Fantastic Yuvraj keeps RCB in race
Royal Challengers Bangalore 186 for 4 (Yuvraj 68*) beat Delhi Daredevils 170 for 7 (Duminy 48, Jadhav 37, Muralitharan 2-25) by 16 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
For the second time in three days, Yuvraj Singh announced his return to form, this time with a violent six-laden unbeaten 68 off 29 balls, but unlike two days ago, Royal Challengers Bangalore managed to hold their composure. They sneaked to a 16-run win against the bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils and kept their chances alive in the tournament. The relief was writ large over their faces when Daredevils finally fell short after threatening the target, at least till the 18th over when JP Duminy was around. However, Yuvraj's late assault this time did not go in vain.
Yuvraj was on 10 off 10 balls and Royal Challengers on 115 for 4 at the start of the 17th over. With their other big-hitters already back in the dug-out the onus of providing that final thrust lay squarely on Yuvraj, especially after his batting exploits in the last match. A score of 156 - the lowest successfully defended on this ground across IPL seasons - was still a fair distance away and reaching even that would have been a good result on a slowish pitch.
Imran Tahir, who had troubled Yuvraj in his earlier over, wasn't going to have a happy ending to his spell though. Bowling the 17th over, he gave away 21 runs that included three consecutive hits over the boundary by Yuvraj. The Royal Challengers gravy train was on the move. In the next over, Yuvraj targetted Mohammed Shami, picking up a six over fine leg with that trademark flick that oozed of 2007. Next over, another six over midwicket. Forty-four runs came off three overs but the best was yet to come.
The final over, bowled by Rahul Shukla, earned the distinction of being the most-expensive last over ever bowled in the IPL as Yuvraj smashed four sixes - the first of which brought him his second half-century in two games, off just 24 balls - to steal 27 runs.
Earlier, ending speculation over his injury, Chris Gayle had walked out to play a typically flickering 22 before being bowled by Shukla. Virat Kohli's search for some runs ended in vain as he was run-out for just 10. With the run rate lingering below six after eight overs, the first round of counter came through a busy 49-run third-wicket stand between Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers, but as the two batsmen left within two overs of each other, Royal Challengers' innings appeared to be in danger of losing steam. However, from average beginnings, Royal Challengers were charged to 186 by an electric Yuvraj.
Daredevils lost their openers early - M Vijay falling to Muralitharan in the first over and Quinton de Kock to Mitchell Starc in the second - but a 63-run stand between Mayank Agarwal and Kevin Pietersen kept the runs coming. The two didn't let the required rate shoot up, collecting boundaries and sixes with relative ease in an association that lasted 7.2 overs. With Duminy and Jadhav in the middle when 64 were needed off the last four, Royal Challengers knew it was still not the time to encash the dividends on the Yuvraj investment - they had given that many in three overs two nights ago. However, once Starc bowled Duminy towards the end, the win was finally within grasp.
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo