NAVI MUMBAI: Royal Challengers Bangalore rode on skipper Faf du Plessis' breezy 96 and Josh Hazlewood's brilliant bowling to inflict an 18-run defeat on Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL here on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old du Plessis roared back to form after a string of low scores with a 64-ball knock to help RCB post 181 for six after being sent into bat. Pace spearhead Hazlewood (4/25) then picked two wickets upfront and two at the fag end as RCB restricted LSG to 163 for eight to register their fifth win of the season.
Both Hazlewood and du Plessis' brilliant individual performances, though, may be a bit overshadowed by the chatter around the two ball sequence leading to Marcus Stoinis' wicket in which a wide outside off wasn't called followed by him shuffling way too much in the next delivery and playing on. Nevertheless, RCB are now second in the points table while LSG slumped to fourth.
Opening the innings, du Plessis, who failed to put up a big score since his sensational 88 in RCB's first game of the season, anchored the innings to perfection and got out only on the penultimate ball of the final over.
Hazlewood rocked LSG's chase early on as he bowled a fine opening spell. Using the bounce and movement on offer, he accounted for the dangerous Quinton de Kock (3) and Manish Pandey (6) in quick time.
The Australian quick, who was consistent with his line and length, bowled a frugal spell, giving away just 25 runs. LSG skipper KL Rahul made his way back to the dug out soon after Pandey as a delivery down the leg-side kissed his bat and RCB opted to review it.
UltraEdge showed a spike and RCB got their massive breakthrough, thanks to the brilliant review. While Krunal Pandya (42) was scoring runs at a good rate, he looked uncomfortable against Glenn Maxwell, and eventually fell to the Australian.
LSG weren't able to string substantial partnerships together. Deepak Hooda (13), Stoinis (24) and Ayush Badoni (13) were guilty of wasting their starts. Harshal Patel (2/47) picked up two wickets while Mohammed Siraj (1/31) and Maxwell (1/11) accounted for a batter each.
Earlier, du Plessis had 11 boundaries and two sixes, playing shots all around the DY Patil Stadium. The Super Giants invited RCB to bat and the bowlers managed to strike at regular intervals but had no answers for the former South African captain.
Sri Lankan right-arm pacer Dushmantha Chameer (2/31 off 3) bowled a fruitful first over for LSG, snaring the wickets of opener Anuj Rawat (4) and Virat Kohli (0), whose struggles with the bat continued as he got out for a first-ball duck.
Maxwell (23) looked to continue his explosive run in the IPL. The Australian played a counter-attacking innings as he slammed Chameera for two fours and a six in the third over. The all-rounder, however, went down after a quick cameo while playing his favourite shot -- the switch hit -- as LSG took control of the match again.
Maxwell went for the reverse sweep off a Krunal Pandya (1/29) delivery but failed to middle it, with a diving Jason Holder completing the catch as RCB slipped to 44/3. Young Suyash Prabhudessai (10) followed a couple of overs later, even as du Plessis ensured RCB continued scoring at a healthy rate.
Alongside Shahbaz Ahmed (26), du Plessis added 70 runs for the fifth wicket, with the former playing the perfect second fiddle. The veteran batter switched gears in the slog overs with Dinesh Karthik (13 not out), who himself is in imperious form, by his side.
Together they took RCB beyond the 180-run mark. Du plessis came close to scoring his maiden IPL century but was dismissed by Holder with one ball left in the innings.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore: 181/6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 96; Dushmantha Chameera 2/31, Jason Holder 2/25) defeated Lucknow Super Giants: 163/8 in 20 overs (Krunal Pandya 42; Josh Hazlewood 4/25).