Classy Kohli carries RCB to easy victory

Bangalore, April 9 (IANS) Skipper Virat Kohli struck a blistering 93 not out and carried the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a splendid seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) tie here Tuesday. It was Sunrisers' first defeat in three matches in IPL-6.

Kohli's classy batting (47b, 11x4, 4x6) saw RCB making light of Sunrisers' 161/6. The Hyderabadis' total was made possible courtesy a 44-ball 80-run partnership between Thisara Perera (40, 24b, 1x4, 4x6) and Cameron White (52, 34b, 3x4, 3x6). The hosts, thanks to Kohli, replied with 162/3 in just 17.4 overs.

The evening certainly belonged to Kohli, who blasted his way in style while also exposing the bareness of the Sunrisers' bowling that simply fell away when the RCB skipper went hell for leather to notch his highest score in the IPL.

Such was Kohli's onslaught that the early departure of Chris Gayle (13) was hardly felt as he galloped from 51 to 93 in a mere 15 deliveries as he added 66 runs for the unfinished fourth wicket with Moises Henriques, who contributed just seven. RCB thus avenged their Sunday night Super Over defeat while also recording their second win in three outings.

There was little hint of Kohli's blitzkrieg that he uncorked in the very first over after the time-out ahead of the 15th over. He tore into leg-spinner Amit Misra and then waded into Perera before turning the heat on Ishant Sharma, the pick of Sunrisers bowlers, to finish off the match in great style.

At one stage, the Sunrisers appeared to be in control when they got rid of openers Mayank Agarwal (29), Gayle and AB de Villiers (15), but then their attack ran out of steam.

Sunrisers skipper Kumar Sangakkara must have felt the absence of a fourth quality bowler and in fact, used seven in the first 10 overs, but barring Steyn and Ishant Sharma, none looked like making an impact.

Earlier, the Sunrisers innings progressed in fits as the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals with the batsmen tossing away their wickets in a bid to break the grip that the RCB bowlers exerted. In the process, Akshath Reddy (12), Parthiv Patel (20) and Sangakkara (23) perished by the 11th over with the score on 62 with RCB right on top.

However, White and Perera, after taking a while to get their bearings, opened up in splendid fashion, smashing the RCB bowlers all over the park with a series of sixes and boundaries.

The Sunrisers innings took off in the 15th over when left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat was slammed for 14 runs, Henriques, bowling the 16th, conceded 18 and Vinay Kumar was carted for 19 in the 17th.

Just as the Sunrisers looked good for a massive total, they lost a clutch of wickets as Perera, White and Ashish Reddy (3) were dismissed in consecutive overs and the visitors finished on 161/6.

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