Batting maestro Virat Kohli chose the perfect time to return to form as he smashed a half-century to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to an 8-wicket victory over table-toppers Gujarat Titans in a do or die match. The win has helped RCB to move to the fourth spot on the points table as they managed to stay alive in the playoff race. However, they still have to be dependent on the result of the Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals clash as if Rishabh Pant and Co. emerged victorious in that contest then they will pip RCB to seal a place in the play-off.
It was the second time when Kohli score a 50-plus score this season and interestingly the first one also came up against Gujarat Titans where he scored 58 runs off 53 balls. The 33-year-old didn’t look his fluent best on that occasion but on Thursday he was all charged to play a crucial knock for his team as attacked the bowlers right from the start.
Glenn Maxwell (40*) scored the winning runs for his team as RCB won the match with 8 balls to spare. Dinesh Karthik also remained unbeaten on 2. Maxwell’s blistering 18-ball knock was laced with 2 sixes and 5 fours.
Kohli led the foundation of the massive win alongside skipper Faf du Plessis who scored 44 runs off 38 balls, he played second-fiddle in the 115-run stand for the opening wicket. He was also dismissed by Rashid as the Afghan spinner was the lone-wicket take for Gujarat Titans in their last league-stage contest.
Earlier, GT skipper Hardik Pandya scored a gritty half-century to lift his to a competitive 168 for five against RCB.
Coming into the game with a string of low scores, Hardik warmed up nicely for the play-offs with a well crafted 62 not out off 47 balls even though he was not at his fluent best.
RCB, needing a win to stay alive in the tournament, limited GT to 72 for three in 10 overs, largely due to their brilliance in the field despite Wriddhiman Saha’s (31 off 22) threatening stay in the middle.
Saha provided another brisk start with some clean hitting but his opening partner Shubman Gill perished cheaply. The right-hander poked at a good length ball and Glenn Maxwell, standing at a widish first slip, plucked a stunning one-handed catch diving to his right.
Pandya fought hard till, the end to revive Gujarat’s innings as he shared a couple of crucial partnerships with David Miller (34) and Rashid Khan (19) to help Gujarat Titans recover from early wickets.