Kohli finds his form and carries Royal Challengers Bangalore to an 8-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals

Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 72 as Royal Challengers Bangalore moved to the top of the table.

Abu Dhabi: Young opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal notched his third half century in four Indian Premier League matches and Virat Kohli returned to batting form with an unbeaten 72 as Royal Challengers Bangalore moved to the top of the table with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.

Twenty-year-old Padikkal’s fluent 63 and Kohli’s first half century this season carried Bangalore to 158-2 in 19.1 overs in a well-measured run-chase under hot and humid conditions.

Rajasthan recovered from three early wickets through Mahipal Lomror (47) and Rahul Tewatia’s unbeaten 24 off 12 balls to post 154-6 after captain Steven Smith had won the toss and opted to bat.

Yuzvendra Chahal, who had in form Sanju Samson caught low of his own bowling off his very first ball, also removed top-scorer Lomror to finish with 3-24.

Captain Kohli had an indifferent start to this year’s IPL with below par scores of 3, 1, 14 in the first three games, but found his form back when he combined in a 99-run match-winning stand with Padikkal.

“It’s a different feeling (batting with Kohli), I’ve watched him from home so much since I was young and to bat with him is an unreal feeling,” Padikkal said. “He just kept pushing me. I was getting tired, cramping up, but he pushed me. He said I need to see the team through. That’s how he bats and he was conveying that to me too.”

Padikkal hit six fours and a six in his impressive debut IPL season before a tiring left-hander attempted an expansive shot against Jofra Archer and was clean bowled in the 16th over.

Kohli was circumspect early on before hitting seven boundaries and two sixes in his 53-ball unbeaten knock as the Bangalore skipper finally got his batting form in the fourth game.

Rajasthan lost three big wickets of Smith, Jos Buttler and Samson cheaply and reel at 31-3 inside the first five overs before Lomror and and Tewatia’s late recovery saw them scoring 55 runs in the last five overs.

“We could have done a lot better, (but) didn’t get enough runs on the board,” Smith said.

“We bat quite deep, but our top three (batsmen) need to bat longer and get ourselves into the innings.”

Bangalore with six points after three wins are atop the leaderboard while Rajasthan has four points after two wins and two losses.

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