Royal challengers Bangalore (RCB) held their nerve to clinch a one-run win over Delhi Capitals (DC) to go top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) table.

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Delhi Capitals 4-170 ( 20.0 ) overs
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 5-171 ( 20.0 ) overs

Royal challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli credited that to the depth the team has in the bowling department, which bodes well for the team as the team from Bangalore over the years have only boasted about its depth in batting.

Ab De Villiers scored an unbeaten 75 runs off 42 deliveries give power RCB to 171 for five before their bowlers, led by Harshal Patel (2/37), Mohammed Siraj (1/44) Kyle Jamieson (1/32), restricted DC to 170 for four. Requiring 14 off the final over, DC fell agonisingly short as Rishabh Pant’s back-to-back fours off the remaining two balls did not prove to be enough.

Shimron Hetmyer unbeaten 53 runs off 25 deliveries displayed some spectacular hitting while batting alongside Pant (58 not out off 48) but they could not take their team over the line.

While chasing 172 runs target, DC was reduced to 28 for two in 3.3 overs as all-rounder Kyle Jamieson and Siraj and sent Shikhar Dhawan (6) and Steve Smith (4) packing respectively.

Just when it looked Prithvi Shaw (21) and Pant, who survived a leg before scare on 9, were navigating their way, Patel, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, struck, getting rid of the former with the DC managing 43/2 in the first six overs.

With the required run rate increasing both batsmen indulged in shot-making. Stoinis took on Washington Sundar in the 12th over, hitting two fours while Pant smashed Patel for back-to-back boundaries in the next over.

However, an edge resulted in the Australian all-rounder walking back to the dugout as wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals. The big-hitting Hetmyer joined his skipper in the middle.

Shimron Hetmyer was dropped on 15 by Devdutt Padikkal. With DC needing 46 of the last three overs. The Men in blue plundered 21 runs that included three massive sixes by Hetmyer in the 18th overs bowled by Jamieson but it wasn’t meant to be.

Earlier, DC bowlers Axar Patel (1/33), Kagiso Rabada (1/38), Amit Mishra (1/27), Avesh Khan (1/24), Ishant Sharma (1/26), who all picked one wicket each, put up a collective effort to restrict RCB. De Villiers, who hit three fours and five sixes, was the top scorer for RCB.

Ab De Villiers hit 22 runs off the last over bowled by Stoinis (0/23), including three sixes. Rajat Patidar (31) and Glenn Maxwell (25 off 20 balls) also provided valuable contributions.

Put in to bat, Devdutt Padikkal (17) and skipper Virat Kohli (12) were off to a flying start, amassing 30 runs in 3.5 overs. Pacer Avesh provided the DC with the first breakthrough, dismissing the RCB captain for 12 in the fourth over.

In the very next ball, Ishant, playing his first match of the season, got rid of the dangerous Padikkal. With two new batsmen in the middle, the seasoned speedster went on to bowl a wicket maiden to slow down the proceedings as RCB collected 36 runs for the loss of two wickets in the Powerplay.

Maxwell played a short cameo, smashing two maximums and a boundary but was caught at long-on by compatriot Smith off leggie Mishra as RCB reached 68 for three at the halfway mark.

Devdutt Padikkal, who hit 31 off 22 deliveries, and de Villiers steadied the ship by stitching a 54-run stand but all-rounder Axar Patel, who accounted for the Indian in the 15th over. Barring de Villiers all RCB batsmen were guilty of not capitalising on good starts.

AB de Villiers | Man of the match: The shot over extra cover was certainly one of the best shots, but the one over midwicket off KG was my best one. I don’t often get him away, but I’m happy I managed to get him away for that one. It’s important to be fresh for every game. I worked out at home and during the quarantine in the hotel room, and now it’s just about managing ourselves throughout the tournament and being fresh when we go out there to play. We have some experienced heads and some young Indian bowlers who have done well internationally recently. They come in with a lot of confidence. Myself, Virat and Maxi chip in with some help when we can too. I forced myself to say a bit more behind the stumps, thanks to Yuzi who urged me to do it.

Virat Kohli | RCB captain: At one stage I thought it was getting away, but Siraj’s final over gave us confidence and we thought he would manage a professional and clinical job. If there weren’t fielding lapses it wasn’t going to go this far anyway. We lost wickets but AB went berserk and then in the last few overs while bowling Hetmyer got hold of a few, otherwise we were in control. There was no dew tonight thanks to that sandstorm, and we bowled with a dry ball, so that made a difference. Maxi is still not bowling, he’s the 7th option, so we have enough options to do the job for us. We always had batting depth, but now we have a lot of bowling options too. I choose to be optimistic, but captaining for too long does make you nervous. I invariably go with the gut feel of the bowler. AB doesn’t like me saying this, but he hasn’t played competitive cricket for 5 months, but if you look at him bat it doesn’t feel like he doesn’t play international cricket anymore. Hats off to him, keeps doing it again and again for us. Such an asset for us. I’ll say this again (smiles). He hasn’t played for five months, just watch that innings.

Rishabh Pant: Obviously feeling disappointed, specially when you are on the losing side. They got 10-15 runs extra on this wicket. Hetty (Hetmyer) played a brilliant innings, because of him we got close to the target. In the last over, we were thinking whoever gets the ball has to finish the job for the team. That’s what we were planning, in the end we were one run short. We counted the overs really well, in the end the spinners weren’t getting the help which we thought they might get. In the end, I had to give the ball to Stoinis. It’s good to take positives from all the matches. As a young team, we like to learn from each and every game and want to improve each and every day

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