PHOTOS: Royal Challengers vs Kings XI Punjab

Images from Thursday’s IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, in Sharjah.

Kings XI Punjab finally put up a disciplined effort with the ball to restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to 171 for 6 in their must-win Indian Premier League match, in Sharjah, on Thursday.

Skipper Virat Kohli top-scored with 48 off 39 balls in his 200th game for the Royal Challengers, but it was Chris Morris’s 25 off 8 in the death overs that took the team to a competitive score.

The final over, bowled by Mohammad Shami, went for 24 runs and could well prove to be the difference on a pitch that is not the batting beauty it was at the start of the tournament.

Notwithstanding Shami’s wayward 20th over, it was an improved bowling effort from a team that has been leaking runs in the death overs game after game.

The Kings conceded only 25 runs from over 16-19 before Morris and Isuru Udana hammered Shami for three sixes.

After Kohli chose to bat, the Kings experimented by opening the bowling with Glenn Maxwell (0/28 in 4 overs). He was slog-swept by his Australian teammate and close friend Aaron Finch on the final ball of the over.

The other opener, Devdutt Padikkal (18), also went for his shots, his best hit of the night being a whip off Shami that went for a six over deep square leg.

However, both Padikkal and Finch could not build on their starts. The former was foxed by a slower one from left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh and caught at cover, while Finch missed a fast leg-break from Murugan Ashwin, leaving Royal Challengers in a spot of bother at 62 for two in the seventh over.

With Kohli looking good at the other end, AB de Villiers was expected to come in at his usual number four spot, but with two leg-spinners in operation, left-handed batsman Washington Sundar was sent ahead of the South African.

The move did not work, as he struggled for 13 off 14 balls.

The Kings, whose bowling has been the weakest link, did rather well from 11 to 14 overs, conceding just 20 runs, to put pressure on the opposition.

The Royal Challengers needed to move on and southpaw Shivam Dube provided the timely strike, dispatching Ravi Bishnoi for consecutive sixes to amass 19 runs from the over.

Following Dube’s dismissal in the 15th over, De Villiers finally joined Kohli for the late assault. However, the South African could score just 2 off 5 balls, before being dismissed by Shami.

It was left to Morris to boost the total and he did it in style, hitting three sixes in his eight-ball 25 to give the Royal Challengers a fighting total.

Earlier, Royal Challengers named an unchanged side while Kings XI included Chris Gayle for the first time this season and handed a debut cap to Deepak Hooda.

Ashwin was also included in the Punjab side. The three players replaced were an injured Mandeep Singh, Prabhsimran Singh and Mujeeb Zadran.

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