AB de Villiers, the darling of the Bengaluru crowd, produced another match-winning half-century effort at this centre after rival skipper Ravichandran Ashwin's double strike provided the Kings XI an outside chance.
Aaron Finch has joined the Kings XI squad after his wedding and could slot in the opening position in place of Mayank Agarwal. In the last 11 matches between these two sides, KXIP has secured eight wins. We lost two wickets in two balls in the last two games.
Earlier, KL Rahul (47, 30b, 2x4, 4x6) provided Kings XI with an identical start he had delivered for them against Delhi Daredevils in their opener in Mohali. In his 30-ball knock, Rahul slammed two boundaries and four sixes. But, Umesh Yadav got rid of the Agarwal. Kohli leaned into a drive missed the ball completely and was bowled.
When everyone thought that the over was done and dusted, Umesh came from around the wicket to send the middle stump of Yuvraj Singh for a walk. He got out soon but the job was done. Yuvraj was out in the final ball of that over.
Rahul found an able partner in Karun Nair and the duo put on a 58-run stand to steady the Punjab ship. Andrew Tye contributed a run-a-ball seven, his four overs with ball-in-hand producing 1-27, including the wicket of AB De Villiers that injected a slither of hope into the Punjab side with the game on the line. Rahul's slog sweep found short third man and, with that dismissal, the Kings XI batting began to unravel once more.
In his home first match in Bangalore colours at the same venue that he spectacularly lit up a decade back, Brendon McCullum fell to the second ball of the chase, slicing Axar Patel to point.
While captain Ravichandran Ashwin leads KXIP's bowling, the team lacks a genuine wicket-taker. The bowlers of Kings XI Punjab lack the killer instinct and so it would be interesting to see how the team cope with it. However, instead of having Mandeep Singh bat at No. 6, they could go in with all-rounder Pawan Negi, who was among one of the better performers for RCB in their bleak season past year. With RCB at 33 for 2, the game could've swung either way, but the South Africans saw the Powerplay off with no further damage. Both batsmen enjoyed the extra pace that Mohit Sharma offered, and smashed 16 runs - including a six and two fours - off the eighth over.
Chasing 156 for victory, RCB rode on De Villiers' 40-ball 57 to reach the target with 3 balls to spare.
His departure would spark something of a panic with Mandeep being run out in the penultimate over as well but Washington Sundar showed great composure to end the match on a positive note for the Bangalore franchise.