Rajasthan Royals returned to winning ways in the Indian Premier League, producing a stunning late onslaught to down the Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets in Dubai. 

The Royals appeared in danger of suffering a fifth straight loss when, replying to Hyderabad's total of 158-4, they were left needing 54 from the final four overs in their run chase. 

However, Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag combined to see their team home with a delivery to spare, the latter sealing victory with a towering six over cover. 

Tewatia, though, had crucially gone after Hyderabad's key bowler in Rashid Khan, the leg-spinner's final over - the 18th of the innings - leaking 14, as he smashed 45 off 28 deliveries.  

Parag finished up unbeaten on 42 from 26 as an unbroken stand worth 85 covered for the failures of the big names at the top of the order, including the returning Ben Stokes. 

The England all-rounder had earlier sent down just a solitary over as the Sunrisers set a competitive target thanks to contributions from captain David Warner (48) and Manish Pandey, who made 54. 
 

STOKES BACK, BUT ARCHER HITS THE SPOT 

It was a low-key comeback to cricket for Stokes. Having not played since August for family reasons, he made six from five balls as an opener for the Royals when batting alongside Jos Buttler (16).

Instead, it was Jofra Archer who was the top-performing England player in action. He bowled a seriously quick over up front to international team-mate Jonny Bairstow, then returned later in the innings to emphatically clean up Warner as the Sunrisers skipper looked to cut loose. 

TEWATIA TURNS THE TABLES 

It seemed the Sunrisers were set to prevail having knocked over the Royals' top order cheaply, including running out Steve Smith for five. 

Yet Tewatia had other ideas, particularly when it came the pivotal over from Rashid. Having gone for just 12 from his previous three, the Afghanistan bowler was the subject of two outrageous reverse sweeps, both of which went to the boundary. 

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and West Indies spinner Sunil Narine has once again been reported for a suspect action, following the team’s triumph over Chris Gayle’s Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.

Narine ended with 2 wickets for 28 runs as KKR defended a par score of 164 to register their second win in a row and climb up to third position on the points table.  The bowler artfully defended 14 runs off the final over to help his team stun KXIP by 2 runs.  Following the match, however, an IPL release confirmed that the player’s bowling action was once again under scrutiny.

"Sunil Narine, the Kolkata Knight Riders player, has been reported for bowling with a Suspected Illegal Bowling Action during his side’s Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 match against Kings XI Punjab at Abu Dhabi,” the release stated.

"The report was made by the on-field umpires according to the IPL’s Suspected Illegal Bowling Action Policy. Mr. Narine will be placed on the Warning List and is permitted to continue to bowl in the tournament,” it continued.

"Another report will result in Mr. Narine being suspended from bowling in the Dream11 IPL 2020 until cleared by the BCCI Suspect Bowling Action Committee."

Narine's bowling action was previously reported for the same offense in 2015 and was banned from bowling off-spinners in that season and even missed the 50-over World Cup for the West Indies to work on his action.

Virat Kohli produced another super Saturday match-winning effort as Royal Challengers Bangalore crushed Chennai Super Kings in Dubai.

Seven days after Kohli's unbeaten 72 saw Bangalore pull off an eight-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals, the captain was at it again as his 90 not out paved the way for a 37-run win.

His 52-ball heroics came in a team effort of 169-4, and Chennai could only splutter 132-8 in response, with Chris Morris taking 3-19 and snagging a run out.

It gave the Royal Challengers a fourth win in six games in the Indian Premier League this season, a record only beaten at this stage by Delhi Capitals.

Between last Saturday's success and their latest win, Bangalore slumped to a disappointing defeat to Delhi, albeit with Kohli making a team-best 43, and the India captain was at his magnificent best again on this occasion.

From 103-4 at the end of the 16th over, Royal Challengers Bangalore drastically stepped up the run rate, with 66 runs coming from those closing four overs as Kohli pushed the accelerator.

He and Shivam Dube took the fight to Chennai, riding their luck at times but also producing an array of the spectacular.

Sam Curran struck unlucky from the first ball of the 18th over when he almost had Dube caught at long-off, only for Narayan Jagadeesan to drop the ball over the boundary.

That was the first of three sixes from the English paceman's over, which cost 24 runs and gave Bangalore all the impetus they needed.

Chennai's reply was steady until it called for a big push in the final six overs, which they began with eight wickets in hand and 81 runs required.

Morris made a vital breakthrough when he threw down the stumps as Jagadeesan looked for a quick single, and the South African then removed Curran, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo, snuffing out Chennai hopes.

Jagadeesan the jogger

It would have been perhaps the slowest of quick singles if Jagadeesan had got home for Chennai, but of course Morris had other ideas as the third wicket fell.

The 24-year-old had made a handy 33 at a healthy enough clip when he prodded away a delivery from Navdeep Saini and looked to add an extra single, but it looked unlikely from the off, and Morris was lethal with his execution of the throw at the stumps. Jagadeesan was nowhere near making his ground, replays showing him merely jogging towards the non-striker's end.

Kohli gets better of Dhoni

While his captaincy counterpart MS Dhoni was caught at long-off for just 10 in the midst of Chennai's collapse, Kohli was terrific, and the decision to replace Moeen Ali with Morris also proved a masterstroke.

Kohli has found his stride after a slow start to this IPL campaign, and Bangalore will hope the man with the most runs in the history of this competition can carry on leading them with such great fervour.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Sunil Narine unfurled a miserly spell of death bowling as they edged out IPL strugglers Kings XI Punjab by just two runs in the Indian Premier League.

In the end, Glenn Maxwell agonisingly missed out on a six that would have forced a Super Over. 

Kings XI had looked to be cruising towards a target of 165 but, just as they did in their previous match with Chennai Super Kings, some excellent death bowling turned the tide in Kolkata’s favour. 

It left Maxwell needing a six off the final ball to prolong a see-saw contest and while he lofted a ball high over cover, it dropped just shy of the rope for four in a remarkable finish. 

The Knight Riders have eight points from their six matches while Kings XI have just one win from seven outings. 

A 29-ball 58 from captain Dinesh Karthik helped Kolkata post a useful target, Shubman Gill (57 off 47) also providing a valuable half-century. 

It appeared as if their efforts would be in vain, as KL Rahul (74) and Mayank Agarwal (56) combined for a first-wicket stand of 115. 

Even when Agarwal eventually fell to Prasidh Krishna (3-29) there appeared little sign of a turnaround, Nicholas Pooran coming to the crease after a sparkling 77 against Sunrisers Hyderabad last time out. 

However, the game turned when Pooran was undone by a slower ball from fellow West Indian Narine, departing for 16 as Kings XI stuttered badly as the pressure mounted.  With 14 required off the final over, KKR opted for Narine and he conceded 11 runs to win the match for his side. 
 

FELL APART TO THE SEAMERS 

The excellent Prasidh utilised an off-cutter to dismiss Prabhsimran Singh (4), then drew an inside edge from Rahul to leave Kings XI needing 14 off the final over. 

When Mandeep Singh holed out from the penultimate delivery, it was left to Maxwell to rescue Kings XI. Despite his best efforts in attacking a wide outside-off delivery, his shot did not have the power to get over the line. 

KNIGHT RIDERS STUTTER 

Kolkata struggled for momentum in the first half of their innings after opting to bat first, slipping to 63-3 in the 11th over when Eoin Morgan departed for 24. 

However, skipper Karthik raised the tempo as he combined with Gill to put on 82 for the fourth wicket. The former was run out from the final ball of the 20th over, having hit eight fours and two sixes.

A superb bowling display helped the Delhi Capitals earn a 46-run win over the Rajasthan Royals and move top of the Indian Premier League table on Friday. 

Shimron Hetmyer's electric 45 off 24 balls and 39 from Marcus Stoinis was crucial in the Capitals' innings of 184-8, having been 79-4.

Andrew Tye's penultimate over went for 23, with a slip resulting in five runs when his no-ball raced to the ropes and the following free hit dispatched for six by Harshal Patel.

The Royals' chase fell apart when Yashasvi Jaiswal (34), Jos Buttler (13) and Steve Smith (24) could not build on starts, with Rahul Tewatia's 38 only prolonging the inevitable before they were all out for 138.

Each of the Capitals' bowlers claimed at least one wicket, with Kagiso Rabada (3-35), Ravichandran Ashwin (2-22) and Stoinis (2-17) all doing damage.

The Capitals are now top having won five of their six matches, while the Royals are languishing in seventh after the defeat in Sharjah. 


HETMYER BRINGS THE HEAT

Hetmyer has not always had the opportunity in this season's IPL due to the Capitals' strength before him in the batting line-up.

But with five sixes and a four in his blistering knock, the West Indies batsman played a big hand for Delhi in the middle order.


MORE ASHWIN WOE FOR BUTTLER

Last season Buttler was controversially subjected to a Mankad by Ashwin and the same bowler accounted for the England star's wicket again.

There was no controversy on this occasion, as Buttler went for the big hit over long-on but could only pick out Shikhar Dhawan at square leg.

Jonny Bairstow fell three shy of an Indian Premier League century before Rashid Khan claimed three wickets as Sunrisers Hyderabad thrashed Kings XI Punjab by 69 runs.

An opening stand of 160 between David Warner (52) and Bairstow (97) put Sunrisers firmly in control, though they would have been slightly disappointed to finish on 201-6 given the platform laid for them.

Kings XI required something special if they were to chase down 202 and a 17-ball half-century from Nicholas Pooran (77) certainly gave them hope.

However, he was one of three victims for Rashid (3-12), whose stingy four-over spell proved pivotal as bottom side Kings XI collapsed to be dismissed for 132 inside 17 overs.

There were five wides in the first over of the match, setting the tone for an innings that was only slightly rescued from a Kings XI perspective by Ravi Bishnoi (3-29) and Arshdeep Singh (2-33), as Sunrisers scored only five boundaries in the last 38 balls.

Kings XI were three down inside seven overs, the dangerous KL Rahul - the leading run-scorer in this IPL - falling for 11, but Pooran's brutal hitting ensured Sunrisers were far from home and hosed.

However, Kings XI slumped from 105-3 to 132 all out, with Sunrisers claiming a win that moved them up to third in the table.

 

BAIRSTOW OUTSHINES MILESTONE MAN WARNER

Warner hit five boundaries from his first 14 balls and went on to make his 50th IPL half-century.

However, it was opening partner Bairstow's boundary-laden knock that really caught the eye, the England batsman smashing seven fours and six maximums in a fine effort.

POORAN HITS TARGET

West Indian Pooran scored the fastest half-century of this IPL by bringing up the milestone in just 17 deliveries.

Prior to the tournament he said making the most rapid 50 was on his agenda, and boy did he deliver as he smashed Abdul Samad for three sixes and a four to get there.

Pooran also has three of the five biggest sixes in this edition of the IPL - all over 100 metres.

All-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell bounced back with the ball to spearhead Kolkata Knight Riders' 10-run win over Chennai Super Kings in a low-scoring Indian Premier League encounter.

Narine, who has struggled with the bat throughout this IPL, and fellow West Indian Russell were two of those who failed to deliver as Kolkata were bowled out in 20 overs for 167, a total that owed much to Rahul Tripathi's 81 as he repaid the decision to promote him to open.

Chennai were confident of chasing their modest target when Shane Watson (50) and Ambati Rayudu (30) made 69 for the second wicket.

However, some brilliant death bowling from Narine (1-31) and Russell (1-18) meant the Super Kings came up short with 157-5.

Kolkata were indebted to Tripathi's 51-ball knock, which included eight fours and three sixes, as their star-studded middle order for once failed to show up.

Narine, who had been opening, was dropped down to four but could only make 17, while Eoin Morgan (7) and Russell (2) had rare off-days as Dwayne Bravo (3-37) led the Super Kings' fine bowling display.

There was then a boundary in each of Chennai's first 10 overs and they were coasting when requiring 69 off the final 48 balls with nine wickets in hand.

Yet Narine - who bowled overs 12, 14, 16 and 19 - applied the handbrake, along with Russell, whose two-over figures would have look much better had Ravindra Jadeja not struck the final three balls of the innings for an ultimately frivolous 14.

 

BATTING SHAKE-UP PAYS OFF FOR KNIGHT RIDERS

Kolkata's problems in the early stages of the tournament were due to a lack of big scores, with top scorer Shubman Gill down in 13th in the IPL for runs.

However, Tripathi hit their highest individual score in their five games so far, and boy was it needed given the rest of the order's struggles.

 

BOUNDARY DROUGHT COSTS SUPER KINGS

At 90-1 at the halfway point, Chennai were cruising and required only 78 from 60.

However, they failed to find or clear the ropes across the next 33 deliveries and were then left needing 55 off 27. It was that barren patch in the middle of their reply that ultimately proved their undoing.

Kings XI Punjab batting coach, Wasim Jaffer,  has assured fans they will see West Indies batting legend Chris Gayle soon and insists the player is hungry to make his debut in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 41-year-old T20 superstar is yet to make an appearance for Kings XI who are off to a slow start to the IPL season.  After 5 games, the team sits at the bottom of the table with just one win and four losses.  The team has, however, so far not necessarily struggled with batting, having scored over 200 in two of the five games.

Jaffer, however, believes that Gayle’s match-winning capabilities could yet help the team turn their poor form around.

“It should happen soon. As I said, it needs to happen sooner than later. We don’t want to bring them when every game is a must-win game. Hopefully, we will have those guys featuring soon,” Jaffer told news agency Press Trust of India from Dubai.

“Chris looks very much ready and is keen to get on to the park, he has been training really well and has looked really good in the nets,” Wasim Jaffer said.

“He is such an impact player, we all know what he can do. I hope he turns up and turns it on straight away and changes the tide for all of us. He looks hungry and that is a very good sign for the franchise,” he added.

“I am hoping he plays quickly. We need match-winners, as many as possible. Not just for the next game, also for the rest of the tournament as he can easily win you four-five games on his own,” he further said.

Mumbai Indians won a third straight match and moved top of the Indian Premier League as they recorded a 57-run win over slumping Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.

Suryakumar Yadav scored 79 not out from 47 balls as the Indians, who won the toss and elected to bat, set a strong total of 193-4 in Abu Dhabi.

Jos Buttler smashed 70 from 44 deliveries in response but he lacked meaningful support from any of his Royals team-mates, who will be eagerly anticipating the availability of Ben Stokes once his period of quarantine in the United Arab Emirates is over.

Jasprit Bumrah starred for the Indians with bowling figures of 4-20 – his best in the IPL – to ensure his team moved above the Delhi Capitals at the summit and condemned the Royals, who had won their first two matches, to a third consecutive defeat as they were bowled out for 136.
 

YADAV GOES BIG

After opener Quinton de Kock fell to IPL debutant Kartik Tyagi, Mumbai looked like they could be in trouble in their middle overs when Shreyas Gopal (2-28) removed Rohit Sharma (35) and Ishan Kishan (0) with successive deliveries.

Krunal Pandya went to Jofra Archer for 12 but Yadav pushed the Indians forward, bringing up his fifty with a four off Tom Curran.

Yadav established an unbeaten partnership worth 76 runs with Hardik Pandya (30 off 19) and finished with 11 fours and a pair of maximums for his highest IPL score.

POLLARD DENIES BRILLIANT BUTTLER

The Royals' hopes of being competitive were effectively dashed inside their opening three overs as they lost Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson to Trent Boult for ducks either side of Steve Smith swiping Bumrah to De Kock.

Rajasthan were in poor shape at 12-3 – the third game in a row they have been three down inside seven overs – but Buttler launched five maximums and found the rope four more times to give them hope.

However, a stunning catch from Kieron Pollard, who adjusted well in the deep after Buttler's shot initially hit his forearm, ended the wicketkeeper-batsman's electric knock.

Bumrah capped a commanding display from the Indians by dismissing Rahul Tewatia (5) and Gopal (1) in the same over before accounting for Archer at the end of his next set of six.

Delhi Capitals moved clear at the top of the Indian Premier League table courtesy of a resounding 59-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

A strong batting performance that benefited from a late onslaught by the big-hitting Marcus Stoinis powered Delhi to 196-4 after they had been put into bat by Virat Kohli.

Prithvi Shaw (42) was the aggressor in an opening stand worth 68 with Shikhar Dhawan, who contributed a more sedate 32 to the cause before departing in the 10th over. 

Rishabh Pant made 37 but it was Stoinis who stole the show in the closing overs, the Australian all-rounder blasting six fours and a pair of sixes as he made an unbeaten 53.

Bangalore's reply simply never recovered after a poor start that saw them slip to 43-3, AB de Villiers among those to fall early. 

Captain Kohli top-scored with 43 before becoming one of four wickets for the excellent Kagiso Rabada, who now has 12 in this year's tournament at an average of 12.50. 

There were two wickets apiece for Anrich Nortje and Axar Patel too, the Royal Challengers eventually finishing well shy on 137-9 from their 20 overs. 

STOINIS STUNS ROYAL CHALLENGERS 

Stoinis had endured a lean spell since starting the new IPL season with 53 against Kings XI Punjab in Delhi's opener.  

He had managed just 16 runs in three knocks since but was back to his destructive best against Bangalore, reaching his half-century off 24 deliveries as he added 89 for the third wicket with Pant.

FINCH SPARED DESPITE R-ASH MOVE

In 2019, Ravichandran Ashwin caused a stir when, as captain of Kings XI, he ran out Rajathan Royals' Jos Buttler at the non-striker's end, the batsman having left his crease before the ball had been delivered.

There was nearly a repeat when Ashwin had a similar situation with Aaron Finch here, but the India spinner opted instead to produce a stare at the out-of-position Bangalore batsman, followed quickly by a wry smile. 

Chennai Super Kings kick-started their 2020 Indian Premier League season on Sunday, as a record-breaking partnership from Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson secured an emphatic 10-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab. 

Kings XI enjoyed a reasonably strong start, but ultimately their total of 178-4 was nowhere near enough to put off Du Plessis and Watson, who set a new franchise record for the highest ever partnership, as they finished on 181-0. 

Chennai had suffered three successive defeats heading into the match and their opponents – led by KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal – gave every indication that it could be another tough outing. 

However, they failed to build on the early promise and a late burst never arrived, as captain Rahul edged behind for 63 straight after Nicholas Pooran – whose 33 off 17 indicated a little more urgency – was dismissed in the same Shardul Thakur over. 

While a little slow to get going, Du Plessis (87 not out) found his groove and toyed with Chris Jordan, hitting him for four fours in the space of five balls. 

Watson, who finished up unbeaten on 83, was clearly in the mood too, reaching his half-century in 31 balls – two quicker than his partner – as the Kings XI attack had no answer. 

Their 181-run alliance makes it the second-highest target chased down without losing a wicket in IPL history, with the Kings XI replacing them at the foot of the table.

AN EMPHATIC RESPONSE FROM WATSON 

Watson and Du Plessis were deadly here, swatting away all the Kings XI bowlers could throw at them, and they secured the handsome victory with 14 balls to spare. 

It was a particularly applaudable performance from Watson, whose four previous innings (1, 14, 33 and 4) had attracted criticism – there will be none of that here. 

"I felt like something that been slightly off, technically," he said in the post-match presentation ceremony. "So, it was nice for it to come off. It was just a combination of technique and intent. I was able to get the weight through the ball a lot better." 

ANOTHER DIFFICULT DAY 

It has been a poor start for Kings XI, who are left bottom of the IPL having lost four of five matches, and it is arguable that they paid the price for failing to push on in the second half of their innings. 

Rahul was 46 off 44 in the 15th over, and while the partnership of Watson and Du Plessis would have made it a tall order to get the better of the Super Kings anyway, a more aggressive mentality might have made the difference. 

Defending champions Mumbai Indians were clinical with both bat and ball as Sunrisers Hyderabad fell well short in a 34-run defeat in Sunday's Indian Premier League match. 

Quinton de Kock smashed 67 off 39 balls and a 78-run stand with Ishan Kishan (31) was fundamental in building the foundations for Mumbai's score of 208-5. 

Krunal Pandya's explosion in the final over, during which he battered Siddarth Kaul for 20 from four balls, helped Mumbai get to that tally, which seemed to be above par on a slow pitch. 

David Warner made a pedestrian start, though he picked up the pace to at least gave Sunrisers a fighting chance until his knock was ended on 60, departing in the 16th over to effectively end their hopes. 

There was little help in a disappointing middle-order showing, with pace trio James Pattinson (2-29), Trent Boult (2-28) and Jasprit Bumrah (2-41) doing the damage for Mumbai, who restricted Sunrisers to 174-7. 

Victory means Mumbai now have three wins and two defeats from five games to move top of the table, while a third loss for Sunrisers leaves them sixth.

 

QUINTON DE KOCK OF THE WALK 

Rohit Sharma (6) lasted just five deliveries but De Kock and Suryakumar Yadav (27) put on 42 before the big stand with Kishan boosted Mumbai. 

De Kock, who hit four fours and as many sixes, was the protagonist of the partnership, contributing 54 of the 78 runs. 

LACK OF SUPPORT FOR WARNER 

Pandya may have rued putting down Manish Pandey with a sitter at deep point when he went on to put on a 60-run partnership with Warner. 

But when Pandey clumsily chipped Pattinson to long off, Warner – who had five fours and two sixes in his 44-ball knock – was not helped by Kane Williamson (3) or Priyam Garg (8). 

When Warner got a thick edge to a slower one from Pattinson that was taken with a superb diving catch by Kishan at short third man, the game was up. 

Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer led the way as Delhi Capitals moved to the top of the Indian Premier League table with an 18-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders. 

The Capitals posted 228-4 - the highest total of this year's IPL - as Shaw (66) and Ayer (88 not out) shone at the top of the order before Rishabh Pant chipped in with a 17-ball 38. 

Kolkata would surpass 200 too as both teams reached that landmark total for a third successive game in Sharjah, Eoin Morgan (44) and Rahul Tripathi (36) smashing 47 runs from the 17th and 18th overs. 

However, the Knight Riders would come up short in making 210-8 as Anrich Nortje (3-33) helped the Capitals make it three wins from four.

Delhi had three half-century partnerships at the start of their innings and Iyer, who crashed six maximums and seven fours, and Pant did most of the damage as the Capitals accumulated 77 runs in the final five overs. 

The Knight Riders were well short at the halfway point of their reply at 94-3 and they lost Nitish Rana (58) and captain Dinesh Karthik in back-to-back balls to Harshal Patel in the 13th over. 

A rapid 44 off 18 deliveries from England's limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan raised their hopes, but he fell in the penultimate over to Nortje, who gave up just five runs across those six balls, leaving Kolkata with too much to do.

 

LEAN RETURNS FOR NARINE 

Kolkata have won two of their opening four games, but no one has struggled for them more than opener Sunil Narine. Bowled by Nortje for three here, meaning he has made just a combined 27 runs in four innings at the tournament. 

"We will discuss Narine's role with the coaches, but I have got full confidence in Narine," Karthik said afterwards. 

NORTJE COMES TO RABADA'S RESCUE 

Kagiso Rabada is the joint-leading wicket-taker in this edition of the IPL with eight victims, but he had a hard time against Morgan, who smashed the South African paceman for three successive sixes at the start of the 18th over, a pair of short balls and an attempted yorker getting the treatment. 

Fortunately for Rabada, compatriot Nortje removed Morgan in the next over to kill off the Knight Riders' hopes. 

West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell expressed delight at being able to recover from a stumble to start the current Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, and backs his team Kings XI Punjab to do the same.

The KL Rahul-led franchise, which also features Chris Gayle, has had a tough start to the new season after winning only one of their first four matches.  In the last fixture, a 48-run loss to Mumbai Indians, Rahul raised eyebrows with his death bowling selection.  Rahul chose K Gowtham to bowl the last over against Mumbai, with the in-form Cottrell left to watch.

Gowtham gave away 25 runs, one of the reasons the Rohit Sharma-led side managed to post a hefty total.

Cottrell had earlier claimed the wicket of Quinton de Kock and conceded just 20 runs in his four overs.  The fast bowler had recovered from a tough outing against Rajasthan Royals',  where Rahul Tewatia smashed 5 sixes off one of his overs during a record run chase. 

Despite the circumstances, Cottrell, however, insisted he remained confident in Rahul’s decisions.

"Honestly, I back my skipper (KL Rahul) 110%. Whatever his decision is, I'm going to back it. It was a decision he felt was best for the team. It didn't work today (Thursday), unfortunately, but on another day I'm sure it will work," Cottrell said.

As for the tough outing against RR, the bowler insisted he never lost confidence and backed the team, to much like he has, recover from a slow start.

"My comeback was excellent. My confidence was always there. But I wish my bowling effort could have helped Kings XI cross the line. I'm feeling pleased about my performance," he added.

"I have been working hard on death bowling, and so have my bowling partners. We're getting there and we've been learning from our mistakes and practising it on the training grounds. I'm sure we're going to pull it off very soon. I wouldn't say worrying, it's just a matter of time for us.”

Virat Kohli ended his barren spell, while Devdutt Padikkal and Yuzvendra Chahal excelled again as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets to go top of the Indian Premier League.

Purple cap holder Chahal took 3-24 to restrict the Royals to 154-6 after Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat first in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Isuru Udana claimed 2-41, including the early dismissal of Smith, and Rajasthan needed a late flurry of runs from Mahipal Lomror (47) and Rahul Tewatia (24 not out) to post over 150.

That was not enough to prevent RCB from taking over at the summit as a second-wicket stand of 99 from Padikkal and Kohli set up an emphatic win at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

In-form 20-year-old opener Padikkal (63 off 45 balls) made his third half-century of the tournament and Kohli registered his first after failing in his previous three knocks.

Kohli finished unbeaten on 72 from 53 deliveries as his side secured a third victory out of four, the captain having given himself a lift by hitting the winning runs in a Super Over win over Mumbai Indians last time out.

The Royals are sixth with two wins and as many defeats, but they are set to be boosted by the arrival of England all-rounder Ben Stokes.

 

CHAHAL PURPLE PATCH CONTINUES

Chahal has made an outstanding start to the tournament and played a key role again after Smith and Jos Buttler were dismissed by Udana and Navdeep Saini respectively.

The tweaker struck with his first ball, with Sanju Samson caught and bowled, and the Royals were 70-4 halfway through their innings when Robin Uthappa holed out attempting to launch Chahal for six.

Lomror also fell to the wily Chahal, who applied the pressure with 10 dot balls as he joined Mohammed Shami on eight wickets in the tournament.

 

PADIKKAL ON A ROLL, KOHLI COMES GOOD

Padikkal has been a revelation for RCB at the top of the order and is now the fourth-highest run scorer in the tournament.

The young left-hander showed exquisite timing to dispatch Jaydev Unadkat for six over square leg and found the rope six times in another classy innings.

Much of the talk ahead of the match was over Kohli's lack of runs, but it was only a matter of time before the India captain delivered.

He brought up his 50 off 41 balls after being dropped by Tewatia, hitting two sixes and seven fours in a high-quality knock before AB de Villiers punched Sam Curran for four to seal victory.

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