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Faf du Plessis and Hazlewood put Royal Challengers at top two

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Faf du Plessis equalled his highest IPL score with a supremely paced innings of 96 from 64 balls, as Royal Challengers Bangalore restated their top-of-the-table credentials with an emphatic 18-run victory over fellow high-fliers Lucknow Super Giants in their IPL game plated at Mumbai on Tuesday.

On a high-kicking surface at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, RCB overcame the loss of two wickets in the first over of the match to post a competitive total of 181 for 6, which was then put into context by a supreme display of seam bowling from Josh Hazlewood, who picked off a wicket in each of his overs for figures of 4 for 25.

Though Super Giants challenged through a hard-hitting knock of 42 off 28 balls from Krunal Pandya, they lost wickets at all-too-frequent intervals, and when Marcus Stoinis fell in frustrated circumstances with 34 needed from the final two overs, their challenge fell away, despite two final-over sixes from Jason Holder.

Dushmantha Chameera was the first seamer of the evening to discover the joys of a lively surface. By the time the first over of the match was done, Chameera was on a hat-trick thanks to the early scalps of Anuj Rawat and Virat Kohli whose first-ball duck brought up perhaps the most unwanted century match of his career.

Since making 136 against Bangladesh in November 2019, Kohli has now played exactly 100 matches without adding to that tally of hundreds – 17 Tests, 21 ODIs, 25 T20Is and 37 IPL games. This time he arrived at the crease after five legal deliveries, in which Rawat – unusually charged with facing the first ball – had lumped a drive through the line for four before scuffing a fuller-length ball to a diving Rahul at mid-off. One ball later, a stunned silence enveloped the stadium, as Chameera dragged back a hard length, found a hint of away movement, and lured a loose glide to point as Kohli sought to put bat through ball from the outset, but succeeded only in taking his record for this year’s tournament to 119 runs at 19.83. With the score at 7 for 2, du Plessis at the other end had yet to face a ball.

Chief scores

Royal Challengers Bangalore 181 for 6 in 20 overs (Fuf du Plessis 96, Jason Holder 2-25, Dushmantha Chameera 2-31) beat

Lucknow Super Giants 163 for 8 in 20 overs (Krunal Pandya 42,Josh Hazlewood 4-25, Harshal Patel 2-47) by 18 runs

Thursday, April 21, 2022 – 01:00

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