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KXIP have it easy

AB de Villiers’s 53 went in vain, in Bangalore, on Friday

Bangalore: The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) juggernaut continued to roll in style as they convincingly defeated hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 32 runs in Friday’s IPL VII encounter to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Put in to bat, KXIP batsmen again fired in unison to score an imposing 198 for eight with David Miller smashing 66 off 29 balls. In reply, RCB could manage only 166 for nine as AB de Villiers ran out of partners despite another super effort, hitting 53 off 26 balls.

KXIP remain on top of the table with 14 points from eight games while RCB stay on sixth place with six points from eight games.

Sandeep Sharma again proved his mettle with early strikes as he had another terrific day with figures of 3 for 25. But the surprise package was an unheralded 20-year-old off-spinner Shivam Sharma, playing his first competitive match at the senior level. Flighting the ball and getting good turn, Shivam had impressive figures of two for 26 in his four overs.

Seamer Sandeep, who has been one of the discoveries of this IPL, wreaked havoc as he ripped off the RCB top order in an inspired first spell. He angled one away from Chris Gayle (4) who flashed at it and Wriddhiman Saha pouched it behind stumps.

Off his very next delivery, which wasn’t too good, he saw Virat Kohli trying to tuck it down the leg side only to give Wriddhiman another catch. This was Kohli’s third score of naught in the tournament.

Parthiv Patel hit a few lusty blows, but holed out in the deep extra-cover region, giving Sandeep his third wicket.

RCB were reeling at 26 for three and it soon became 39 for four when Sachin Rana (18) was cleaned up by an arm ball from Akshar Patel. Yuvraj Singh again wasted too many deliveries, putting a lot of pressure on De Villiers before he was fooled by a flighted delivery from Shivam.

The youngster was not afraid to flight and also got a bit of purchase off the pitch. At the end of 10 overs, it was 52 for five and the match seemed as good as over.

Albie Morkel (16) hit a couple of sixes as Glenn Maxwell went for 24 in the sole over he bowled. However, young Shivam got his second wicket when Morkel went for a hoick only to be caught George Bailey at short third-man.

De Villiers carried on from where he had left against Sunrisers Hyderabad as he completed his 50 off 25 balls with successive sixes of Lakshmipathy Balaji. Having hit five sixes, De Villiers was unlucky trying to hit the sixth one when Balaji fired one wide and his slog over cover was taken by the fielder at the deep.

Once De Villiers was gone, it became a mere formality for the visitors.

Earlier, Miller smashed his way to a 29-ball-66 as KXIP’s batting clicked yet again. Virender Sehwag and Mandeep Singh gave a rollicking start to the visitors, adding 60 runs off 35 balls.