ABU DHABI - Two days ago, Virat Kohli conceded Royal Challengers Bangalore blew a winning position against Kolkata Knight Riders. His side were forced into an encore of that performance by Rajasthan Royals this afternoon, minus the winning-position part. Within the first 14 deliveries of the match, they lost four wickets, including those of AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh. Just past the halfway stage of their innings, they lost their last realistic hope - Kohli. From 46 for 7, it was somewhat of an achievement to move past the lowest IPL total of 58, but there was no getting back in the game. Royal Challengers posted 70, the third-worst score in the IPL, and Royals completed the formalities for the loss of four wickets.
After Kohli was asked to bat, he said he would have done that anyway had he won the toss. What was to follow, however, wouldn't have figured even in his worst nightmare. This was a pitch with something for the bowlers. There was some seam and bounce, and also a bit of swing. But considering the kind of shots Royal Challengers played, they would have been in trouble on almost any surface.
A couple of dots in the opening over were enough for Yogesh Takawale to charge out and heave at Stuart Binny, only to edge a gentle outswinger to the keeper. Kohli walked in and took a wicket off his first ball. His call for a single following a push to off was so late Parthiv Patel, not the best of runners, had little chance of making it across.
Yuvraj Singh had a nervy seven-ball stay. He was beaten a couple of times by Tim Southee, and almost yorked himself. Then Kane Richardson trotted in and sent down a 129.6 kph outswinger. And Yuvraj promptly followed it and tickled it to second slip.
At 5 for 3, Royal Challengers had their best pair in the middle to combat the crisis. Instead, AB de Villiers played on first ball, attempting a half-hearted back-foot punch without having the width. Kohli needed someone to just last for a few overs. But that was asking for too much.
Three quiet overs later, Sachin Rana played on to Shane Watson in the same manner as de Villiers. Albie Morkel is used to coming in at the death to try and hit his big sixes, but even the Powerplay was not over yet this time. His second ball against spin, Morkel went for a big six, and holed out off a googly from Pravin Tambe.
Kohli must have surely been fuming inside, but the very next ball, he calmly swatted Tambe for four through extra cover. First ball of the next over, he stepped out and lifted Southee over mid-on. That was about as close as Royal Challengers were coming to a fightback. In Tambe's next over, Kohli received a half-tracker and pulled it straight to midwicket.
Mitchell Starc and Ravi Rampaul helped their side move past 58, before Tambe wrapped up the innings to end with 4 for 20, his best IPL figures. The RCB pair bowled their hearts out, but by the time Starc reduced Royals to 36 for 3, they were already more than half way to their target.

Scoreboard

BANGALORE:
P Patel run out    1
Y Takawale c Samson b Binny    0
V Kohli c Southee b Tambe    21
Yuvraj Singh c Smith b Richardson    3
AB de Villiers b Richardson    0
S Rana b Watson    3
J Morkel c Smith b Tambe    7
M Starc c Binny b Bhatia    18
R Rampaul c Southee b Tambe    13
A Dinda lbw b Tambe    0
Y Chahal not out    0
EXTRAS: (b1, lb2, w1)    4
TOTAL: (all out; 15 overs)    70
FOW: 1-1, 2-1, 3-5, 4-5, 5-17, 6-28, 7-46, 8-62, 9-70, 10-70
BOWLING: S Binny 1-0-1-1, T Southee 3-0-16-0, K Richardson 4-0-18-2, S Watson 2-1-5-1, P Tambe 4-0-20-4, R Bhatia 1-0-7-1
RAJASTHAN:
A Rahane c Patel b Starc    23
K Nair c Patel b Starc    8
S Samson run out    2
A Nayar not out    11
S Watson c de Villiers b Chahal    24
S Binny not out    0
EXTRAS: (lb1, w2)    3
TOTAL: (4 wkts; 13 overs)    71
FOW:  1-31, 2-35, 3-36, 4-68
BOWLING: M Starc 4-0-29-2, R Rampaul 4-0-16-0, Y Chahal 3-1-17-1, A Dinda 2-0-8-0
TOSS: Rajasthan
MAN OF MATCH: P Tambe
UMPIRES: HDharmasena (SL), C Shamshuddin (Ind)
TV UMPIRE: R Illingworth (Eng)
MATCH REFEREE: A Pycroft (Zim)
MATCH REFEREE: GF Labrooy (SL)