Kohli returns to form as RCB beat Royals to go top

@IPL

Virat Kohli ended his barren spell, while Devdutt Padikkal and Yuzvendra Chahal excelled again as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets to go top of the Indian Premier League.

Purple cap holder Chahal took 3-24 to restrict the Royals to 154-6 after Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat first in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Isuru Udana claimed 2-41, including the early dismissal of Smith, and Rajasthan needed a late flurry of runs from Mahipal Lomror (47) and Rahul Tewatia (24 not out) to post over 150.

That was not enough to prevent RCB from taking over at the summit as a second-wicket stand of 99 from Padikkal and Kohli set up an emphatic win at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

In-form 20-year-old opener Padikkal (63 off 45 balls) made his third half-century of the tournament and Kohli registered his first after failing in his previous three knocks.

Kohli finished unbeaten on 72 from 53 deliveries as his side secured a third victory out of four, the captain having given himself a lift by hitting the winning runs in a Super Over win over Mumbai Indians last time out.

The Royals are sixth with two wins and as many defeats, but they are set to be boosted by the arrival of England all-rounder Ben Stokes.

CHAHAL PURPLE PATCH CONTINUES

Chahal has made an outstanding start to the tournament and played a key role again after Smith and Jos Buttler were dismissed by Udana and Navdeep Saini respectively.

The tweaker struck with his first ball, with Sanju Samson caught and bowled, and the Royals were 70-4 halfway through their innings when Robin Uthappa holed out attempting to launch Chahal for six.

Lomror also fell to the wily Chahal, who applied the pressure with 10 dot balls as he joined Mohammed Shami on eight wickets in the tournament.

PADIKKAL ON A ROLL, KOHLI COMES GOOD

Padikkal has been a revelation for RCB at the top of the order and is now the fourth-highest run scorer in the tournament.

The young left-hander showed exquisite timing to dispatch Jaydev Unadkat for six over square leg and found the rope six times in another classy innings.

Much of the talk ahead of the match was over Kohli's lack of runs, but it was only a matter of time before the India captain delivered.

He brought up his 50 off 41 balls after being dropped by Tewatia, hitting two sixes and seven fours in a high-quality knock before AB de Villiers punched Sam Curran for four to seal victory.