Shardul Thakur and Ben Stokes transformed Rising Pune Supergiant’s weakest link by claiming three wickets each to hand Royal Challengers Bangalore a 27-run defeat in their IPL clash on Sunday.
In a match billed as a clash of captains — Virat Kohli versus Steven Smith —- the Australian emerged victorious after the mighty batting line-up of the home team caved in meekly to silence a packed M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
RCB bowlers seemed to have done their job after Virat Kohli elected to field first on winning the toss as Rising Pune Supergiant slid to 130 for 7 in 17.2 overs, but Manoj Tiwary took charge and hammered 27 off 11 balls to take his team to a challenging total.
RPS finished on 161 for eight before restricting Royal Challengers Bangalore 134/9.
Although the odds were still against them, all-rounder Ben Stokes, Thakur and left-arm paceman Jaydev Unadkat shared eight wickets to upstage RCB.
Stokes had Kohli caught by Ajinkya Rahane in the deep for a 19-ball 28 after Thakur, the Mumbai paceman, had got rid of the other opener, Mandeep Singh, for a duck.
Bangalore were down to 70/3 after leg spinner Imran Tahir had AB de Villiers, also well-set on 29, stumped by MS Dhoni before the Rising Pune Supergiant bowlers chipped away at the middle-order.