The Royal Challengers Bangalore will be kicking themselves after failing to grasp a glorious chance to firm their grip on an IPL 2015 playoff spot, with the Kings XI Punjab giving their fans in Mohali something to smile about, finally.
Down and out they might be, but KXIP produced a solid all-round effort to topple RCB by 22 runs, after the IPL 2015 match had been reduced to 10 overs a side following a near-three-hour rain delay.
Put into bat first, KXIP put up 107/6 on the board, thanks largely to a blazing start from Wriddhiman Saha, before their bowlers stopped the near-unstoppable trio of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers in their tracks to keep RCB to just 84/6.
Kings XI Punjab got off to a roaring start courtesy Saha (31, 12b, 5x4, 1x6), with the wicketkeeper/batsman smashing Mitchell Starc and Srinath Aravind in the first couple of overs. Saha, though, could not carry on the momentum as David Wiese started the RCB-pulling-things back with an excellent third over.
Despite rushing to 34/0 in the first couple of overs, Kings XI just could not keep their foot floored on the accelerator, with Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and George Bailey all falling after hitting a couple of big shots.
From 34 for no loss in 12 balls, the next 48 yielded only 73 runs, with KXIP also losing six wickets in the process, two of them to the outstanding Harshal Patel, who finished with figures of 2-0-12-2 – gold in a T10 game.
That meant RCB were the favourites to chase down the total, especially with Gayle, Virat Kohli and De Villiers in terrific form.
Gayle started the innings off with a six and a four off Sandeep Sharma in the first over, before Kohli took over, hitting Anureet Singh for 17 runs in the third over. However, Anureet would have the last laugh, off the last ball of the over, as Kohli (19, 9b, 2x4, 1x6), looking for another boundary, played one on to his leg-stump.
With Gayle and De Villiers, two batsmen who have scored centuries in the last couple of matches, at the crease, the match was still very much RCB's to win, even if those odds skewed a little more in favour of KXIP, after Sandeep got Gayle (17, 14b, 1x4, 1x6) out in the fifth over.
Still, it was RCB's match to lose with De Villiers, easily the best batsman in the world, in the middle and a couple of crisp strokes only strengthened that "ABD is going to cruise RCB to a win here" feeling.
With four overs to go, RCB needed 46 runs – easy in AB De Villiers terms, with the dangerous Mandeep Singh, who has already won his side a ten-over game this season, also looking in control.
However, those twists would not end as De Villiers (10, 9b, 1x4), the man who scored a ridiculous century against the Mumbai Indians in the last match, fell off a top-edge to Axar Patel in over number seven. After De Villiers' wicket, the momentum was sapped out completely by some good KXIP bowling, and just like that RCB's opportunity to go up to second in the table was gone.