Skipper Virat Kohli led from the front with a 45-ball 58 to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to a respectable 161 for six against Delhi Daredevils in an inconsequential Indian Premier League match, here tonight. Opener Chris Gayle made up for his two consecutive ducks with a 38-ball 48 after RCB opted to bat.
In the final over, Pawan Negi smashed three successive fours to help the side cross the 150-run mark. Having failed to open his account in the last two matches, Gayle started RCB's innings in earnest, clipping Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan off his legs for two boundaries in the first over. The big-hitting West Indian opener then sliced Mohammed Shami for a six over the third man region, and if that was not enough, he moved across a little to loft the seamer's slower delivery over deep midwicket for another maximum. Even as Gayle threatened, Daredevils got the first breakthrough when Pat Cummins rattled Vishnu Vinod's stumps after getting a bottom edge, the bowling change working for the home team. In came RCB captain Virat Kohli and the Feroz Shah Kotla roared in anticipation. Gayle drove Shami for a boundary to long-on in the first ball of the sixth over, but the seamer came back well in the following deliveries to keep the left-handed batsman in check. Cummins bowled a tight seventh over before Kohli broke the shackles by hitting Amit Mishra for a boundary. It was characteristic Kohli as the Indian captain timed one superbly to send Corey Anderson over long-off for a maximum, bringing the side's fifty in the first ball of the ninth over on a slow pitch. Languishing at the bottom of the table, RCB were 66 for one at the halfway stage. Gayle pulled Mishra over deep midwicket for a massive six, and Kohli did one better by hitting the leg-spinner for a six and a four, giving a much-needed boost to RCB's run rate. The fifty-run partnership for the second wicket was achieved in 41 balls, thanks to a productive 12th over that fetched 19 runs. However, Gayle fell two runs short of a half century, as Shahbaz Nadeem had him caught at midwicket for a rather soft dismissal. Meanwhile, Kohli brought up his fifty -- his fourth of the season -- off 39 balls, but got out soon after he clobbered Zaheer over deep midwicket for his third six in what could be the former India seamer's final IPL game. Kohli struck three sixes and as many fours, and ditto for Gayle too.
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