De Villiers and Kohli craft Royal Challengers win
Royal Challengers Bangalore 185 for 3 (AB de Villiers 83, Virat Kohli 80, Perera 3-34) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 172 for 8 (Rahane 60, MS Dhoni 41, Richardson 3-13, Watson 2-31) by 13 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Prior to this match, 14 of 15 games in IPL 2016 had been won by the team chasing. Royal Challengers Bangalore bucked the trend again by defending 185 against Rising Pune Supergiants and securing a 13-run victory. They had earlier defended 227 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Virat Kohli played an un-Virat Kohli innings of 80 and struggled for timing, particularly in the middle overs. AB de Villiers, though, was his usual self, swatting and even reverse-swatting his way to 83 off 46. The pair produced their third 100-plus stand in four matches, adding 155 runs to take the side to 185, a total that Supergiants captain MS Dhoni described as "par-plus". Thisara Perera blitzed 34 off 13 to give Royal Challengers a late scare, after claiming three wickets with the ball, but Shane Watson dismissed the Sri Lanka allrounder and R Ashwin in the space of three balls to snuff out the chase.
Supergiants lost Faf du Plessis in the second over when he stepped out and chipped a catch to mid-off. A ball later, they suffered a bigger jolt. Kevin Pietersen set off for a quick single and seemed to have hurt his calf while turning back. Moments later, he limped off the field. In the next over, Steven Smith slipped near the middle of the pitch and was run out for 4. Ajinkya Rahane went on to make 60 off 46 balls, but his knock was offset by Dhoni's patchy 41 off 38 balls. This meant that Supergiants limped through a large part of their chase before Perera gave it a leg-up.
When Perera came out to bat at 109 for 3, the asking rate was close to 15 an over. He survived a close lbw shout off his first ball and then mowed South African chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi over midwicket for a six. He hit full tilt when he bashed four successive boundaries off Harshal Patel in the 18th over. Perera's blows reduced the equation from 50 off 18 balls to 25 off 12, but Watson and Kane Richardson combined to seal the deal for their side.
Royal Challengers' batting was once again led by Kohli and de Villiers, after KL Rahul skied a catch to third man in the fourth over. De Villiers marked his arrival with a crunching cut off left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma that pierced the gap between cover and cover point. Kohli, too, began positively, thanks to a steady supply of leg-stump balls from Ishant Sharma. Rajat Bhatia's assortment of cutters and Ankit's darters, however, squeezed Royal Challengers. R Ashwin was also economical, though he did not complete his quota again. He could have dismissed Kohli on 50 had Ankit hung on to a catch at mid-off.
De Villiers tucked into M Ashwin, hitting the rookie legspinner for two sixes in his first over. He followed it with swept and reverse-swept fours in the bowler's second over. The South Africa batsman continued to showcase his gallery of shots even as Kohli was tied down. Kohli's frustration was evident when he whacked himself on the pad with the bat after mistiming a slower ball from Bhatia to deep midwicket and then jammed his bat onto the helmet when he holed out in the last over of the innings. A ball later, De Villiers was undone by Perera's legcutter. Kohli had played out 17 of Royal Challengers' 28 dots, which incidentally was the joint-third least in an IPL innings.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo