Virat Kohli’s maiden T20 hundred went in vain as Gujarat Lions beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in the 19th match of the Indian Premier League Season 9 at Rajkot. And with the win Gujarat jumped to the top of the standings with four victories in five games.
Kohli hit a six and two fours in the last over to reach the landmark and remained unbeaten on 100 off 63 balls, which included a six and 11 fours, as he put on an undefeated 121 runs for the third wicket with KL Rahul.
Gujarat top-order batsmen clicked in unison on Sunday as they chased down the competitive target with three balls remaining. Their openers – Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum – started the proceedings as Smith hit a six and McCullum a four to score 12 off Richardson. Dinesh Karthik top-scored for the hosts with an unbeaten 50 off 39 balls, which comprised just three boundaries, as he carried the team home in presence of other big-hitters like Dwayne Bravo who finished the chase with a boundary.
Similar to RCB innings, Gujarat too started watchfully in the first over, bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal, scoring three in it with two singles and a wide. But Smith took charge of the chase soon, hitting a four, off a no-ball, and sending the free-hit over mid-wicket for a six off Chahal’s next over. Smith then hit two more fours off Abdulla to take Gujarat to 41 for no loss after four overs. Riding on the openers’ early assaults, Gujarat raced to 95/2 at the halfway mark of their chase.
Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina then stabilised the chase with Karthik as they took the total to 136/2 after 15 overs, which left them to score 45 more in the final five. In the next over, Chahal dismissed Raina for 28 to bring the visitors in the game. Ravindra Jadeja then smashed a six off Abdulla to ease the pressure and made the situation to 27 off final three overs. Richardson dropped Karthik off his own bowling in the next over, which costs RCB dear in the end.
Earlier, Dhawal Kulkarni gave Gujarat an early breakthrough as he dismissed Shane Watson with a slower delivery in the second over. But in the next over, in-form Kohli loosened up with two consecutive fours off Praveen Kumar. Raina introduced spin early in the fifth over but Pravin Tambe was welcomed with two back-to-back fours in first two balls by Kohli, both through deep extra cover, to concede 11 in it. Kohli-de Villiers put on another good stand – 51 runs for the second wicket in six overs. Kohli took RCB to 76/2 at halfway mark with Rahul, who hit first six of the innings off Jakati in the 14th over. Kohli then reached his 23rd IPL fifty off 40 balls, hitting six boundaries. It was his fourth of this season in five innings. The duo completed fifty-run stand in the 15th and took RCB to 115/2 as they set a platform for late assault.After playing three dots against Kulkarni in the next over, Rahul smacked the final two balls for consecutive sixes to score 13 off it. Rahul then completed his maiden IPL fifty off 34 balls in the penultimate over. Then Kohli finished the innings in style scoring 17 off the final over bowled by Bravo. Rahul finished with a brilliant knock of 51 not out off 35 balls with the help of three sixes and four boundaries.