IPL 2019: Russell storm arrives too late as Kohli's fifth ton consigns KKR to fourth straight loss

Ashish Peter 19/04/2019
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Kohli's ton leads RCB to second win. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Moeen Ali managed to defend 24 runs in the final over as Royal Challengers Bangalore survived a late Andre Russell assault to hold on for a 10-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders.

Batting first, RCB amassed a daunting 213-4 in their 20 overs with skipper Virat Kohli bringing up his maiden ton of the season and fifth overall in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in a special innings.

In reply, KKR looked down and out at one point before Russell and Nitish Rana brought them roaring back with a 119-run stand but they fell just short of the finish line to suffer their fourth consecutive defeat.

For Bangalore, it was only the second win of the campaign and it just about keeps their slim hopes of making a miraculous run to the play-offs alive.

MOEEN MAKES IT BACK-TO-BACK FIFTIES

After registering only his second IPL half-century in the loss to Mumbai Indians, Moeen Ali made it two in a row with a terrific 28-ball cameo that fetched him 66 runs.

RCB had struggled to up the ante in the early half of their innings with the powerplay overs yielding only 42 runs but Moeen’s arrival to the crease changed all that in a jiffy with the Englishman striking the ball sweetly from the very go.

When the all-rounder arrived at the crease, Bangalore were 59-2 at the end of nine overs. By the time he departed at the end of the 16th over, the visitors had reached 149.

Dealing primarily in boundaries, Moeen struck six sixes and five fours in his brief but explosive stay at the crease. Kuldeep Yadav’s confidence was visibly shattered after Moeen took him on for 27 runs in a single over and even the left-hander’s dismissal off the last delivery provided the KKR wrist-spinner little consolation.

As fluent a fifty as they come from Moeen. Image -@IPL/Twitter.

As fluent a fifty as they come from Moeen. Image [email protected]/Twitter.

KOHLI CHANGES GEARS

A big reason behind RCB’s slow start with the bat had been Kohli struggling to time the ball initially. The Bangalore skipper was content to play second fiddle to Moeen in a terrific 99-run stand but changed gears to deadly effect after bringing up his half-century.

Kohli’s first 50 runs of the day came off 40 deliveries but the next 50 came in just 17 with the right-hander registering his fifth century in the IPL.

KKR’s bowlers had no respite with even Andre Russell facing the music from Kohli’s bat as the India superstar brought a packed Eden Gardens crowd to its feet.

Kohli’s sensational acceleration at the death was the reason RCB collected 92 runs off the final five overs with the top-order batsman deservedly getting to his ton off the penultimate delivery of the innings before holing out in the deep off the final ball.

RUSSELL STORM ARRIVES TOO LATE

That RCB held on for the win eventually was largely down to Dale Steyn’s excellent spell upfront on his return to the franchise after nearly a decade. Kohli’s men had picked up only three wickets in the powerplay overs previously in the current campaign but they claimed as many inside just five overs on Friday with Steyn accounting for two for them.

That excellent start with the ball which saw Kolkata restricted to 60-3 at the halfway mark proved to be crucial for the visitors with Russell and Nitish Rana turning the game on its head with some mighty hitting.

Rana kept the hosts in the game with a quick-fire fifty even as Russell warmed up with three consecutive sixes of Yuzvendra Chahal in the 15th over.

The pair rained down the sixes in the death overs and accounted for 14 of them between themselves in a breathtaking 119-run stand. However, even that assault which included 10 sixes from Russell’s bat alone fell just short in the end with Rana remaining stranded on a valiant unbeaten 85 (46).

BRIEF SCORES

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 213-4

Virat Kohli: 100 (58)

Moeen Ali: 66 (28)

Kolkata Knight Riders: 203-5

Nitish Rana: 85 not out (46)

Andre Russell: 65 (25)

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IPL 2019: Delhi Capitals' inexperience under the microscope as they look to avenge horror show against KXIP

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Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant are under the scanner for their inconsistent form.

Delhi Capitals won’t have fond memories of their last meeting with Kings XI Punjab. Chasing 167, Delhi were cruising at 144/3, then inexplicably lost their last seven wickets for eight runs, with Sam Curran taking a hat-trick.

The result highlighted Delhi’s inexperience, and though they’ve remained in playoff contention their ability under pressure continues to be scrutinised.

Punjab are searching for consistency in a season where they haven’t won or lost more than two straight games. Having beaten Rajasthan Royals last time out, now is the perfect time to go on a winning run and cement a playoff spot.

DELHI’S YOUNG BATSMEN NEED TO LEARN LESSONS

Inexperience has been Delhi’s Achilles heel in recent seasons, as their batting lineup relies on immensely talented players still learning their trade.

That has meant a feast-or-famine season for two key Delhi batsmen. Rishabh Pant hit 78 off 27 in Delhi’s season opener, and since then has only crossed 30 twice, while opener Prithvi Shaw has a top score of 99 but a second-highest score of 28.

Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan are the only Delhi players with three or more 40+ scores. They sacrifice explosiveness – their strike rates are 119 and 130 respectively, while Pant and Shaw score at 155 and 141 – for substance.

Kings XI’s openers, KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, often start slow because they know they can make it up later – a lesson for Shaw. And how lethal a batsman could Pant be if he learned how to build an innings like his more experienced team-mates?

Pant and Shaw have been taking lessons from legends - now it's time to put them to use.

Pant and Shaw have been taking lessons from legends – now it’s time to put them to use.

KINGS XI SWEAT OVER MUJEEB FITNESS

What had been a strange season for Mujeeb Ur Rahman took a turn for the worse in Kings XI’s last match. Playing just his fourth game of IPL 2019, an odd selection decision that has never been explained, the young Afghan spinner injured himself while fielding at the boundary against Rajasthan, in a similar fashion to Mumbai Indians pacer Alzarri Joseph – who is duly missing the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

It’s not sure if Mujeeb’s injury is as severe, but even being forced to miss just a few matches will create a selection and strategy headache for Punjab. They won’t be able to play three spinners, thanks to leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy’s fractured finger.

Curran is the likeliest replacement, and though he has brought mixed returns so far, just the sight of him could bring back bad memories for Delhi after his hat-trick in the previous encounter.

Mujeeb's injury looked a bad one.

Mujeeb’s injury looked a bad one.

LIKELY XIs

Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (c), Colin Ingram, Rishabh Pant (wk), Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Mandeep Singh, Ravi Ashwin (c), Mujeeb ur Rahman/Sam Curran, Mohammad Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh

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IPL 2019 Fantasy: Jos Buttler and Quinton de Kock among top picks for Rajasthan vs Mumbai

Ashish Peter 19/04/2019
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Buttler will be up against his former employers. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) season heads into match 36 with Rajasthan Royals set to host Mumbai Indians at Jaipur in the first game of Saturday’s double-header.

As fans, watching the action is not the only thing to look forward to – IPL fantasy games mean you have the opportunity to get involved as well.

As the IPL’s official partner, Dream11 runs a daily contest for each game apart from the default format which is conducted per round.

Here, we focus on helping you navigate your way through the former.

BATSMAN

Jos Buttler – Rajasthan Royals (10.5 credits)

He might not yet have reached the same heights that he touched in the 2018 edition but it speaks volumes about Buttler’s ability that an average of nearly 39 and a strike-rate of over 150 in the ongoing season is been viewed as a step down.

The England batsman has almost single-handedly been leading Rajasthan’s charge with the bat this season and it is indeed the failure of the rest of the batting unit that Buttler’s performances haven’t translated into more wins.

Now playing purely as a batsman and not a wicketkeeper, the Englishman will love to torment his former employers Mumbai once again.

The right-hander struck a 43-ball 89 when the Royals beat Mumbai in their own backyard a week ago and he had a similar performance against them last year where he smashed a match-winning 53-all 94 at the Wankhede stadium.

Expect Buttler to be charged up once again against one of his favourite IPL opponents.

BOWLER

Shreyas Gopal – Rajasthan Royals (8.5 credits)

The young leg-spinner might not have picked up a single wicket in his last three appearances but it is important to remember that two of those clashes were away from home.

The Rajasthan leggie has had an excellent individual campaign despite the team’s struggles this season with his eight wickets in as many games coming at an economy-rate of less than seven runs an over.

The 25-year-old was terrific on a slow surface at Jaipur against RCB where he picked up the wickets of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in a sensational display. Back in the comforts of Rajasthan’s home ground, Gopal will be itching to get back among the wickets and his subtle googlies and variations could prove a tough nut to crack for Mumbai’s batsmen.

ALL-ROUNDER

Hardik Pandya – Mumbai Indians (9.5 credits)

There is only one contender for the all-rounder’s slot on current form with Hardik Pandya having one of his best individual seasons with the bat in the IPL.

The Mumbai all-rounder has been a tad expensive with the ball with his eight wickets coming at an economy-rate of over nine but he has still provided plenty of valuable points in that aspect.

With the bat, Pandya has been different class with his clean and big-hitting in the death overs proving crucial for Mumbai time and time again in the ongoing campaign.

The right-hander has already added 218 runs so far to his tally this season and they have come at an average of 43.60 while his strike-rate touching nearly 195.

Have no second thoughts on this slot and pick Pandya straight away.

WICKETKEEPER

Quinton de Kock – Mumbai Indians (9 credits)

With Buttler no longer keeping wickets, it is Mumbai’s Quinton de Kock who gets the nod over Sanju Samson.

After a disappointing campaign for RCB in 2018, the South African wicketkeeper has settled in nicely at his new home in Mumbai. In eight matches so far, de Kock has registered 313 runs at an average of nearly 35 while his strike-rate has hovered around the 137 mark.

The southpaw’s form with the bat has become even more consistent in his recent appearances with his last three scores being 81, 40 and 35.

The 81 came in Mumbai’s loss to Rajasthan in the reverse-fixture and the Proteas ace will be determined to repeat those exploits once again in Jaipur.

CAPTAIN – Jos Buttler

VICE CAPTAIN – Hardik Pandya

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