BANGALORE - Sandeep castled Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli off consecutive balls in the UAE, and on Friday he did an encore on the same two batsmen.

Like Pravin Tambe, Sandeep Sharma has made a habit of scalping big wickets for Kings XI Punjab. In Dubai during the first leg of IPL 7, Sandeep castled a rampaging Chris Gayle [4] and Virat Kohli [0] off consecutive balls, and on Friday night he did an encore on the same two batsmen to give his team the perfect start defending 198, and another wicket thereafter ensured Royal Challengers Bangalore stayed under the pump and ended up 32 short.

Sandeep ended with 3 for 25, taking his IPL 7 wicket tally to 13 impressed on a night billed as a battle of the big-hitters, and Shivam Sharma, an IPL debutant for KXIP, emerged as another player to watch out for by collecting 2 for 26, his offspinners accounting for Albie Morkel [16] and a woeful Yuvraj Singh [3].

On a wicket that proved to be slower than the usual Chinnaswamy surface, Kohli's decision to insert the opposition misfired at the outset. The Glenn Maxwell show threatened to make a stopover in Bangalore, but once the Australian departed for a typically quickfire 11-ball 25, caught at the midwicket boundary off Yuzvendra Chahal, David Miller took over by clobbering three sixes and eight fours in a whirlwind innings of 66 from just 29 balls. KXIP had put on 231 against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday, and the batting form of their batsmen carried them to 198 for 8 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday night.

RCB had lost half their side with only 50 on the board in reply, and the sheer weight of the target coupled by the continually rising asking rate proved too much for even the class of AB de Villiers, who produced a valiant 26-ball 53.

De Villiers' innings contained five hits over the fence, but once he fell after striking consecutive sixes off Laxmipathy Balaji, the game was all but over. Varun Aaron and Chahal played out the remaining overs, but another insipid batting display from a team packed with stalwarts will continue to confound even the harshest of critics.

RCB needed a rapid start to overhaul KXIP's 198 for 8, but fell behind the eight ball as soon as Sandeep struck with the first two balls of the third over. Gayle threw the kitchen sink at a regulation away-going delivery, only to edge behind the stumps before Kohli fell for his second first-ball duck to the medium-pacer, edging an innocuous ball down the leg side.

Yuvraj looked at bay against the turning ball, and after being beaten repeatedly he came charging down the track only to edge behind to Virender Sehwag at slip. Yuvraj had been held back till No 6 tonight, and his lack of confidence may prompt RCB to look into a batting position which is crucial in setting up finishes. Mitchell Starc entertained with 29 towards the end, but no RCB batsman other than de Villiers looked comfortable on a wicket KXIP posted almost 200.

The transition between Maxwell and Miller earlier hardly took time. Miller arrived at No 4, their places in the batting order interchanged, and Maxwell was going berserk against Yuvraj in the eighth over. Maxwell fell in the next over but Miller took over almost immediately, peppering the extra cover boundary with powerful drives. He finally fell trying the same shot off Varun Aaron but couldn't clear Chahal stationed inside the circle.

If at all, Miller's wicket allowed the RCB bowlers to pull back a little and what could have been a score upwards of 215 was restricted to 198. Harshal Patel, who removed Mandeep Singh and Wriddhiman Saha, went for 56 runs from his three overs on a night only Chahal returned respectable figures of 2 for 23.

Virat Kohli decided to make second use of the Bangalore surface which slowed down as the evening progressed, as was evidenced by the stray ball holding up when the spinners were on show. KXIP, however, got off to a flier courtesy Sehwag [30] and Mandeep Singh [21] as the openers added 60 inside the batting Powerplay.

Mandeep's wicket came against the run of play, but Harshal's first over was wayward and went for 19 despite the breakthrough. Maxwell came and took on the bowlers immediately, but Sehwag's dismissal - out for his fifth 30-plus knock in the tournament - and Maxwell's soon after pegged them back somewhat. George Bailey never looked comfortable, but Miller's innings kept up the tempo, setting up KXIP's seventh win of the competition.



V Sehwag c Kohli b Chahal    30

Mandeep Singh c Morkel b H Patel    21

G Maxwell c Starc b Chahal    25

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D Miller c Chahal b Aaron    66

G Bailey c P Patel b Morkel    1

W Saha c de Villiers b H Patel    17

M Johnson not out    16

A Patel b Starc    2

Shivam Sharma b Starc    4

L Balaji not out    1

EXTRAS: (lb2, w11, nb2)    15

TOTAL: (8 wkts; 20 overs)    198

FOW: 1-60, 2-68, 3-93, 4-116, 5-170, 6-184, 7-189, 8-193

BOWLING: M Starc 4-0-43-2, J Morkel 4-0-20-1, V Aaron 4-0-35-1, H Patel 3-0-56-2, Y Chahal 4-0-23-2, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-19-0


C Gayle c Saha b Sandeep    4

P Patel c Mandeep b Sandeep    13

V Kohli c Saha b Sandeep    0

S Rana b Patel    18

AB de Villiers c Patel b Balaji    53

Yuvraj Singh c Sehwag b Shivam    3

J Morkel c Bailey b Shivam    16

M Starc c Miller b Balaji    29

H Patel c Saha b Johnson    6

V Aaron not out    17

Y Chahal not out    1

EXTRAS: (lb1, w4, nb1)    6

TOTAL: (9 wkts; 20 overs)    166

FOW: 1-8, 2-8, 3-26, 4-39, 5-50, 6-76, 7-125, 8-133, 9-153

BOWLING: Sandeep Sharma 4-0-25-3, M Johnson 4-0-25-1, L Balaji 3-0-43-2, A Patel 4-0-22-1, Shivam Sharma 4-0-26-2, G Maxwell 1-0-24-0

TOSS: Bangalore

UMPIRES: S Ravi, K Srinath

TV UMPIRE: K Srinivasan