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 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, which laid the foundation for the win. 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, Supergiants received 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. Soon after, 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 MS Dhoni’s 41 off 38 balls. This meant that Supergiants limped through their innings before Thisara gave it a leg-up.
When Thisara came out to bat at 109 for 3, the asking rate had shot close to 15 an over. He survived a tight 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 third-last over. Thisara’s blows reduced the equation to 25 off 12, but Watson and Kane Richardson combined to seal the deal for their side over. Thisara’s blows reduced the equation 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 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 Sharma’s darters, however, squeezed Royal Challengers. As did R Ashwin, though he did not complete his quota again. He could have had Kohli on 50 had Ankit Sharma hung on to a catch at mid-off.
AB de Villiers tucked into the other Ashwin, hitting the rookie legspinner for two sixes in his first over. He followed it with a swept and reverse-swept four in M Ashwin’s second over. De Villiers continued to showcase his gallery of shots even as Kohli was tied down. Kohli smashed his bat into his pad when he mistimed a Bhatia slower ball to deep midwicket. Kohli then jammed his helmet onto his head when he holed out in the last over of the innings. A ball later, AB de Villiers was undone by Thisara’s legcutter. Kohli had played out 17 of Royal Challengers’ 28 dots, which incidentally was the joint-third least in an IPL innings. Eventually they cobbled together 185, which Dhoni described a “par-plus score”.