RPS vs RCB talking points: Watson holds nerves after another De Villiers-Kohli show

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NEW DELHI: A look at the key passages of play from Match 16 of the Indian Premier League season nine, in which Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rising Pune Supergiants by 13 runs in a thrilling encounter. With two wins in four games, Bangalore jumped to third in the points table, while Pune find themselves at seventh after just one win in four games.

De Villiers-Kohli show continues
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli put on another hundred-run stand, their third of the season, to take RCB to a massive 185/3 against Pune after sent in to bat by opposition skipper MS Dhoni. De Villiers was the main aggressor and raced to his 18th IPL fifty off just 25 balls, whereas Kohli took uncharacteristically 47 balls for his 22nd half-century of the league – his fifth in last six T20 innings. The dynamic duo added a huge 155 runs for the second wicket with the South African scoring an impressive 83 off just 46 balls, which included four big sixes and six boundaries, and Kohli, who accelerated in the end, scoring 80 in 63 balls, hitting two sixes and seven fours.

 Perera’s double in the end
Thisara Perera was the only successful bowler for the hosts Pune team as he took all the three RCB wickets that fell in the innings to finish with figures of three for 34 in four overs. RCB started watchfully reaching 22 for no loss after first three overs. Kohli then began the next over, bowled by Perera, with a four through covers but the Sri Lankan bounced back to dismiss a struggling Lokesh Rahul (7) three balls later with the opener giving away an easy catch to Ishant Sharma at third man. Perera then finished off with two wickets – dismissing Kohli and De Villiers off successive balls – in the last over of the innings.
Rahane, Dhoni stabilise Pune chase
Rahane started the chase on a positive note hitting two fours in the very first over off Stuart Binny, but Pune lost Faf du Plessis and Steven Smith in the next two to be stranded on 18/2 in 2.3 overs. After that, Rahane and Dhoni applied themselves to revive the chase as they took Pune to 73/2 at the halfway mark. Rahane then completed a well-made fifty off 37 balls in the 12th over and the duo took Pune past the 100-run mark in the 14th but the asking rate kept rising. And on at 109/2 in 14.3 overs, Rahane stepped out to increase the tempo but was stumped by Rahul off newcomer Tabraiz Shamsi. The Pune opener left after scoring 60 off 46 balls with the help of eight boundaries and after stitching a crucial 91-run stand for the third wicket with Dhoni. Dhoni too joined Rahane in the dugout in the next over, after scoring 41 off 38 balls with the help of three hits to the fence.
After Rahane fell to Shamsi, Perera hit the first six of the Pune innings in the same over to take them to 115/3 in 15 overs, but in the next over Harshal Patel got the important wicket of Dhoni. With 66 more to score in just 4.1 overs, Perera kept the chase on course along with Rajat Bhatia as they hit a six and a four to score 15 off Shane Watson to push their total to 136/4 in 17 overs. The equations still was on the RCB’s side with Pune needing 50 off the final three overs, but the duo, especially Perera, turned the match upside down in Patel’s 18th over. Bhatia hit the first ball out of the park for a six and ran a single in the next, then Perera hit three consecutive fours before finishing the over in style with a six over long-on – plundering 25 runs from the over. From nowhere Pune reached 161/4 in 18 overs, leaving them to score another 25 to seal the game when Watson came to bowl the all important 19th over.
Experienced Watson holds the nerves
25 runs in 12 balls with six wickets in hand and two batsmen firing on all cylinders, the match was finely poised when Kohli threw the ball to his experienced allrounder Watson. Wicket-keeper Rahul dropped Bhatia in the very first ball as Pune stole two runs off it, a single in the next put Perera at the striker’s end with the hosts still needing 22 off 10 balls. Pune were hoping similar assault as in the previous over, from the hard-hitting Lankan, but Watson had other ideas. Perera went too hard on the ball and gave away a catch to Mandeep Singh at the extra cover, falling after hitting three sixes and three fours in his 13-ball 34 blitzkrieg. And two balls later, Watson dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin for a duck and completed the over conceding just four runs. That left Pune to score 21 in the final over and Richardson ensured there wasn’t any further drama as he dismissed Bhatia (21 off 11 balls) and Murugan Ashwin in consecutive balls to secure RCB a thrilling 13-run victory which is only the second successful defense of a total in 16 games this IPL season.

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