New Delhi: Virat Kohli smashed a 58-ball 99 before Jaydev Unadkat picked up a five-wicket haul to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to a narrow four-run win over Delhi Daredevils here on Friday, and enhance their chances of qualifying for the play-offs in the Indian Premier League.
Kohli, who got two reprieves during his sensational knock, along with with AB de Villiers put on 94 runs off just 40 balls for the fourth wicket to power RCB to 183 for four at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Left-arm pacer Unadkat then picked up five wickets for 25 runs to help RCB restrict Delhi to 179 for six.
Chasing an imposing target, Delhi lost their openers — Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag — inside the 50-run mark. Both Jaywardene and Sehwag fell to Unadkat.
While Jayawardene (19 off 13) played on to his stumps in the fourth over, Sehwag (18 off 10) was foxed by a slower delivery as he spooned one straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at mid-on. To add to Delhi’s woes, stand-in skipper David Warner too failed to make an impact. He was bowled by a quicker delivery from Moises Henriques.
RCB skipper Kohli’s decision to introduce Jamaluddin Syed Mohhamd backfired as the left-arm spinner went for four boundaries — one by Unmukt Chand and three by Ben Rohrer — to concede 20 runs off the ninth over. Chand and Rohrer played sensibly to take Delhi past the 100-run mark inside the 12th over.
Just when the duo of Chand and Rohrer (32 off 27) were looking dangerous, the later departed inside edging a R Vinay Kumar delivery on to his stumps. The fourth wicket partnership of Chand and Rohrer yielded 58 runs off 44 balls.
The asking rate took a toll on Chand too as he also departed soon, caught by Vinay Kumar off Unadkat. He scored 41 off 35 balls with the help of four fours and a six. Unadkat accounted for Kedar Jadhav two balls later.
Morne Morkel (19 off 10) and Irfan Pathan (23 off 11) managed to reduce the margin of defeat for Delhi with some lusty hitting towards the end, but it proved to be too little, too late for the hosts.
Earlier, Kohli and De Villiers, who played a 17-ball 32-run cameo, used the long handle to great effect, sending the Daredevils bowlers on a leather-hunt to score a whopping 77 runs off the last four overs.
Sent into bat, RCB did not have the best of starts as they lost their openers, which included the dangerous Chris Gayle, inside the fifth over. Gayle departed without inflicting much damage as he played on to his stumps an Irfan Pathan delivery in the second over.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored a run-a-ball 17 with the help of three boundaries before he was cleaned up by Siddharth Kaul.
Kohli’s first life came in the third over when he edged a Morne Morkel delivery to Kedar Jadhav behind the stumps which, much to the dismay of home fans, turned out to be a no ball. The RCB captain was once again at the receiving end of God’s favour as Sehwag dropped him inside the circle off Kaul.
Kohli and Moises Henriques thereafter added 57 runs off 50 balls for the third wicket to stabilize RCB’s innings. Henriques scored 26 off 22 balls with the help of three boundaries before Shahbaz Nadeem had the batsman, caught off his own bowling.
Kohli and de Villiers than upped the ante and stitched a 50-run partnership in just 27 balls. De Villiers started the onslaught by clobbering Morkel for a six over the fine-leg boundary and then Kohli smashed the bowler for two fours to pick up 18 runs off the 17th over.
If that was not enough, de Villiers and Kohli smothered Umesh Yadav to all parts of the ground, which included three huge sixes and one four to score 24 runs off the next over. Yadav was once again at the receiving end of Kohli’s onslaught as the RCB skipper hit the pacer for two fours and as many sixes to pick up 23 runs off the final over before he was run out in the last ball of the innings.