Royal Challengers Bangalore for the second time defended successfully to break the notion which claims that T20 has become chaser's game. But again, the match at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday could have gone either way despite the batting brilliance of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Chasing an big total of 185/3, Rising Pune Supergiants lost three wickets for nothing with Faf du Plessis departing in the second over, then losing Kevin Pietersen to injury, and a run out for Steven Smith.
The score read 18/2 in 2.3 overs, without accounting that retired hurt. But a brilliant 91-run stand between Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped Pune's cause.
At the end it was overshadowed by the 155-run partnership from Kohli and de Villiers. However, while Thisara Perera was batting, Pune sensed a win and his knock of 34 runs from 13 balls was enough to spell such a coup.
But the asking rate was too steep and there wasn't enough support cast.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS INNINGS; TARGET 186
Over 20 || Score 172/8 (A Sharma 3; I Sharma 0)
Needing 21 runs from the last over, Rising Pune Supergiants didn't quite cross the line after a brilliant fight back.
Kane Richardson returned for his third over, and he took two wickets conceding seven runs for a 13-run win.
WICKET: Rajat Bhatia c Shane Watson b Kane Richardson 21 (11b)
WICKET: Murugan Aswhin c AB de Villiers b Kane Richardson 0 (1b)
These wickets happened off the third and fourth balls with two good catches.
Then, it was all a formality.
Over 19 || Score 165/6 (Bhatia 17; A Sharma 0)
Shane Watson on for his fourth over. And a dropped catch, difficult nonetheless, to start the over with. Two runs from it.
A single to Rajat Bhatia, then Thisara Perera holed out at cover, with Mandeep taking the catch.
WICKET: Thisara Perera c Mandeep Singh b Shane Watson 34 (13b)
That brought R Ashwin in the centre, and he lasted only a ball. He too tried long handle, and holed out at deep mid-wicket. Harshal Patel completed the catch.
WICKET: R Ashwin c Harshal Patel b Shane Watson 0 (1b)
Four runs and two wickets, that's game over.
Over 18 || Score 161/4 (Perera 34, Bhatia 13)
What an attempt from Virat Kohli at long-on. Leap of faith, but the ball leaked through his fingers and a six. Sweet timing from Rajat Bhatia. And that was only the beginning.
A single followed that six, then Thisara Perera hit three back-to-back fours, some lucky some and also some pure hitting too.
The over ended with a big six over long-off as AB dxe Villiers already waiting outside the rope to retrieve the ball.
25 runs from Harshal Patel's over, and his figures: 4-0-46-1.
Rising Pune Supergiants now need another 25 runs required from 12 balls.
Over 17 || Score 136/4 (Perera 16, Bhatia 6)
Shane Watson on for his third over, and he leaked runs.
Rajat Bhatia started with a four, playing over the point fielder. It was followed by a single, then Thisara Perera his his second six. Well timed, and it sailed over the deep mid-wicket boundary.
A wide, it seemed. But the umpire ruled it out as Perera chased down the delivery on the off white line. A double followed, then a two wides as Watson continue to probe that white line. A dot ball to end the over. 15 runs from it.
Pune need 50 runs from 18 balls.
Over 16 || Score 121/4 (Perera 8, Bhatia 1)
With asking rate just under 15, Virat Kohli brought back slow medium pacer Harshal Patel. Not enough time to time the strokes.
Four singles off the first four deliveries, then a wide as Patel tried a slower bouncer.
Then, the big wicket of MS Dhoni. Great catch at long-off boundary. Great execution of plan with the delivery targeting just outside the wide line.
WICKET: MS Dhoni c AB de Villiers b Harshal Patel 41 (38b)
New man Rajat Bhatia took a single to end the 6-run over. And asking rate has climbed over 16.
Over 15 || Score 115/3 (Dhoni 39; Perera 6)
Somebody got to start hitting. It's no or never situation for Rising Pune Supergiants. And knowing Ajinkya Rahane's range, its MS Dhoni, who needs to up the ate.
And the skipper started with a four, into the deep cover boundary. A quick double, the a single.
Then, Ajinkya Rahane came down and a mighty heave followed, but most importantly he missed the ball. And stumped. A googly, probably, but Rahane made it looked great.
WICKET: Ajinkya Rahane st Lokesh Rahul b Tabraiz Shamsi 60 (46b)
Rahane departure could become a blessing in disguise for Pune, with the asking rate hovering near 15. They need power, now.
Thus arrived Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera. A big LBW shout first ball. But a huge six to end the over, over deep mid-wicket boundary. 13 runs and a wicket from the over.
91-run stand in 12.1 overs for Rahane and Dhoni there.
Over 14 || Score 102/2 (Rahane 60; Dhoni 32)
Iqbal Abdulla on for his third over. As usual, a busy over from the slow left arm spinner, with eight runs coming from it, a double, five singles and a wide.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 84 runs from 36 balls. Huge ask.
Over 13 || Score 94/2 (Rahane 58; Dhoni 27)
Shane Watson returned for his second over as the match entered the decisive phase. A good one for Royal Challengers Bangalore, with the Aussie leaking eight runs.
A double to start the over to Ajinkya Rahane, then a single. MS Dhoni responded with a single.
Then, Rahane tried ramp shots, without success for two balls. He, however, managed to flick hard enough to end the over with a four.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 92 runs from 42 balls.
Over 12 || Score 86/2 (Rahane 51; Dhoni 26)
Iqbal Abdulla on for his second over. Tidy one with single off each delivery.
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane reached his fifty with a single off the fourth ball. He took 37 balls to reach it.
Over 11 || Score 80/2 (Rahane 48; Dhoni 23)
Tabraiz Shamsi continued for his third over. Three singles off the first three balls, then Ajinkya Rahane played a sweep shot to beat the fielder at short fine leg for his seventh four of the innings.
Good response from 26-year-old South African to end the over with two dot balls. Seven runs from it and Rising Pune Supergiants need another 106 runs from 54 balls.
Over 10 || Score 73/2 (Rahane 43; Dhoni 21)
Another busy over without much hitting. Iqbal Abdulla leaked eight runs in his first over, with two two's and four singles.
Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni completed a 50-run stand from 42 balls.
Over 9 || Score 65/2 (Rahane 37; Dhoni 19)
Tabraiz Shamsi returned for his second over. Started with a double to MS Dhoni, who flicked towards long-on. A single followed, then a dot ball to Ajinkya Rahane.
Rahane then played an exquisite sweep shot, which beat the fielders at deep square leg and long-on, for his sixth four.
A single then, Dhoni played it fined, with the ball on leg, for his second four, behind the wicket.
12 runs from the over.
Over 8 || Score 53/2 (Rahane 32; Dhoni 12)
First boundary in third over. Lucky one for Ajinkya Rahane to have missed the stumps after the yorker found the inside of the bottom edge.
That happened off the third ball.
The over started with Rahane taking a single, and MS Dhoni responded with his own single.
A single followed after that cheeky four, then another four. Another cheeky one. Rahane waited and glided the delivery on the off. Fine touch and it beat the chasing fielder from gully.
12 runs from the over. Pune need another 133 runs from 12 overs. That was Stuart Binny's second over.
Over 7 || Score 41/2 (Rahane 22; Dhoni 10)
Tabraiz Shamsi, the left-arm chinaman bowler, into the attack. Busy over.
Three singles off the first three balls, then a dot ball, before MS Dhoni attempting a second. He was rightly stopped at one.
A bye to end the over. Five runs from the over.
Over 6 || Score 36/2 (Rahane 20; Dhoni 7)
Virat Kohli brought in his go to man Shane Watson into the attack. A dot ball to MS Dhoni, the he stole a single off the next ball. It was followed by another single, with Ajinkya Rahane playing a cut shot towards third man.
Next delivery, Dhoni came down and hit, but found the cover fielder. No run. It was followed by a leg bye. Great running between the wickets.
A gentle nudge down the third man for a single to make it a four-run over.
Over 5 || Score 32/2 (Rahane 18; Dhoni 6)
Harshal Patel continued for his second over. It started with a single to Ajinkya Rahane.
Then, MS Dhoni got his first runs, thanks to a four. Half-volley, and beat the fielder at mid-off. A wide followed, then three more singles.
A dot to Rahane and nine runs from the over.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 154 runs from 15 overs.
Over 4 || Score 23/2 (Rahane 16; Dhoni 0)
Another good over from Kane Richardson. Five runs, despite Ajinkya Rahane hitting the second ball for a four through cover.
MS Dhoni has faced five balls and is yet to open his account. Pune will need their skipper to play exceptionally well today.
Over 3 || Score 18/2 (Rahane 11; Dhoni 0)
Horror start for Pune. Steven Smith run out, after hitting a four. After a LBW shout with Harshal Patel, Smith responded to a call from Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli from point hit the stumps.
WICKET: Steven Smith run out 4 (3b)
Skipper MS Dhoni is the new man. Six runs and a wicket. Pune need another 168 runs from 17 overs to win the match.
Over 2 || Score 12/1 (Rahane 9; Smith 0)
Kane Richardson shared the new ball with Stuart Binny, and good start.
A dot ball to Ajinkya Rahane, a single followed, then caught Faf du Plessis on back foot.
Then, the wicket. A faster delivery and he ended up offering a catch at mid-off, where Harshal Patel took the catch.
WICKET: Faf du Plessis c Harshal Patel b Kane Richardson 2 (3b)
Then the horror show, Kevin Pietersen wanted to take a quick single and he grimaced then stalled there. Looked like he's pulled the hamstring. Retired hurt.
Kevin Pietersen retired hurt 0 (1b)
Steven Smith is the new man. One run from the over.
Over 1 || Score 11/0 (Rahane 9; du Plessis 2)
Brave move or wise one from Virat Kohli to start with Stuart Binny. A dot ball to Ajinkya Rahane, then the right-handed batsman played a text-book shot. A short of length delivery and Rahane played from the front foot and the ball beat the fielder at extra cover.
A dot ball, then a gentle straight push for another four. Pure class, not necessarily with flamboyance. A single then, Faf du Plessis played as flashy drive for two runs.
11 runs from the over.
— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) April 22, 2016
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 185/3 (Watson 1; S Khan 2)
An eventfull last over as Thisara Perera returned to complete his spell. Two wickets, those of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, and 12 runs leaked.
The Sri Lankan started with a four to Kohli, who timed it well to beat the fielder at third man. A wide, then another four. This time, beating the short fine leg fielder.
Then the wicket of Kohli. He wanted to pull, but a slower delivery meant that he could only push it to deep mid-wicket, where Ajinkya Rahane completed the catch.
WICKET: Virat Kohli c Ajinkya Rahane b Thisara Perera 80 (63b)
That ended a 155-run stand from 15.5 overs.
The over half of the partnership, de Villiers perished next ball. Another slower delivery, and Ankit Sharma completed the catch at long-on.
WICKET: AB de Villiers c Ankit Sharma b Thisara Perera 83 (46b)
Shane Watson and Sarfaraz Khan returned without doing much, adding three runs off two balls. Impressive figures for Thisara: 4-0-34-3.
Over 19 || Score 173/1 (Kohli 72; de Villiers 83)
Ishant Sharma started his last over with a wide, then a short and wide delivery for a dot.
Virat Kohli then hit back-to-back fours on either side of the wicket. A single then a dot ball to AB de Villiers.
The South African batsman ended the over with a huge six over deep square leg boundary. Deep into the stands.
16 runs from the over and Ishant's figures: 4-0-47-0.
Over 18 || Score 157/1 (Kohli 63; de Villiers 77)
Wicket-taker Thisara Perera returned for his third over. A good over for the batting side.
A single to start the over to AB de Villiers, then Virat Kohli hit his second six of the day, over deep mid-wicket boundary.
Two singles more, then a wide. Two runs off the last ball, a yorker which was played well by Kohli. 13 runs from the over.
Over 17 || Score 144/1 (Kohli 53; de Villiers 75)
Rajat Bhatia on for his third over. The right-arm slow medium pacer started with a double to AB de Villiers. Brilliant stop from Steven Smith at long-off boundary. It was going for four for sure.
A single followed, then four more singles even as Virat Kohli seemed to be kicking himself with each delivery gone for ones.
Seven runs from the over. Good effort from Bhatia. 38 runs from the last five overs.
Over 16 || Score 137/1 (Kohli 51; de Villiers 70)
Good over from Ravichandran Ashwin despite five wides in it, and a wasted chance to send back Virat Kohli back.
A dot to AB de Villiers, then a single. Five wides, with MS Dhoni's reaction coming late. Another wide, then a dot ball to Kohli.
The RCB skipper played a 'hard' slog shot, offering a skier of a catch at mid-off, where Ankit Sharma made a mess of it. A single to de Villiers to end the nine-run over.
Over 15 || Score 128/1 (Kohli 50; de Villiers 68)
Ankit Sharma continued for his last over, and he conceded 6 runs. Good effort.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli completed his fifty off 47 singles. A slower one. This is his fifth fifty in six innings.
Then a ball later, with a double, Kohli and AB de Villiers completed a 100-run stand.
Sharma's figures: 4-0-31-0.
Over 14 || Score 122/1 (Kohli 48; de Villiers 64)
Royal Challengers Bangalore have picked out Rising Pune Supergiants' best bowler for special treatment today. That 18-run over was followed by another big one. This time 11 runs, with AB de Villiers hitting him for two fours.
Over 13 || Score 111/1 (Kohli 46; de Villiers 55)
After two big overs, Ankit Sharma did well to stem the flow of runs with a five-run over. All singles.
In the last five overs, RCB have score 51 runs. And it's not a batting pitch.
Over 12 || Score 106/1 (Kohli 43; de Villiers 53)
A quick over, and a quick fifty for AB de Villiers.
With Murugan punished, Ravichandran back. The seasoned Indian spinner started the over with a single to Virat Kohli. Four more singles, then AB de Villiers, on 49, found the gap at deep cover for a four. Fifty off 25 balls.
Over 11 || Score 97/1 (Kohli 40; de Villiers 47)
Rising Pune Supergiants' leading wicket-taker Murugan Ashwin has just relieved a nasty treatment from AB de Villiers.
The over started with a six, a flat one, over deep backward square leg area. A double followed, then a single.
Virat Kohli responded with a double of his own, then a single to give the strike back to the enforcer.
The South African superman hit the last ball for another six. A ferocious pull shot. 18 runs from the over.
Over 10 || Score 79/1 (Kohli 37; de Villiers 32)
Rajat Bhatia continued for his second over after the break. A single to Virat Kohli, then AB de Villiers played an beautiful late cut shot for his third four of the innings.
A single, the a double to de Villiers, and another 50-run stand between two of the best batsmen in the world.
A single to end the over. 10 runs from it.
Over 9 || Score 69/1 (Kohli 35; de Villiers 24)
Ankit Sharma returned for his second over. A busy one, and some runs as AB de Villiers impaired the figures with a top-edge six of a sweep shot off the last last ball.
Six runs from the previous five balls, thanks to a four singles and a double, and that six made it a 12-run over.
TIME-OUT in Pune.
Over 8 || Score 57/1 (Kohli 31; de Villiers 17)
Another bowling change from MS Dhoni. Ravichandran Ashwin on.
Three singles, and Dhoni produced a brilliance piece of keeping for the first dot ball of the over. With Virat Kohli on strike, the Dhoni anticipated a cut shot and already spread his right foot and stopped ball. He did the same in the previous match too.
Another dot ball, and a single to end the over. Four runs from it.
Over 7 || Score 53/1 (Kohli 29; de Villiers 15)
MS Dhoni introduced Rajat Bhatia, the veritable slow medium-fast bowler from Delhi. He was brilliant against Mumbai Indians, in their first match. His cutters were unplayable in slowish top.
And thus five singles followed. Busy over with the 36-year-old bowler keeping a tight line and length.
Over 6 || Score 48/1 (Kohli 27; de Villiers 12)
Ishant Sharma returned for his third over, change of bowling ends.
A dot to start the over, then a front-foot no ball from the lanky pacer. But Virat Kohli failed to execute his slice shot and a single off the free-ball. It was followed by a yorker, which resulted in a single.
de Villiers hit the next ball for a four, played with confidence, a pull shot of sheer beauty. A dot ball, then a single.
Kohli hit the last ball of the over for a four, nice shot over the point fielder. 11 runs from the over.
Over 5 || Score 37/1 (Kohli 22; de Villiers 7)
First bowling change of the match, and MS Dhoni introduced Ankit Sharma, 25-year-old slow left-arm spinner from Gwalior.
A single to AB de Villiers, which was followed by another single to Virat Kohli. Then, the South African hit his first four, through cover. A single, then a dot ball.
A single to end the over. Eight runs from it.
Over 4 || Score 29/1 (Kohli 20; de Villiers 1)
Thisara Perera continued for his second over. This time, he was hit for a four off the first ball by Virat Kohli, who seemed to have been waiting to play that cut shot. Brilliant stuff from the skipper.
A single, then a dot to Lokesh Rahul. Frustration, and wicket. Rahul flashed his bat and top-edged to Ishant Sharma at third man.
WICKET: Lokesh Rahul c Ishant Sharma b Thisara Perera 7 (10b)
That happened off the fourth ball, and cometh AB de Villiers, to give company to Kohli. Seven runs and a wicket fromd the over.
Over 3 || Score 22/0 (Kohli 14; Rahul 7)
Wrist at work for Virat Kohli, and bearing the brunt is his Delhi statemate Ishant Sharma.
First ball, on the leg stump, and Kohli flicked, for a six over deep backward square leg fielder. It was followed by another art-work, this time playing between between mid-wicket and mid-on for a four.
A single followed, from an overthrow. A dot ball with Kevin Pietersen almost getting a catch at mid-on. Lucky Lokesh Rahul. Another dot-ball, and 11 runs from the over.
Ishant's two overs have leaked 20 runs.
Over 2 || Score 11/0 (Kohli 3; Rahul 7)
Thisara Perera, who had a forgettable first match of the season against Kings XI Punjab last Sunday, conceded a single off the first ball. Then the Sri Lankan all-rounder bounded Virat Kolhi with four dot balls.
Kohli, however, played a good looking flick shot for a single. Two runs from the over.
Over 1 || Score 9/0 (Kohli 2; Rahul 6)
Ishant Sharma started the proceedings with a wide, on the leg, then the very next ball, he almost got the wicket of Virat Kolhi.
Kohli flicked the ball, and it carried as far as the short fine leg area but the fielder there, Thisara Perera couldn't reach to the ball.
Another loose ball from Ishant, on the leg, and Lokesh Rahul flicked for the first boundary of the match. It, however, was responded with a dot ball.
A single to Rahul, then a short ball to Kohli, who climbed tall for a defensive shot, for a single. Good running between the wickets.
Then, a half chance at first slip where Ravichandran Ashwin failed to pounce on the half chance. Nine runs from the over.
Here are the teams:
Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt. & wk), Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankit Sharma, Murugan Ashwin, Ishant Sharma
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt.), Lokesh Rahul (wk), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson, Sarfaraz Khan, Stuart Binny, Harshal Patel, Kane Richardson, Tabraiz Shamsi, Iqbal Abdulla
TOSS: MS Dhoni wins toss, and Pune to chase against Bangalore.
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney and Virender Sharma
Third Umpire: KN Ananthapadmanabhan
Match Referee: Chinmay Sharma
Reserve Umpire: Yeshwant Barde
Rising Pune Supergiants: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt.), Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Jaskaran Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankit Sharma, Albie Morkel, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Thisara Perera, Saurabh Tiwary, RP Singh, Rajat Bhatia, Ankush Bains, Baba Aparajith, Murugan Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Deepak Chahar, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, Adam Zampa.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Stuart Binny, Iqbal Abdulla, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Vikramjeet Malik, Kane Richardson, Varun Aaron, Mandeep Singh, Abu Nechim, Adam Milne, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Travis Head, David Wiese, Sachin Baby, Lokesh Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Vikas Tokas, Sarfaraz Khan, Praveen Dubey, Akshay Karnewar.
After three matches each, the difference between Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore is the net run rate, at which the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led has a slight advantage, on decimals.
Three games, one win and two defeats. Both RPS and RCB started their respective campaigns on style, posting convincing wins but they came the slump, and now lie at lowly sixth and seventh places respectively.
When these two teams meet today in the 16th match of the 2016 season, both RPS and RCB will look to revive their respective campaigns.
But, besides the team stakes, the meeting between the new franchise from Pune and already established Challengers from Bangalore will be about the two captains, too.
Besides the line-up of world super-stars, the face-off between the two India captains will be an intriguing one thanks their shared history and also the obvious differences.
Talking about the teams, hosts Pune looked petite against a star-studded Bangalore side. Dhoni no doubt, has two international captains in Steven Smith of Australia, Faf du Plessis of South Africa -- both supremely talented cricketers -- at his disposal, but the lack of an international power-hitter seemed to have compromise his bids.
Yes, Kevin Pietersen is any day a strong player, but he is no match to the likes of AB de Villiers and Kohli himself. Luckily for Pune, a certain Chris Gayle has taken maternity leave, and will not be playing today.
But in the bowling aspects, Pune seemed to match, or even hold an edge over Bangalore. Bangalore has traditionally been a batting team, and this season too, they have entered with an ordinary bowling unit.
That's where Pune are likely to pose a challenge. Ravichandran Ashwin, despite his awful form of late, is still a match winner. And his namesake in Murugan is already a star.
READ FULL PREVIEW HERE
New Delhi: Welcome to our live coverage of the Match 16 of 2016 Indian Premier League between Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore, being played at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune.