Kohli and De Villiers boost Royal Challengers' play-off push


Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers delivered another masterclass in Twenty20 batting to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to a potentially crucial Indian Premier League victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.

Royal Challengers were set an imposing target of 184 by Kolkata in Monday's contest at Eden Gardens, Gautam Gambhir (51) starring again as he tied David Warner for most fifties in the IPL with 31 while Manish Pandey (50 from 35) and Andre Russell (39 not out) also impressed with the bat.

But the Knight Riders were undone in devastating fashion by Bangalore's star-studded top order, Chris Gayle ending his slump in form with 49 off 31 balls before Kohli (75 not out) and De Villiers (59 not out) produced a stunning 67-ball partnership of 115 to guide Royal Challengers to a nine-wicket win.

Kohli now has 752 runs to his name, the most in any IPL season, his brilliant stand with De Villiers moving Royal Challengers within two points of fourth-placed Gujarat Lions. 

Robin Uthappa (2) departed early for Kolkata but Gambhir and Pandey quickly mounted a superb response, the former hitting seven fours before he was run out for the third time in this IPL campaign.

Sreenath Aravind (2-41) then dismissed Pandey before Kolkata lost two further wickets, only for Russell to steady the ship with a 19-ball effort that included three sixes.

Gayle produced an emphatic return to form with five boundaries and four sixes before being trapped lbw by Sunil Narine (1-34).

His exit provided no respite for Kolkata, however, as Kohli and De Villiers combined put together a wonderful display of both patience and aggression.

They hit the accelerator with six overs to go and piled on 61 runs off 28 balls to seal the win, which was clinched with a De Villiers boundary past short fine leg off Piyush Chawla after Russell came off with an apparent knee injury.