Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) were very hot under the collar after their loss to Delhi Capitals in their opening IPL 2020 match, when some very dubious umpiring decisions left the Punjab team fuming. More so because there was a time towards the end of the KXIP inning when you could see the sweat beads forming on the foreheads of Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer and coach Ricky Ponting. Also, irrespective of what injustice they were meted out, KXIP can’t deny that Mayank Agarwal’s gunning for glory skier when he could simply have opted for a match-winning single was equally to blame for the disaster. Nevertheless, that story is now over and an upbeat Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB) wait in the wings to inflict more misery on the Punjab team.
RCB, who also will be playing their second game, couldn’t have written the script any better. For a change, they won the first match of the tournament, a far cry from the 2019 season, where the first success came almost when it was too late.
AB de Villiers did what he does best and there was the bonus of Devdutt Padikkal at the top of the inning, enough to make it all good enough to post a challenging total.
Only thing RCB would be looking for is for skipper Virat Kohli to land a big one soon, and that should happen.
Then the bowling took over, with Yuzvendra Chahal reiterating his role as the main exponent, while Navdeep Saini was fast and penetrative and Shivam Dube the ideal foil.
For KXIP, Mohammad Shami was in sensational rhythm against Delhi Capitals with the left-arm seam of Sheldon Cottrell adding a fine dimension. Ravi Bishnoi also took to his task rather well.
So, it was quite a pity to see Punjab claw back from a position of near-defeat to get to the verge of a win and then throw it all away.
RCB will also need to keep their momentum up. Of all the IPL franchises, they seem to have the most fragile mental make-up, giving away too much ground to their rivals in past editions. But beginning with a win could well define a new chapter for Kohli’s men.
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