A win here for Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore and they are through to the playoffs. A win for KL Rahul's Punjab Kings will keep them in the hunt for a top-four spot; a loss won't mean they are out, but things get extremely complicated for them.
Defending 18 off the last over, purple cap holder Harshal Patel starts off with a slower ball yorker that Moises Henriques can only jam out back to the bowler before setting off for a non-existent run. Harshal charges through in his follow through and underhands into the stumps to dismiss Shahrukh Khan unable to make the ground from the non-striker's end. Officially, he goes wicketless on the day but that runout off his own bowling effectively clinches victory. Preity Zinta is stoic in the Kings owners box. Tripping over the final hurdle is old hat for her Kings team this season and they end up on the losing end by six runs. Another very good start goes to waste as she sees one of her former stars, Glenn Maxwell, play a pivotal role in helping Royal Challengers Bangalore clinch a playoff berth moving to 16 points with the win today. Kings will need to win their final match to have any hope of reaching the playoffs, and more than likely will need a bit of help in terms of other results too. That's it for today's first match of the IPL doubleheader. Flip over to the other match feed for Sunrisers Hyderabad and KKR getting ready to get underway in Dubai. Take care!
Kings collapse is on once again
Despite another great platform laid by KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, it is currently being dismantled by Yuzvendra Chahal and George Garton. Chahal strikes twice in the 16th, first getting Agarwal for 57 top edging a sweep to short third man. Sarfaraz Khan steps out and steps right back to the pavilion, misreading a stock legbreak that rips past his flick to the leg side and knocks back off stump for a golden duck. Garton follows up in the next over by getting Aiden Markram to mishit a slower ball to Christian at long-on. 37 needed now off the last 18 as RCB sniff closer to clinching a playoff berth.
11th IPL half-century for Agarwal
He brings up the mark with a single stroked to the cover sweeper off Chahal in the 11th. But the moment is tarnished by a pair of partners falling either side of the landmark. KL Rahul charges Shahbaz Ahmed's left-arm spin but doesn't get to the pitch and slices a catch to short third man to break the opening partnership at 91. Nicholas Pooran's run of low scores in the IPL continues with a top edged slog sweep to deep square leg, simple catch to give Chahal a wicket. Are we getting ready for another Kings collapse? 100 for 2 in 13.
Agarwal keeps the chase on pace
Mayank Agarwal clips a pair of boundaries off Dan Christian through the leg side in the eighth over. The first is a slight scoop through short fine leg before he ends the over later on by pulling a slower ball behind square. Now he takes on Chahal in the 10th with an elegant drive over extra cover for another boundary before closing the over once again by waiting for a flighted delivery to land full on the stumps before he clocks it back over Chahal's head to the rope. Agarwal is closing in on a half-century and simultaneously nearing a century stand with KL Rahul. 81 for 0 at the halfway stage.
More DRS excitement with KL Rahul
One ball after honking Siraj for six over wide long-on, Rahul is given out by Richard Illingworth on a ball that seams in. There was a clear deflection but was it pad-pad or bat-pad? The first replay shows a clear inside edge and everyone on RCB goes back to their fielding positions as Rahul scratches out his guard once again. After the earlier controversy with KL Rahul and third umpire K Srinivasan in the first innings from which Devdutt Padikkal got a reprieve, K Srinivasan takes an excruciating amount of time during subsequent replays though examining what again should be pretty straightforward evidence not just on the main camera but paired with the UltraEdge spike before the ball redirects into the pads off Rahul's bat. Srinivasan seems slightly shorn of confidence in the third umpire's booth though and after deliberating for a lengthy period of time finally confirms what the rest of the world can see, an inside edge. Rahul continues on 14 and very next ball produces an identical inside edge into his pads on another flick but Siraj stifles his appeal on this occasion to spare of five more minutes of our lives we'll never get back with superfluous TV replays.... Punjab Kings 33 for 0 after 4!
Mohammed Shami ends the innings by halting a final attempted charge at the death by RCB. Maxwell's knock finally ends for 57 with a slower ball skied to point. After a six by Shahbaz Ahmed heaved over the leg side, Shami comes back to bowl him behind his legs missing a scoop aimed for fine leg. George Garton falls in carbon copy fashion before Harshal Patel drives out the hat-trick ball for a single to extra cover. Despite the three wickets in the final over, RCB have climbed to 164 for 7, the highest total at Sharjah since the IPL restart. Maxwell's innings was huge after Henriques had worked hard to reel in the RCB top order with his three scalps.
Glenn Maxwell is starting to make everyone forget about all the DRS tamasha. He's smashed Bishnoi for a pair of sixes in the 15th and is now continuing the fun against Shami in the 17th with a four flicked over midwicket. In no time he's moved to 43 off 25 balls and has reasserted command for RCB. AB De Villiers has been totally anonymous at the opposite end but perhaps spurred by Maxwell finally hits his first boundary through extra cover to bring up a half-century stand off 31 balls. He tees off once more down the ground to end the 17th over with a six as RCB find their rocket fuel down the stretch.
More rumblings after the Padikkal DRS not out...
ESPNcricinfo's host of T20 Time Out Raunak Kapoor is sounding off on K Srinivasan. In the US pro sports scene with the NFL, there are specifically trained replay review officials who handle reviews different than the standard rotation of on-field umpires who take turns being the third TV umpire as happens in cricket. There's something to be said for that methodology as a certain amount of understanding regarding technology seems to be going over the heads of some of the traditionally trained umpires to miss something like we've just seen happen with the Padikkal decision given not out.
As for the on-field action since then, Moises Henriques has taken a trio of wickets, starting with Virat Kohli and Dan Christian on back-to-back balls in the 10th. Kohli is bowled with a good length delivery that skids low past his drive for 25. Christian slices to backward point for a golden duck. Henriques stays on to bowl the 12th and Padikkal's not out a short time ago may be a moot point now as he goes to cut a length ball wide outside off and gives a thin edge well held by Rahul standing up to the stumps for 40. RCB were looking very charmed 10 minutes ago but now momentum has shifted slightly at 73 for 3.
Devdutt Padikkal goes to play a reverse sweep to Bishnoi in the eighth over on 35 and there's a noise as it passes him into the gloves of KL Rahul, given not out on field. KL Rahul goes for the DRS review immediately and UltraEdge shows a small spike as the ball passes tight to his gloves. It did not hit the bat, but looks fairly obvious that the ball has brushed Padikkal's gloves and should be given out. Third umpire K Srinivasan feels differently though and tells the on field umpire KN Ananthapadmanabhan to stay with his original decision. KL Rahul is in disbelief as he comes down the pitch to have a word with the on field umpire once more, wondering if K Srinivasan is looking at a different replay than the rest of planet Earth.... It means Padikkal can continue with his solid knock so far.
Oh captain, my captain...
How costly will this be? One captain grants a life to another. Ravi Bishnoi enters in the fourth over and in what appears to be a preplanned ploy, skids a legbreak delivery wide down the legside to defeat Kohli charging down the wicket on 9. But KL Rahul fumbles the take to ruin a chance of a stumping.
The butterfingers are infectious now. Sarfaraz Khan spills Virat Kohli on 10 on a sharp pull to short midwicket off Mohammed Shami in the fifth over. It is hit flat to Sarfaraz reaching above his head but he got two hands to it. Here comes the salt rubbed into the wound a few balls later flicking Shami off his pads through fine leg for a boundary. RCB 42/0 in five overs after the pair of missed chances.
Kohli looking silky early
Already a boundary off Aiden Markram in the first over for the RCB captain as his side make a confident start. Now Devdutt Padikkal gets into the act in the third over flicking Arshdeep Singh over midwicket for six followed by a four sliced over point.
RCB to bat first
Virat Kohli has won the toss and chosen to bat first as RCB are fielding an unchanged XI. Meanwhile Punjab Kings have made three changes. Fabian Allen's injury has enforced one of them while Deepak Hooda and Nathan Ellis are also left out. Moises Henriques, Harpreet Brar and Sarfaraz Khan all come back into the XI. Brar dismissed the holy trinity the last time he faced RCB: Kohli, ABD and Glenn Maxwell.
Crunch time in Sharjah
We're heading towards the final stretch of IPL 2021. Can Virat Kohli cap his last season in charge of RCB with a championship run? He can help take his side one step closer to the playoffs today if they can secure a win over Punjab Kings, which would move RCB six points clear of the four-way logjam behind them that Punjab Kings are a part of. Meanwhile the Kings are desperate to create some separation for the inside track to the final playoff berth and break free from that deadlock on 10 points with KKR, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians.