IPL 2019

Kohli's RCB finally end record drought

IPL cellar-dwellars notch first victory of season following six straight defeats

AFP & Cricket Network

14 April 2019, 08:19 AM AEST

Captain Virat Kohli hit a crucial 67 to guide his Royal Challengers side to their first win of the Indian Premier League season Saturday after six straight defeats.

Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten 99 to take Kings XI Punjab to 4-173 off their 20 overs, putting extra pressure on Kohli's team who have made an error-strewn start to the campaign.

But the India skipper plundered early runs to put Bangalore on course. Even after the run rate eased, South African veteran AB de Villiers (59) and Australian Marcus Stoinis (28) reached the target in the final over to provide a morale-boosting eight-wicket win.

Kohli's RCB finally broke their drought // BCCI
Kohli's RCB finally broke their drought // BCCI

"It is a great feeling to get across the line," said Kohli, who has criticised his players for their mistakes and attitude in past defeats.

It was later revealed Kohli had been fined for RCB's slow over-rate in the match, but the penalty will hardly have taken any gloss of their much-needed victory.

Bangalore's six earlier losses had equalled the record for the worst start to an IPL season.

"We have been unlucky in a couple of games," he added. "But after so many setbacks the players showed they still have desire."

The powerful Gayle, who fell short of what would have been his seventh IPL century, smashed 10 fours and five sixes in a 64-ball knock against his former side.

Kohli's innings included eight fours, but he said the key to the victory was his bowlers taking four Punjab wickets in the middle of their innings to restrict their score.

Only Gayle's concentration ensured Punjab put up a competitive score.

After Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians by four wickets earlier on Saturday for their second win of the season, Bangalore, who have never won an IPL title, remain rooted to the bottom of the table and needing a miracle to qualify for the playoffs.

England's Jos Buttler struck 89 including 28 - two sixes and four fours - off an over by West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph in Rajasthan's win.