Images from Wednesday’s IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, in Bengaluru.
Navdeep Saini's miserly penultimate over kept Royal Challengers Bangalore afloat in the Indian Premier League as they beat Kings XI Punjab by 17 runs, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.
AB de Villiers's unbeaten 82 off 44 balls had earlier guided Bangalore to a healthy 202 for 4. However, Kings XI appeared set to overhaul the total as young Nicholas Pooran (46 off 28 balls) hit five sixes at the end to give Punjab hope before Saini sealed it in the 19th over.
Kings XI Punjab finished with 185 for 7 as Royal Challengers Bangalore increased their points' tally to eight with three games left.
Needing 30 off the last two overs, Saini (2/33), who is one of India's fastest bowlers, produced a hostile spell in which he removed the dangerous David Miller and Pooran but, more importantly, gave away only three runs.
Saini bowled fast and into the body of the batsmen, who couldn't really get going. In the end, his aggression became the defining factor.
Defending 27 runs off the final over, Umesh Yadav (3/33) was better than the other night against Chennai Super Kings as he got a couple of wickets.
With four wins in the last five games, RCB will hope to win the remaining three and expect a few other favourable results to make it to the play-offs as rank outsiders.
Kings XI Punjab started the chase in earnest as KL Rahul (42 off 27 balls) and Chris Gayle (23 off 10 balls) added 42 in less than four overs to set the ball rolling.
Mayank Agarwal (35 off 21 balls) continued the flurry of fours during his 59-run stand with Rahul.
Rahul and Mayank were out in quick succession before Pooran and David Miller (24) took charge with some lusty hitting and added 68 off 8 overs as it boiled down to 30 off the final two overs.
However both Saini and Umesh did well to get another two points for the RCB.
Earlier, De Villiers’s scintillating half century and his 121-run partnership with Marcus Stoinis propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to winning target
Sent in to bat, De Villiers scored a brilliant unbeaten 82 off 44 balls, laced with three fours and seven sixes, while Stoinis hammered 46 off 34 balls, inclusive of two fours and three sixes.
In the last two overs, both Stonis and De Villiers hammered 45 runs off Mohammad Shami and Hardus Viljoen.
After reaching his 50 off 35 balls, De Villiers, smashed Shami for three sixes, plundering 18 runs in the penultimate over.
In the last over, both Stoinis and De Villiers took 27 runs off Viljoen, which helped the hosts race past the 200-run mark.
Opener Parthiv Patel (43 off 24 balls) and Virat Kohli gave RCB a rollicking start, getting 35 runs on board off 18 balls, but captain Kohli was dismissed by Shami, caught by Mandeep Singh at extra cover.
Parthiv then got into the act, hitting Shami for three boundaries and a six in sixth over. The India speedster conceded 18 runs in his third over.
The left-hander also was severe on Ankit Rajpoot, hitting him for four boundaries and a six. The wicketkeeper-batsman did not last long though as he was caught by Ravinchandran Ashwin off Murugan Ashwin’s bowling, after he had smashed seven fours and two sixes.
Looking good at 71 for 2 off 38 balls, RCB lost two quick wickets -- of Moeen Ali (4) and Akashdeep Nath (3) -- leaving them at the crossroads at 81 for 4.
De Villiers brought up the 50-run partnership for fifth wicket with Stionis, who gave him support at the other end, with a mighty six over deep mid-wicket off Murugan.
It was a forgettable day for Shami and Villjoen; they conceded 53 and 51 runs respectively.