Royal Challengers Bangalore 189 for 5 (Karthik 66*, Maxwell 55, Thakur 1-27) beat Delhi Capitals 173 for 7 (Warner 66, Pant 34, Hazlewood 3-28) by 16 runs
Royal Challengers’ wobbly start
After Rishabh Pant opted to bowl, Mustafizur Rahman troubled Faf du Plessis in the first over. From the other end, Shardul Thakur made the first incision by trapping Anuj Rawat lbw with an overpitched delivery.
In the next over, du Plessis skipped down the track to Khaleel Ahmed, looking to go over covers. Instead, he ended up slicing it towards deep point, where Axar Patel took a couple of steps to his right and pouched it.
Maxwell hit two fours off Mustafizur in the sixth over, but Virat Kohli was struggling at the other end. Kohli was on 12 off 13 when he dropped one towards point and set off. Maxwell realised there was no run there and sent him back but, by then, it was too late. Lalit Yadav charged towards the ball and, throwing off-balance, nailed the direct hit with just one stump visible. That left Royal Challengers reeling at 40 for 3 in the seventh over.
Maxwell revives the innings
Coming into this game, Maxwell had taken Kuldeep Yadav for 56 runs off 37 balls with two dismissals across all T20s. On Saturday night, taking advantage of the shorter leg-side boundary, Maxwell smashed Kuldeep for two fours and two sixes in a 23-run over. Two overs later, Maxwell brought up his half-century off 30 balls with a four off Thakur.
Pant then changed Kuldeep’s end, giving him the cushion of the bigger leg-side boundary. That forced Maxwell to hit straighter but the ball dipped at him, and he ended up offering a straightforward chance to long-on.
In his next over, Kuldeep could have had Karthik too. He induced an under edge off a wrong ‘un but Pant dropped the chance. Karthik was on 5 off ten balls at that stage, and according to ESPNcricinfo’s Luck Index, that drop cost Capitals 26 runs.
Karthik makes Capitals pay
Given the form Karthik is in, it was inevitable he made Capitals pay for the reprieve. He hit Khaleel for two sixes in the seamer’s next two overs, but it was Mustafizur who bore the real brunt. In the 18th over, Karthik smashed him for 28 runs. The sequence read: 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 4.
That meant Karthik brought up his half-century in just 26 balls after being on a run-a-ball 17 at one stage. Shahbaz Ahmed, who was mostly quiet until then, also got into the act, and the two picked up another 29 in the last two overs. In all, they added 97 in 8.4 overs in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand.
Warner, Shaw give Capitals flying start
Capitals started in an aggressive manner, with Warner and Shaw hitting at least one six between them in each of the first four overs. The two brought up the team’s 50 in just 4.3 overs – their third consecutive fifty stand. Mohammed Siraj provided some relief with Shaw’s wicket but Capitals finished the powerplay on 57 for 1.
Mitchell Marsh, playing his first game of the season, struggled for timing but Warner kept going. He slog-swept Wanindu Hasaranga for a six, brought up his fifty off 29 balls, and then took Harshal Patel for another six and four. Hasaranga eventually trapped Warner lbw when the batter failed to connect a switch hit.
Pant hit a couple of lapped fours off Hasaranga before drilling one back towards the bowler. Hasaranga tried to stop it but the ball brushed his fingers and went on to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Marsh was out of his crease, which brought an end to his agony. He walked back for 14 off 24 balls.
In the next over – the 15th of the innings – Rovman Powell nicked Josh Hazlewood behind for a first-ball duck. On the last ball of the over, Lalit holed out to deep square leg as Capitals slipped from 112 for 2 to 115 for 5 in the space of seven balls.
Kohli’s brilliancy sees the end of Pant
Pant still threatened to snatch the game from Royal Challengers. After Thakur slogged Hasaranga for a six over long-on, Pant hit him for a four and six off back-to-back balls. In the next over, he muscled Siraj over deep midwicket to bring the equation down to 48 needed from 22 deliveries.
Siraj then bowled a high full toss, and Pant tried to smash that but lost his balance. It was still going over extra cover, where Kohli timed his jump well and plucked it with one hand. Two overs later, Hazlewood bounced out Thakur to ensure there was no miracle.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo