Mohali: A valiant effort from Murali Vijay went in vain as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) sneaked past Kings XI Punjab by one run in a nail-biting league encounter of the Indian Premier League at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here on May 9.
Chasing 175, Vijay led from the front with a brilliant 57-ball 89 supported by an unbeaten 34 from Marcus Stoinis, only to his team to fall short by a run.
Vijay, who opened the innings with Hashim Amla, put on 45 runs for the first wicket as the teamraced to 50 in the powerplay.
Amla, who survived a run-out scare on 19, failed to make the opportunity count as Shane Watson sent the South African packing with a short ball which he mistimed to be caught by Stuart Binny at midwicket. His 20-ball 21 included two boundaries.
Wriddhiman Saha (16), along with Vijay added 43 runs for the second wicket only to be run out by keeper Lokesh Rahul and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal then struck the very next ball to dismiss South African power-hitter David Miller, who failed to disturb the scoreboard.
Stoinis, the architect of Punjab’s previous match’s win against Delhi Daredevils, then joined the skipper, who had completed his half-century of 36 balls, and then went on a spree.
Sensing danger, RCB skipper Virat Kohli employed his old war horse Watson for another spell and the veteran Aussie responded with the much-needed wicket which proved to be the turning point.
Cramped for runs, the Tamil Nadu opener, in his attempt to break the shackles, pulled a short ball from wide of off stump only to be caught by Chahal at the square leg boundary.
Vijay, who added 51 runs with Stoinis for the fourth wicket, consumed 57 balls for his knock, which was laced with 12 boundaries and a six.
With 16 needed off the last over, South African Farhaan Behardien and Stoinis could only add 15.
For the visitors, Watson was the pick of the bowlers with two scalps while Chahal picked one.
Earlier, South African smasher A.B. de Villiers hit a crucially-timed knock of 64 runs to guide RCB to a healthy 175/6.
He was helped in his efforts by Sachin Baby (33 off 29 balls) as they added 88 runs for the fourth wicket.
Brief scores: RCB 175/6 (A.B. de Villiers 64, Sachin Baby 33, K.C. Cariappa 2/16, Sandeep Sharma 2/49) beat Kings XI Punjab 174/4 (Murali Vijay 89, Marcus Stoinis 34, Shane Watson 2/22) by 1 run. (Agencies)