Lions win despite Virat Kohli's maiden T20 ton
There are not many batsmen who can go toe-to-toe with the Royal Challengers captain. He averages 110 and strikes at 141 in Twenty20s this year. So Lions had to work together, and work as perfectly as possible. The Rajkot pitch was slow and strokeplay wasn't particularly easy. With the new ball, you can always bank on runs though. Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, who replaced Dale Steyn - belted 72 runs in the Powerplay - a record for this season - to provide a fine start to the chase.
Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik built a sensible half-century stand - using the long boundaries at the SCA stadium to scamper twos as often as possible to keep the asking rate in check. Karthik, who was 28 off 26 when that partnership was broken in the 16th over, accelerated to 50 off 39 balls and was unbeaten when the winning runs were struck with three balls to spare.
Royal Challengers had the chance to remove Karthik in the 18th over, Kane Richardson deceived the him with a slower ball but was unable to hold on to the return catch. An equation of 26 off 16 balls could have been taxing on a new batsman. As such, the set batsman Karthk kept finding the gaps, a fresh Ravindra Jadeja made sure the twos continued coming and the chasing team won for a 16th time in 19 IPL matches this year.
After opting to bat, Royal Challengers lost Shane Watson early when he skied an offcutter from Dhawal Kulkarni to Jadeja running in from sweeper cover. But Kohli and de Villiers put up their fifth fifty-plus stand in six innings to regain the advantage.
Kohli was sublime on the drive, and de Villiers was content to watch from the other end. The duo put on 51 off 36, but the show came to a premature end when de Villiers chipped an innocuous delivery from legspinner Pravin Tambe to short cover.
The tempo of the innings began to falter. KL Rahul struggled for timing and his captain had sprained his ankle while turning for a second run.
News Source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/indian-premier-league-2016/content/story/1002615.html