Delhi: Royal Challengers Bangalore have put one foot into the IPL 6 play-offs by registering a narrow four-run victory over Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Friday. With their eighth win, RCB now have 16 points from 13 matches and are fourth in the points table, below Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. For this, they have Virat Kohli and Jaydev Unadkat to thank.
Having won the toss and getting Chris Gayle (4) early, Delhi might have thought they had taken massive strides but that was not the case as Kohli (99 off 58 balls) and AB de Villiers (32 off 17) were still to bat. Neither can send the ball as long and as hard as the Jamaican but they can be equally effective while being orthodox and innovative at the same time. Kohli and de Villiers massacred the Delhi bowlers in a rollicking 94-run stand off just 40 balls, 84 of which came in the last five. Their fourth-wicket partnership drove RCB to 183 for 4.
While Kohli's innings was a mature one, de Villiers got the perfect launch pad to go after the bowling from ball one. Losing Gayle and Cheteshwar Pujara (17) early, Kohli shunned the lofted strokes for the early part of his innings and got to his fifty off 44 balls. But his attacking play came to the fore thereafter as he jumped from 51 to 99 in the just 14 deliveries, adding five fours and four sixes to his overall tally of boundaries.
De Villiers joined Kohli midway through the 13th over when Moises Henriques departed for a 22-ball 26 and gave the RCB innings the momentum they were looking for. He smashed the deliveries pitched well outside off stump over fine leg and smacked the similar sort of balls over extra cover with equal ease.
Umesh Yadav had already given away 42 runs before he came on to bowl the last over, and he was taken for 23 more by Kohli to finish with 0 for 65 in his four, just one less than what Ishant Sharma had gone for against CSK a few nights back.
In Delhi's chase, Ravi Rampaul reminded Virender Sehwag the task in his hands as he smashed the batsman's body twice in the first over. Mahela Jayawardene, who gave the captaincy to David Warner for this match, was fluent for his 19 off 13 but was bowled by Unadkat when he tried to cut him. Sehwag hit three more boundaries after being hit but caught off a slower delivery by Unadkat.
Warner's outing as Delhi captain didn't last long as he came and went in no time for 4. Unmukt Chand showed why he has been rated so highly, displaying his array of strokes. Ben Rohrer, who made 64* against Rajasthan Royals in the last match, didn't take too long to get going. He played a few delicate late cuts off the left-arm spin of J Syed Mohammad, but Vinay Kumar shattered his stumps when he came back for his second spell.
After getting two wickets in his first two overs, Unadat struck with two more in his third, picking up a well-set Chand (41 off 35) and Kedav Jadhav (8) in the space of two balls. Irfan Pathan (23 off 11) and Morne Morkel (19 off 10) provided Delhi a slight hope when they hit a few lusty flows at the end, but Unadkat cleaned up Morkel to complete his maiden five-wicket haul and RCB's victory.