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RESULT
67th Match (N), Wankhede, May 19, 2022, Indian Premier League
(18.4/20 ov, T:169) 170/2

RCB won by 8 wickets (with 8 balls remaining)

Report

Kohli 73 keeps RCB in playoff contention

A blistering 18-ball 40 from Glenn Maxwell finished the job as RCB sealed an impressive win

Deivarayan Muthu
19-May-2022
Royal Challengers Bangalore 170 for 2 (Kohli 73, du Plessis 44, Rashid 2-32 ) beat Gujarat Titans 168 for 5 (Pandya 62*, Miller 34, Hazlewood 2-39) by eight wickets
Virat Kohli finally broke out of the funk, with 73 off 54 balls, his highest score this IPL, to keep Royal Challengers Bangalore's campaign alive, but only just. Royal Challengers still need Delhi Capitals, who now have a superior net run rate than them, to lose their final league fixture to Mumbai Indians, if they are to sneak into the playoffs. Royal Challengers' victory meant Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad were out of the reckoning for playoffs.
Kohli's second half-century against Gujarat Titans - and only his second overall this season - formed the centerpiece of Royal Challengers' successful pursuit of 169. Faf du Plessis simply rode in Kohli's slipstream during a 115-run opening stand before holing out for 44 off 38 balls. Rashid Khan also got rid of Kohli, in his next over, but the game was all but over by then. Glenn Maxwell got the job done with a flurry of boundaries along with Dinesh Karthik.
Such a dominant win didn't seem likely when Royal Challengers' designated death bowler Harshal Patel bowled just one over and then left the field after splitting the webbing in his bowling hand. Despite late blows from Hardik Pandya (62* off 47 balls) and Rashid (19* off 6 balls), Harshal-less RCB managed to limit Titans to 168 for 5 on a slow Wankhede pitch.
Maxwell in the thick of the action
Maxwell's first contribution of the evening was a spectacular one-handed grab at wide slip to send back Shubman Gill for 1. Maxwell then bowled two overs in the powerplay, which brought the wicket of Matthew Wade and cost Royal Challengers just two runs. Wade was visibly peeved at being given out lbw when he had thought he had bottom-edged a sweep onto his pad. He called for a review immediately, but UltraEdge didn't detect a spike although some side-on replays suggested a deflection off the bat. So there wasn't enough evidence for TV umpire Navdeep Singh to overturn the on-field out call.
Maxwell could've also had Pandya on 14 had Suyash Prabhudessai not misjudged a catch at the long-on boundary.
Miller and Pandya do the repair job
When du Plessis nailed a direct hit to run-out Wriddhiman Saha in the ninth over, Titans were 62 for 3. Pandya and David Miller then got together, forging a 61-run fourth-wicket stand. Pandya, in particular, struggled to time the ball on a pitch that offered grip to the slower bowlers. He swung so hard at Maxwell that he not only lost his shape but also his grip, with the bat flying over the square-leg region in the tenth over.
As for Miller, he was more fluent against spin, taking fingerspinners Maxwell and Shahbaz Ahmed for 23 off 11 balls. However, Wanindu Hasaranga, the wristspinner, cut short Miller's innings at 34 off 25 balls by pulling off a terrific return catch.
Despite the unavailability of Harshal, Royal Challengers made Pandya work hard for the large part of his innings. He needed 42 balls to get to a half-century. Rashid and Pandya then plundered 34 off the last two overs, bowled by Siddharth Kaul and Josh Hazlewood, but they still couldn't reach 170.
The Kohli show
Kohli gave Royal Challengers' chase a jumpstart, claiming 34 runs of the 55 they hit in the powerplay.
His innings was pure theatre, with the Wankhede crowd right behind him. He pumped Mohammed Shami over his head for four in the third over and regularly hit over the top, a departure from his usual cagey approach in the powerplay.
Fortune was also on his side on Thursday. When Shami found some seam movement, the ball did not shave the outside edge. And when Hardik Pandya nipped the ball into him and cramped him, the inside edge missed the stumps. Kohli also got a reprieve on 16 when Rashid, standing a few yards in from the square-leg boundary, dropped a catch.
Kohli's early assault prompted Titans to rush Rashid into the attack as early as the fifth over, but Kohli attacked him as well. He lofted him over his head for four and then rattled up 33-ball fifty in grand style, with his first-ever six off Rashid.
Kohli, however, judiciously played out R Sai Kishore who varied his pace smartly and got more purchase from the pitch. When he drifted one into Kohli and got it to turn away sharply, it veered away from the outside edge. There were enough signs that this was Kohli's night. Kohli was so pumped up that he even celebrated du Plessis' boundaries with gusto.
Rashid then returned to the attack to give Royal Challengers some late jitters. He snagged du Plessis and Kohli in successive overs and almost added Maxwell to his scalps. He hit the top of Maxwell's leg stump, but the bails didn't get dislodged. Maxwell was on zero at that point. He walloped an unbeaten 40 off 18 balls to close out the game that he had set up beautifully.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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