hopes 54, Mithun 2-37) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Royal Challengers Bangalore lower order scraped 22 runs from 15 deliveries to steer their side past Delhi Daredevils' 160 - a target that had looked small when Virat Kohli was at the crease, and stiff after his dismissal. But Daniel Vettori and J Syed Mohammad found the boundaries when they were needed, and got Bangalore home with three deliveries to spare.
It had looked like a cakewalk when Kohli was finding the boundaries at will in a breezy half-century that stunned Delhi. But David Warner provided the inspiration Delhi needed with a direct hit from the deep that ran out AB de Villiers. After Morne Morkel bowled Kohli two deliveries later, 65 needed from 66 deliveries quickly became 44 required from 30, and the Feroz Shah Kotla crowd started buzzing with the hope of a home victory.
But Syed flicked and steered Umesh Yadav for successive boundaries to bring the equation down to 12 required off two overs, and Bangalore didn't allow Delhi back again.
The way Kohli had begun in a blaze of boundaries, Delhi hadn't looked like getting a look-in. Coming in after Tillakaratne Dilshan had been dismissed off the second ball of the chase, Kohli launched six fours off his first ten deliveries. He started with successive boundaries on either side of point off Ashok Dinda, and then laid in to Irfan Pathan, dismissing him for four fours in an over.
Irfan is trying to make a comeback to the Indian team, but looked helpless against Kohli, becoming too predictable with his attempt to bend the ball back in at gentle pace. Kohli took full toll, flicking, driving and glancing him for 16 runs as Delhi surrendered the advantage of the early breakthrough.
To add to Delhi's troubles, they had to contend with Chris Gayle at the other end. The Jamaican carved Morne Morkel over cover and then hammered him over long-on. Kohli and Gayle took another 17 runs off Dinda as Bangalore raced to 62 for 1 in five overs. Though James Hopes got Gayle with a surprise bouncer to end an 82-run stand off 43 deliveries, Kohli casually flicked the next delivery for four to bring up his fifty in 31 balls.
Then came the moment that got Delhi back in the game. AB de Villiers took on Warner's throw from deep midwicket for a second run, and found himself nowhere close when the ball shattered the stumps. Two balls later, Morne Morkel got Kohli to play on, and suddenly Bangalore were 96 for 4.
Bangalore had hardly recovered from the twin blows when Cheteshwar Pujara found deep midwicket with a pull. They still needed 54 from 45, and Saurabh Tiwary was the only specialist batsman left.
But Vettori has scrapped on countless occasions for New Zealand, and wasn't going to give in anytime soon. He and Tiwary brought it down to 32 from 24. Tiwary then clubbed Morkel for six over midwicket to almost snatch the game away from Delhi but the match turned again. Morkel had Tiwary steering a full delivery to the keeper. Abhimanyu Mithun tried to swing his way out of pressure off the next two balls, and found extra cover with the second attempt.
Syed joined Vettori and they shut the door on Delhi with some nerveless batting; Vettori's sliced boundary over backward point off Hopes decisively swung the game in Bangalore's favour in the penultimate over.
Hopes had earlier led a Delhi recovery after Zaheer Khan and S Aravind made the dangerous pair of Virender Sehwag and David Warner feel for the new ball that zipped around on a helpful surface. Hopes added 47 off 33 deliveries for the fifth wicket with Venugopal Rao and played the percentages excellently, targeting the three Bangalore spinners for six of his seven boundaries.
Warner had found the initial movement too hot to handle, and was cleaned up by a perfectly pitched delivery from Zaheer that came back into him. Sehwag got off to his usual carefree start, slamming his first delivery for four and twice edging Aravind just short of the men behind the wicket. His luck eventually ran out when he was caught inches short of his crease by a Mithun throw.
At 115 for 3 with five overs to go, however, Delhi had managed to set the base for the final onslaught, but Rao's blind charge to Vettori made him lose his stumps. Some late sixes from Irfan Pathan and Naman Ojha lifted Delhi to 160, a score that proved inadequate ultimately.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo