Indore, May 15 : Royal Challengers Bangalore crushed Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets in a must-win Indian Premier League match on Monday and kept its hopes alive for a place in the playoffs.
Umesh Yadav’s short-pitched deliveries got the big wickets of Lokesh Rahul (21) and Chris Gayle (14) as Punjab was bowled out for 88 in 15.1 overs after Bangalore won the toss and opted to field.
Captain Virat Kohli (48 not out) and Parthiv Patel (40 not out) then piloted Bangalore to 92 without loss in just 8.1 overs as Punjab missed its injured mystery spinner Mujeebur Rahman.
Bangalore remained at seventh in the standings but with a vastly improved net run-rate which could prove crucial for playoffs qualification.
Punjab slipped to fifth, and it has two tough away matches remaining against Mumbai and Chennai Super Kings.
“The last week has been crazy, we thought we were down and out (but) suddenly the table opened up,” Kohli said.
“Now we just need two wins from two … we knew that they would try and go for big runs because they didn’t have their mystery spinner. We just kept them in doubt.”
Rahul and Gayle both fell in Yadav’s third over while going for identical pull shots and holed out at deep mid-wicket.
Aaron Finch top-scored with 26 and Punjab lost three of its last four wickets in bizarre run-outs.
“We didn’t put a score in the minds of the batsmen when we went in, it’s just that the wheels came off,” said Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin, one of those who ran himself out.
“It wasn’t a professional effort at all … it’s the bowlers who have got us the points. We’ve got to try and make sure we lift ourselves.”
Nothing seemed to go Punjab’s way as Finch dropped Kohli just after the Bangalore captain hit seamer Ankit Rajpoot for three boundaries in the third over.
Left-hander Patel then smashed three boundaries off seamer Mohit Sharma in the fifth over as Bangalore looked for a quick finish.
With Bangalore needing two runs for victory, Kohli was dropped again at long off but Rajpoot overstepped and it was a no-ball.
“We’ve got the right kind of momentum,” Kohli said. “Other teams don’t want to play a team who are feeling good and have nothing to lose. It’s important to have the right mindset — not to think too much about qualifying.”
Bangalore also has two tough remaining games against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals.