Yohan Blake, the second-fastest man in history, could be set to play T20 cricket for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), once he hangs up his spikes.

Sunrisers Hyderabad are in danger of missing out on the final Indian Premier League play-off place after Shimron Hetmyer and Gurkeerat Singh Mann blasted half-centuries in a four-wicket win for Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore's impressive Indian Premier League resurgence continued with a fourth win in five matches as Virat Kohli's men defeated Kings XI Punjab by 17 runs.

RCB were deep in trouble in this year's competition as they began with six consecutive defeats, leaving little room for error in the remainder of the tournament.

But they have thrived under the circumstances and did so again at home to Kings XI, with a sensational unbeaten partnership of 121 off 66 from AB de Villiers (82 not out) and Marcus Stoinis (46no) stealing the show.

That carried RCB from 81-4 to 202-4, setting a target that Kings XI never truly looked like reaching as Umesh Yadav finished with figures of 3-36.

The visitors mustered 185-7 from their 20 overs, but the momentum they required deserted them late on.

 

FAST-STARTING RCB SOON SLOWED

RCB were sent in to bat first and initially looked set to continue their strong run in real style as Parthiv Patel and Kohli combined for 35 runs in the first three overs of the powerplay.

But Kohli (13), having already been dropped at the start of the second over, was soon snared by Mohammed Shami.

Parthiv kept chipping away for a time and reached an impressive 43 off just 24, yet his departure signalled the start of a tough stretch for the home side and they were reduced to 81-4.

DE VILLIERS FINISHES WITH A FLOURISH

De Villiers had let Parthiv do the heavy lifting in their partnership, but the South African responded in stunning fashion to losing three team-mates.

Some sublime big hitting included four sixes in five balls to bring up the century partnership with Stoinis, who was also in the mood for a slog, and RCB made 64 from the final three overs.

Kings XI set a good early pace to maintain some interest in the contest, though, reaching 101-1 through the first nine overs.

KINGS XI CANNOT UNDO DAMAGE

KL Rahul made 42 from 27 through partnerships with Chris Gayle (23) and Mayank Agarwal (35), but he eventually departed to Moeen Ali.

Kings XI's scoring rate did not quite reach the required standard, yet they were still in a position where a final flurry - the like of which De Villiers early delivered - might have stolen victory.

It did not materialise, though, with David Miller (24) and Nicholas Pooran (46) gone in the same over, before Yadav removed Ravichandran Ashwin (6) and Hardus Viljoen, who endured a torrid time with the ball, from consecutive deliveries.

Virat Kohli's fifth Indian Premier League century helped Royal Challengers Bangalore record a much-needed 10-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders, despite the best efforts of the in-form Andre Russell.

Captain Kohli led from the front, making an even 100, while Moeen Ali contributed 66 in a hurry as the Royal Challengers posted a formidable score of 213-4 at Eden Gardens.

Kolkata appeared set to fall well short in reply, labouring to 60-3 at the halfway stage following two early wickets for returning paceman Dale Steyn.

However, not for the first time this season, Russell produced an onslaught at the back-end of an innings to suddenly put the game back in the balance.

The West Indian all-rounder hammered nine sixes as he and Nitish Rana (85 not out) put Bangalore on the back foot, getting what seemed a nigh-on impossible equation down to 24 required from the final over.

Russell kept his side's hopes alive by hitting Moeen for six down the ground, leaving the equation at 17 off three, but a dot ball by the England spinner curtailed the Knight Riders' late charge.

The following delivery saw Russell run out for 65 and while Rana finished the game with another six, Bangalore had just about held their nerve under pressure. The victory is just their second of the campaign, though they remain bottom of the table.

 

KOHLI TIMES IT JUST RIGHT

With AB de Villiers not in the starting XI, the pressure on Kohli was even greater to perform for his struggling franchise.

The right-hander needed 40 balls to reach 50 but exploded into life after such a patient start, needing just a further 18 deliveries to make it through to three figures. He reached the milestone in glorious fashion, sending a cover drive to the fence for his ninth four.

Kohli had also smashed four sixes before he was caught off the final ball of the innings having put on 64 with Marcus Stoinis, who ended up unbeaten on 17.

Moeen had earlier dominated a 90-run stand for the third wicket, the England international belting six sixes. 

 

STEYN RUINS KOLKATA CHASE

In need of a boost to their bowling attack, Bangalore turned to Steyn. The South African bowler had last played for the team in the IPL nine years ago, yet he showed what they had been missing with an early burst to put the home team on the back foot.

He dismissed Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill in the powerplay, while the Knight Riders were further hampered by Robin Uthappa eating up 20 deliveries to make just nine runs.

Too many early dot balls came back to haunt them at the death as well, with Russell and Rana running out of time.

Still, Russell has now amassed 377 runs in the tournament this year, despite facing just 171 balls. His tally of 39 sixes tops the charts, as he sits 13 clear of fellow West Indian Chris Gayle.

Royal Challengers Bangalore avoided an unwanted Indian Premier League record by finally getting up and running with an eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab despite Chris Gayle's unbeaten 99.

Defeat for RCB would have seen them become the first side in IPL history to lose their first seven matches of the tournament, but they stopped the rot in Mohali on Saturday.

The in-form Gayle struck five sixes and 10 fours in a brilliant knock, KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh the next highest scorers with 18 as Kings XI posted 173-4.

Gayle would have been out without scoring in the first over if Kohli had reviewed when Umesh Yadav rapped him on the pads and the opener took advantage of that stroke of luck.

Kohli made 67 from 53 balls before AB de Villiers (59 not out from 38) and Marcus Stoinis (26no off 15) saw Bangalore home with four balls to spare.

 

 

GAYLE CASHES IN AFTER EARLY LET-OFF

Gayle should have been on his way when he was struck in front by Yadav but the finger did not go up and Kohli opted against a review.

That proved to be costly as the self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' cut loose, hitting two sixes off a Mohammed Siraj over which went for 24 runs.

The West Indies opener brought up his half-century off only 28 balls and, after being dropped by Kohli on 83, he finished one shy of a hundred after hitting the final ball of the innings from Siraj for four.

 

KOHLI MAKES AMENDS

While it was not a day to remember for Kohli in the field, he made amends with a typically brilliant second half-century of the tournament.

The India captain went through his repertoire of classy strokes and motored to 50 in 37 balls. 

He put on 85 with De Villiers for the second wicket before hooking Mohammed Shami straight to a perfectly placed Murugan Ashwin.

 

DE VILLIERS AND STOINIS FINISH IT OFF

RCB needed 46 to win off 27 deliveries when Kohli departed and De Villiers and Stoinis stepped up to see them home.

Stoinis breathed a sigh of relief when Ashwin put down a skier, then De Villiers added insult to injury by hitting the next ball from Australian Andrew Tye over the ropes in an eventful 18th over that cost 18 runs.

De Villiers got down on one knee to smash Shami for six leaving RCB needing only six off the last over and Stoinis dispatched Sarfaraz Khan's first ball for four and took two off the next to win it.

Andre Russell produced an astonishing late onslaught as Kolkata Knight Riders made sure Royal Challengers Bangalore are still searching for their first win in the 2019 Indian Premier League.

The West Indies all-rounder belted seven sixes as he made an unbeaten 48 from just 13 deliveries, helping the Knight Riders overhaul their opponents' total of 205-3 with five balls to spare.

Having arrived at the crease with the score at 139-4 in the 16th over, Russell managed a single from his first four legal deliveries as the Royal Challengers appeared on course to break their duck in this season's competition.

However, his whirlwind knock made the task of 53 runs from the final three overs a breeze, with the five-wicket triumph lifting Kolkata up to second in the table.

Bangalore, in contrast, remain stuck at the bottom. A fifth successive defeat did not appear on the cards at the halfway stage of the contest, with two of their star names shining with the bat.

Captain Virat Kohli top-scored with 84 from 49 deliveries and shared a second-wicket stand of 108 with AB de Villiers, who made 63. However, Russell eclipsed the pair with a dazzling display of hitting down the stretch.

 

SOUTHEE SUFFERS IN THRILLING CHASE

When Tim Southee started the penultimate over of the game, the Knight Riders required 30 from 12 deliveries. By the time the New Zealander had finished his spell, the scores were level.

After Shubman Gill started the over with a single, Russell smashed 28 runs off the next five balls. A quartet of sixes included two over midwicket, while the boundary in the blitz came with a cheeky steer over wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel when Southee dropped in a short ball.

Russell has now managed 207 runs in this year's IPL from 77 deliveries, putting him third on the top-scorers' list behind Sunrisers Hyderabad duo David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. His tally includes an astonishing 22 sixes.

Kolkata needed their in-form player to fire, too. Chris Lynn made 43 at the top of the order and there were also contributions from Robin Uthappa (33) and Nitish Rana (37), though the Royal Challengers appeared to be in control until the game came to a dramatic - and hasty - conclusion.

 

KOLHI SHINES DESPITE RCB'S GLOOMY OUTLOOK

Bangalore have found runs hard to come by in this campaign - they had been bowled out for scores of 70 and 113 prior to Friday - but found some form after being put in by Kolkata.

Kohli produced successive drives for four to get up and running at the start of his innings, albeit Bangalore's run-rate slowed after finishing the powerplay on 53 without loss.

Opener Patel fell with the score on 64, trapped lbw for 25, but the initial breakthrough only allowed De Villiers to combine with his skipper in a thrilling century partnership.

After the former South Africa international departed, Marcus Stoinis made an unbeaten 28 in a hurry to lift Bangalore beyond 200, a good score but not quite good enough in the final reckoning to secure an overdue triumph.

Shreyas Gopal bamboozled struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore and Jos Buttler blasted a half-century as Rajasthan Royals got up and running in the Indian Premier League with a seven-wicket win.

There was more misery for Virat Kohli in his 100th game as RCB captain at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, where his side could only post 158-4 after Gopal took 3-12 from his four overs on Tuesday.

Gopal doubled his wicket tally for the tournament with a brilliant leg-spinning exhibition, dismissing Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer.

Parthiv Patel top scored with 67 from 41 balls for Bangalore, who were thrashed by Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, but his first half-century of the 2019 IPL was not enough to prevent his side from being the only team without a victory.

The Royals, missing Sanju Samson due to a niggle, sealed their first two points after Buttler smashed 59 from 43 balls.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2-17) gave RCB hope, but Steve Smith made 38 and Rahul Tripathi capitalised on being dropped early in his innings to score an unbeaten 34, hitting a six to win it off the penultimate ball.

GOPAL PUTS RCB IN A SPIN

Kohli moved up to open for the second time in the tournament, but the skipper missed out in his landmark match as skipper.

Parthiv and Kohli put on 49 before Gopal claimed the huge wicket of the mercurial India captain, who was flummoxed by a ripper of a googly and bowled through the gate for 23.

De Villiers was caught and bowled in the tweaker's next over and he had a third wicket when Hetmyer was caught behind, reducing RCB to 73-3 midway through their innings.

It was left for Parthiv - who struck a six and nine fours - to lay the platform for a late flurry from debutant Marcus Stoinis (31 not out from 28) and Moeen Ali (18no off 9)

 

BUTTLER SERVES UP ANOTHER TREAT

Buttler failed twice after he was the victim of a Ravichandran Ashwin 'Mankad' but he was back in the groove at the top of the order.

The explosive wicketkeeper-batsman struck Navdeep Saini for back-to-back boundaries after Ajinkya Rahane was dropped by Kohli in the second over and did the same to Stoinis in his first over for his new franchise.

Buttler continued to rocket along, reaching his half-century from 38 balls with a glorious straight drive off England team-mate Moeen, who he also pulled for six before he struck the crafty Chahal - who also removed Rahane - to Stoinis at long-off.

 

RAHUL ENSURES RCB TRIP UP AGAIN

Smith was not at his fluent best, but used his experience to rotate the strike and score at over a run a ball.

Chahal should have had a third wicket when Umesh Yadav dropped Tripathi in the deep on nine before Smith hammered Mohammed Siraj for six. 

Smith fell off the final ball of the 19th over from Siraj, but with only five needed from the last over, Tripathi hooked Yadav over the ropes to win it in emphatic fashion.

AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli joined the Indian Premier League party on Thursday but it was not enough to steer Royal Challengers Bangalore to victory over Mumbai Indians.

After failing in the opening loss to Chennai Super Kings, both men found their form in Bangalore as RCB looked set to claim their first win.

However, the hosts fell agonisingly short as Jasprit Bumrah (3-20) and Lasith Malinga (0-47) bowled superbly at the death to earn Mumbai a six-run triumph.

Mumbai set a challenging target after being put in, captain Rohit Sharma leading the way with some trademark hitting, the opener falling two short of a half century.

Hardik Pandya, Yuvraj Singh and Quinton de Kock all followed their captain's lead as Mumbai reached 187-8 from their 20 overs, only the control of Yuzvendra Chahal (4-38) keeping them in check.

Chahal's work with the ball seemed to have been enough as Kohli - who reached 5000 IPL runs as he made 46 - and De Villiers led the run chase, the pair sharing 49 for the third wicket.

De Villiers was given a life by Yuvraj early on and he quickly took advantage, upping the pace following Kohli's departure to finish unbeaten on 70, however it left RCB just short.

Bumrah bowled a penultimate over that only went for five to leave RCB needing 17 to win, and Malinga – playing his first IPL match since May 2017 – ensured they would not reach it as the hosts finished 181-5.

BANGALORE'S BRILLIANCE ON THE BOUNDARY

Mumbai's big-hitters delivered some devastating blows to the RCB bowlers but in the end they were all snared on the boundary by some superb fielding.

Rohit and Yuvraj cleared the ropes four times between them but ultimately they perished before being able to inflict serious damage as Mohammed Siraj took two fine catches.

The dangerous Kieron Pollard went before clicking into gear as West Indies compatriot Shimron Hetmyer clung on at deep extra cover.

Hardik could not be stopped, though, with three huge maximums, including one that flew out of the ground.

YUVRAJ'S RELIEF

Mumbai's win could have been less stressful had Yuvraj sent De Villiers packing on his first ball.

Buoyed from removing Parthiv Patel, Mayank Markande pushed through his next delivery and it brought an edge from De Villiers, but Yuvraj spilled the chance at first slip.

Luckily for the veteran it did not prove costly as Mumbai earned their first win.

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni will go head-to-head in the opening game of the 2019 Indian Premier League as defending champions Chennai Super Kings face Royal Challengers Bangalore.

An eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad brought a third title for Chennai last year and they have assembled a star-studded squad in an attempt to retain their crown.

The IPL will act as a Cricket World Cup warm-up for some of the leading stars over the coming seven weeks, while there are returns for some controversial figures.

Ahead of match one, we run through everything you need to know about IPL 12.

 

When does it start?

Saturday sees the tournament kick-off in Chennai as the Super Kings host RCB, with the home side looking to win a seventh successive game against their opening-day rivals.

When is the final?

As well as hosting game one, Chennai will also provide the stage for the final on May 12, but there are 59 games to play before the showpiece contest.

Which teams are competing?

The line-up shows the same eight franchises that competed 12 months ago, although the Delhi Daredevils have renamed themselves as the Delhi Capitals for 2019.

What happened at the auction?

Two players topped the auction list in December – Indian seamer Jaydev Unadkat and compatriot legspinner Varun Chakravarthy.

Unadkat will turn out for the Rajasthan Royals this year – his fifth IPL team – after they paid an eye-watering 8.4 crores for his services, a figure matched as Kings XI Punjab secured Chakravarthy.

England all-rounder Sam Curran was the most expensive overseas player after he signed for Kings XI for 7.2 crores, while household names like Cheteshwar Pujara, Brendon McCullum and Alex Hales went unsold.

Who are the star players?

Chennai have the likes of Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson to choose from, while RCB will be led by India skipper Kohli.

The new-look Capitals have teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw in their squad, while Shikhar Dhawan has joined from Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah make up a strong Mumbai Indians line-up, while IPL legend Chris Gayle joins Curran at Kings XI.

Kolkata Knight Riders have big-hitter Chris Lynn within their ranks, while fellow Australians Steve Smith and David Warner return following their 12-month suspensions.

The duo will be eligible to compete for the Royals and Hyderabad respectively from March 29, when their bans are lifted.

England hopeful Jofra Archer joins Smith at the Royals, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler for company. Meanwhile, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan is one of Warner's team-mates.

Windies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite and the entertaining, emerging star, Shimron Hetmyer have been sold to the Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, respectively in Tuesday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) draft.

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