Phil Salt stars in Delhi Capitals' win over Royal Challengers Bangalore

Englishman’s belligerent 87 counters Kohli‘s sedate 55 to chase down 182 with ease
NEW DELHI: The Delhi crowd thronged the Ferozeshah Kotla on Saturday evening to watch its favourite homeboy Virat Kohli put up a show. While he did bat for 16 overs upfront in the match for 55 off 46 balls, the fireworks came from the home team’s top-order led by Phil Salt‘s blazing 45-ball 87 which helped Delhi Capitals chase down the 182-run target with consummate ease in 16.4 overs and seven wickets to spare.
Every action of Kohli was an event for the crowd even as he went about trying to prove that the role of an anchor batter still has a place in modern-day T20 cricket. The ruthless onslaught from Salt from the word go in the chase, though, only reiterated that all-out attack has to be the primary game plan in the format. All of a sudden, a batting line-up that looked shackled by indecision during the season turned up so liberated that saw Rilee Rossouw finish the chase with a six to make a carnage out of a party that was meant to celebrate Kohli on the night.

It has taken Capitals 10 games to get their batting combination right. And it took the addition of Salt. With the domestic talent offering little confidence, the top-four made up of overseas batters David Warner (22 off 14), Salt, Mitchell Marsh (26 off 17) and Rossouw (unbeaten 35 off 22) brought out a no-holds-barred brand of batting that deflated RCB’s chances of making it to the playoffs.

Kohli’s rather bizarre stay, which had just five boundaries, was in sharp contrast to every other batter who batted in the match. He could play his game because he had his captain Faf du Plessis taking the responsibility to score at a brisk rate first with a 32-ball 45 followed by young Mahipal Lomror‘s power-packed unbeaten 29-ball 54. And add to that Salt‘s innings of incessant hitting, which had six sixes and eight boundaries, suggested you never have enough time to build an innings in this format.

The unmistakable in-your-face intensity in Kohli’s approach at the crease notwithstanding, his percentage cricket, though, struggled to find the boundary as often as one would like from someone opening an T20 innings even though Capitals were without their star pacer Anrich Nortje who flew back to South Africa due to personal reasons. The pitch may have been stopping a bit on the batters but Faf and Lomror showed that wasn’t enough to curb power-hitting.

Lomror’s knock was indication enough for the Capitals batting that there were plenty more runs in the surface than what RCB got losing just four wickets.
For much of the innings, Kohli focused more on playing the gaps and ensure the RCB innings didn’t unravel as it has been of late as it threatened to do when they lost Faf and Glenn Maxwell off successive slower balls from Marsh in the 11th over. Kohli’s resolve to hold the innings together and Lomror’s enterprising hitting allowed RCB to put up a score that will test the undercooked Capitals.

Lomror took it upon himself to up the ante as he did bulk of the scoring as he put on 55 runs with Kohli in 32 balls for the third wicket before Kohli found Khaleel Ahmed at short fine-leg off Mukesh Kumar. Lomror’s onslaught negated Marsh’s hit-deck-slower balls and Kuldeep Yadav as he pounded three big sixes early in his innings.

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