MOHALI, April 14: Sensational fifties from Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers overshadowed Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 99 as Royal Challengers Bangalore finally snapped a sixmatch losing streak this IPL season with a eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab here on Saturday.
Kohli (67) in company of de Villiers (59 not out) scripted a superb run chase, sharing a 85-run stand to lay the foundation.
The India skipper blasted eight boundaries, while de Villiers clobbered two sixes and five hits across the rope in his 38-ball innings.
Invited to bat, dashing West Indies opener Chris Gayle carried his bat through with an unbeaten 99, studded with five sixes and as many as 10 hits to the fence to single-handedly anchor Punjab to 173 for four.
Kohli and de Villiers then did the bulk of scoring and once the skipper was dismissed in the 16th over, Marcus Stoinis (28* off 16) played a crucial cameo to take the team through with four balls to spare.
With this victory, RCB also avoided the ignominy of most successive losses for a team at the start of an IPL season.
Chasing 174 to win, Parthiv Patel and Kohli gave RCB a flying start, amassing 43 off 23 balls but the left-handed opener was caught by Mayank Agarwal off R Ashwin in the 4th over.
De Villiers and Kohli then took the bowlers to the cleaners, picking up boundaries at will, as RCB brought up the 100-run mark in the 12th over.
Kohli completed his second fifty of this season in 37 balls but runs dried up a bit in the middle with M Ashwin (0/24) and Andrew Tye (0/40) bowling a tight over each.
Mohammed Shami then gave Punjab a glimmer of hope when he dismissed Kohli, who pulled one straight to M Ashwin as RCB slipped to 128 for two.
But Marcus Stoinis and de Villiers ensured there were no hiccups, sharing 46 runs, as RCB romped home comfortably in the end.
Earlier, Gayle stitched a 66-run opening stand off 38 balls with KL Rahul (18) and kept the scoreboard ticking even though he lost partners on the other end.
RCB could have dismissed Gayle in the first over itself when he was hit on the leg by Umesh Yadav but Virat Kohli didn’t go for a DRS and the West Indian escaped. (PTI)