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Only three days after seeing AB de Villiers hammer an unbeaten 73 of 33 while the rest of the batsmen from both teams couldn't score as freely, the Royal Challengers Bangalore pushed their ace batsmen to No. 6 on the same ground against the Kings XI Punjab and later suffered an eight-wicket loss. Captain Virat Kohli described it as one of those decisions that didn't come off, while explaining that they wanted to send left-hand batsmen against Kings XI's legspinners. However, de Villiers was dismissed for 2 off five deliveries when he later came out to bat at 127 for 4. It had been six years since de Villiers batted that low in the IPL.
"We had a chat," Kohli explained at the presentation, "There was a message from outside about left hand-right hand [combination] and we had a discussion about it and we wanted to go ahead with it because they had two leggies (Ravi Bishnoi and M Ashwin) and that could have kept them out of the game."
So Washington Sundar was promoted to No. 4. and Shivam Dube was sent up at No. 5. Their job was to try and attack as soon as they had their eyes in. But the two of them could make only 36 runs in 33 balls as the Kings XI met the Royal Challengers counter with a counter of their own - Glenn Maxwell. The pitch in Sharjah was slow and he was excellent at giving no room, or pace, for Royal Challengers' pinch hitters to work with, and finished with 4-0-28-0.
"That's the idea," Kohli said of Sundar and Dube batting ahead of de Villiers. "Get your eye in and start hitting but I think they bowled decently well. The pitch didn't allow us to hit those big shots and we were not able to put them under pressure. Sometimes you have to take those calls and they don't come off."
In the end, de Villiers, who could have come in the seventh or 11th over of the innings, ended up marking his guard only in the 17th before being dismissed while trying to attack Mohammed Shami that ended in a catch at extra cover.
"Look sometimes decisions that you take don't come off," Kohli said. "This was one of those nights. But look, we're pretty happy with the decisions we took, especially in the batting innings, but they just didn't come off. Having said that, I think 170-plus was a decent score on that pitch. Had we hit decent areas on the pitch, then we would have been in the game much more than we did."