Mohali: Murali Vijay's captain knock went in vain as Royal Challengers Bangalore snatched a nerve-wracking 1-run win victory over Kings XI Punjab in an enthralling Indian Premier League encounter, here on Monday.
Chasing a target of 176, KXIP were cruising along with Vijay smashing 89 off 57 balls but Chris Jordan managed to hold his nerves as he gave away 15 runs in the final over in which the home team needed 17 runs. The final scorecard was 174 for four.
Needing 4 off the last delivery, Marcus Stoinis (34, 22 balls) could take only two as Virat Kohli was delirious in joy the moment match finished.
The win takes RCB to sixth position with 8 points from 9 games as they still have a chance of qualifying for play-offs while KXIP with six points from 10 games look all but out of the tournament.
The last four overs saw KXIP requiring 40 runs with Vijay looking in great touch before tragedy struck. It was old warhorse Watson (2/22), who delivered the needful as he dug in a short one and Vijay went for the pull. He could not connect it as Yuzvendra Chahal took a well-judged catch at depe mid-wicket boundary. He hit 12 boundaries and a six. The match just slipped away despite Stoinis cameo.
Hashim Amla (21) and Vijay started on a positive note with the KXIP skipper finding gaps with ease. They added 45 runs before Amla tried to pull Watson as Stuart Binny stationed at the edge of the circle at mid-wicket timed his jump to perfection to take a good catch.
Vijay hit some great shots including a lovely back cut off Watson, an on drive off Binny and a pulled boundary of Chris Jordan.
When Varun Aaron bowled a fast rising delievry, Vijay used the pace to pull it behind square for a six. Along with Wriddhiman Saha (16), he added 43 runs as the pair ran well between the wickets before trouble struck.
Leg spinner Chahal (2/30) dismissed Saha and an out-of-form David Miller (0) with successive deliveries stumped by KL Rahul.
While Rahul fumbled a bit when Saha missed trying to give Chahal the charge, he effected a far smoother stumping when the leggie slided one across Miller, who tried playing a defensive prod.
From 88 for 1, KXIP were reduced to 88 for 3 when Vijay tried to take charge as he hit Jordan for a couple of boundaries.
In the next over, Vijay launched into left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah for a couple of boundaries.
In the next over, it was Aaron's turn to be sliced to deep point boundary while Chahl lost his length and was hit a for a couple of more boundaries.
Earlier, Virat Kohli had a one of his rarest failures in recent times as Royal Challengers Bangalore scored an impressive 175/6 against Kings XI Punjab riding on AB de Villiers' stroke-filled 64 off 35 balls.
Skipper Kohli, who has been fastest to reach 500 runs in an IPL season, was out for 20 as it was De Villiers' late surge that saw RCB's total gain momentum on a track which was getting slower with passage of time.
De Villiers' innings had five boundaries and two sixes off Sandeep Sharma.
The sixes included a sweep shot and a pull over mid-wicket off Sandeep while he also played another audacious sweep shot off KXIP's best bowler Mohit Sharma for a boundary.
He also hit Mohit's slower over his head for a boundary.
Once he reached his half-century off 30 balls, De Villiers' started hammering the bowlers with great disdain. In the 18th over bowled by a hapless military medium bowler Sandeep, he got a six and four but while trying to dig a full delivery gave a regulation catch to KC Cariappa at cover.
De Villiers found an able ally in Kerala left-hander Sachin Baby (33, 29 balls) as the duo added 88 runs in 9.1 overs for the fourth wicket after RCB were reduced to 67 for 3 due to a mini-collapse.
It was KL Rahul (42, 25 balls), who continued his good show with the bat, adding 63 for the opening wicket with Kohli (20) before leg-break bowler KC Cariappa (2/16 in 3 overs) got both the batsmen within a space of two deliveries.
Rahul after having hit six delightful boundaries and a six, was bowled round his legs trying to play sweep shot. A ball later, he had prized scalp of Kohli, who gave a simple catch to his opposite number Murali Vijay at short cover.
From 63/2, it soon became 67 for three when Shane Watson (1) missed a slow half-tracker from Axar Patel to be clean bowled.
But De Villiers' played one of the more significant of knocks in this edition of the tournament.