Leading from the front, skipper Virat Kohli (54 not out) smashed yet another half-century to guide his Royal Challengers Bangalore to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Sunday.
With the win, RCB climbed to second spot in points table with 16 points from 14 games and thus qualify for play-offs. They will now face Gujarat Lions in the first Qualifier 1 on May 24 in Bengaluru.
Batting first, riding on Quinton de Kock’s 52-ball 60, Delhi managed to post 138/8 in 20 overs but RCB easily chased down the target, posting 139/4 with 11 balls to spare.
Delhi’s IPL campaign ended here as they were knocked out of last four berth.
RCB got off to a poor start losing swashbuckling opener Chris Gayle (1) in the very first over itself.
Bangalore received yet another blow as Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan who returned for his second over dismissed the dangerous A.B. de Villiers (6) in the third over to have RCB on the back foot at 17/2.
But Bangalore skipper Kohli who has been in stupendous form this season played his natural game along with incoming batsman K.L. Rahul (38) and the right-handed duo added crucial 66-run partnership for the third wicket.
As Rahul was nearing yet another half-century, Carlos Brathwaite came in and dismissed the right-hander off his first ball to have RCB reduced to 83/3 in 11th over.
Despite wickets at the other end, Kohli played sensibly sneaking in with ones, twos and couple of boundaries to stay in course for the run chase.
Shane Watson (14) stay at the crease was also short-lived as he was dismissed in the 15th over to put Delhi back into the game.
But Kohli used his experience to best effect to guide his team over the line in style. He was well supported in the end by Stuart Binny (16 not out)
For Delhi, Zaheer, Morris, Brathwaite, and Pawan Negi claimed one wicket each.
Earlier put into bat, Delhi lost Rishabh Pant (1) in the second over with the score at 11.
Pant tried to punch on the up a delivery from pacer Sreenath Aravind, but the ball held its line and flicked the outside edge of his bat and be caught behind.
De Kock together with No.3 batsman Karun Nair then put up a brief partnership.
But Nair (11) was dismissed after getting a promising start, superbly caught by Kohli off leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Nair played a booming drive to a flighted delivery. But Kohli completed a catch after sprinting a fair distance to reduce Delhi to 42/2 in the sixth over.
Sanju Samson (17) was the next man in and he too promised a lot. Hitting a six and a four to get settled but he lost his wicket in the 10th over with his team at 71/3.
They were in more trouble when Sam Billings (4) went cheaply as Gayle took a sharp catch of the bowling of pacer Chris Jordan.
Losing wickets after building small partnerships was hurting Delhi’s cause though de Kock held firm. But at 81/4 in 11.2 overs, Delhi needed someone beside de Kock who brought up his fifty in the 14th over with a single.
That didn’t happen. Instead, Delhi slipped further losing Negi (6) and Brathwaite (1) in the 15th over by Chris Gayle.
To make matters worse, de Kock went back in the next over, bowled by Jordan after hitting five fours and a six during his 52-ball knock.
That deprived Delhi of a strong finish to their innings, though Morris provided some lusty blows.
Leg spinner Chahal claimed 3/32 off his four overs while Gayle chipped in with 2/11 in two overs.
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 138/8 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 60; Yuzvendra Chahal 3-32, Chris Gayle 2-11) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 139/4 in 18.1 overs (Virat Kohli 54 not out; Carlos Brathwaite 1-18)