Kings wilt in a massive chase under pressure

Rain only delayed the inevitable at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli (113, 50b, 12x4, 8x6) scored his customary century, Royal Challengers Bangalore ran up a total in excess of 200 — 211 to be precise — and yet another team, this time Kings XI Punjab, came under the bludgeoning bats of the home batsmen, all in a matter of 15 overs.

The pressure of having to chase a gigantic score then caused Kings XI to wilt. Once left-arm seamer S. Arvind removed M. Vijay and Hashim Amla early, they had little to play for.

Leggie Yuzvendra Chahal scalped his career-best T20 figures of four for 25 before rain put an end to the contest in the 14th over with Kings 120 for nine, 82 adrift as per the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Following the win, RCB, which was once languishing at the bottom, is now up to second spot on 14 points from 13 matches and within touching distance of the play-offs.

Earlier, having threatened all day, rain came down in a torrent in the evening to push the start to 9.45 p.m.

After the ground staff did a splendid job in getting the arena ready in less than an hour after the rain stopped, Kings sent RCB in, perhaps sensing an even chance in a curtailed match.

Close call

But not one of Vijay’s tricks worked as Kohli, at his magical best, subjected the Kings bowlers to the most bruising of times.

Axar Patel’s shy at the stumps in the fourth over when Kohli was on 10 was the closest Kings came to dismissing him.

After three quiet overs at the start, from which only 17 runs came, Kohli and Chris Gayle (73, 32b, 4x4, 8x6) exploded like a volcano, stitching together a 147-run opening stand in just 11 overs. So brutal was the hitting that at one point, nine consecutive scoring shots were all sixes.

Gayle did his utmost to prove that his return to form in the last game was not a flash in the pan. He succeeded too. But, never before has an innings of his been overshadowed like this.

Nearly 90 per cent of Kohli’s runs came in the ‘V’, with his lofted extra-cover drive the most majestic shot among all.

Spinner K.C. Cariappa, playing in his hometown, experienced the best of it — or rather the worst from his point of view. In all he gave away 55 runs in his three overs and Kohli hit 42 of them.

With this knock, Kohli now has 4,002 runs, the most in the history of IPL beating Suresh Raina’s previous total of 3,985 (as of Wednesday).