Home really is where the heart lies for Kings XI Punjab. They can pretend all they want that Indore is where they now belong, but it shall never quite be so. Punjab lost their fourth of five matches at the Holkar Stadium on Monday (May 14), this time against Royal Challengers Bangalore, who lived to fight another day with an emphatic 10-wicket win with 71 balls to spare.
All the credit for Bangalore’s dominant victory must go to their discipline with the ball, especially Umesh Yadav’s 3 for 23 that skittled Punjab for 88 in 15.1 overs. Perhaps the intensity with which Bangalore fielded also played a part in Punjab batsmen losing their bearings.
Bangalore hardly broke a sweat as Virat Kohli (48 off 28 balls) and Parthiv Patel (40 of 22 balls) got to 92 in in just 8.1 overs, giving their Net Run Rate a much-needed boost.
In a stark contrast from the previous game at the venue, where 459 runs were plundered, reducing the bowlers to bowling machines, Bangalore had little trouble reining the Punjab batsmen in.
Having sent Punjab in to bat, Bangalore would have been wary of the firepower in their ranks. Their worst nightmare would have involved one of Chris Gayle or KL Rahul, or even both the former Royal Challengers, getting stuck. The way Rahul and Gayle began the innings, that nightmare would have almost come true, but Umesh put paid to Punjab’s plans and triggered an implosion that the side failed to recover from.
After Rahul had blitzed his way to a 15-ball 21, thanks to three sixes, he was guilty of pulling a short ball from Umesh, straight to Colin de Grandhomme in the deep. Gayle was beaten early by Umesh, and even earned a reprieve when the pacer found the outside edge of his bat in the opening over, only to be put down by Parthiv Patel. Despite going for runs, Umesh persisted with the short ball and the ploy worked. Gayle too fell in a similar fashion, with Mohammad Siraj gobbling up the top edge at deep square leg.
From 41 for 2 in five overs, Punjab slipped to 61 for 5 in nine overs, thanks as much to Bangalore’s bowlers as to the lack of application from their batsmen. Karun Nair did little to calm Punjab’s nerves as Siraj struck in his first over, eliciting an edge that flew to Virat Kohli at slip.
Punjab shored up their batting by including Marcus Stoinis in place of an injured Mujeeb Ur Rahman. But the Australia allrounder was late to respond to a yorker from Yuzvendra Chahal and fell for two. It didn’t help that Mayank Agarwal did little to justify his place in the side, and after a blazing start Punjab were suddenly staring down the barrel.
Aaron Finch resisted briefly during his 23-ball 26, but three unnecessary run outs pushed Punjab further into the hole. It was only a matter of time before they slumped to the second-lowest total of this season with only three of their batsmen reaching double figures.
In a fairly straightforward chase, Parthiv began with a flurry of boundaries, while Kohli took on Ankit Rajput, nonchalantly clubbing the pacer for a six over cow corner, before hammering two fours to collect 16 runs in the over. Patel’s assault off Mohit Sharma realised the 50-run opening stand in just five overs.
Andrew Tye wasn’t spared either as Kohli launched a huge six over long off, and Bangalore were on course for a massive win with the skipper finishing off in style with a top-edged four over the wicketkeeper.