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Du Plessis, Kohli help Bengaluru stay in IPL play-off race

Starring role: Virat Kohli plays a shot on Saturday as Royal Challengers Bengaluru defeated Gujarat Titans (Idrees MOHAMMED)
Starring role: Virat Kohli plays a shot on Saturday as Royal Challengers Bengaluru defeated Gujarat Titans (Idrees MOHAMMED)

Skipper Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli helped Royal Challengers Bengaluru hammer Gujarat Titans by four wickets for their third successive IPL win on Saturday.

Chasing a modest 148 for victory, Du Plessis, who hit 64, and Kohli, who made 42, laid the foundations with a stand of 92 in 35 balls as the target was achieved with 6.2 overs to spare at Bengaluru's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Du Plessis' departure triggered a collapse as Gujarat hit back with wickets from Joshua Little and Noor Ahmad to have the opposition in trouble at 117-6 when Kohli was dismissed.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, who hit 21, and Swapnil Singh, who made 15, made sure there was no more drama as they steered the team home in an unbeaten stand of 35.

"It was important we didn't look at the scoreboard when we went out to bat and try and play the way we play," said Du Plessis.

"It was a bit nerve-wracking, another wicket, another wicket. Probably not the best but you're trying to be positive, get your net run-rate up."

Bowlers set up victory after pace spearhead Mohammed Siraj removed the openers including skipper Shubman Gill early and Gujarat lost regular wickets to be bowled out for 147 in 19.3 overs.

Siraj returned figures of 2-29 to be named man of the match but the pace bowler said he nearly missed the game after being "sick since last night".

It was Bengaluru's fourth win and third on the bounce in 11 matches as they jumped from the bottom of the table to seventh and keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

Gujarat's hopes are also hanging by a thread as they slumped to their seventh loss in 11 matches.

- 'Start from zero' -

"Very important to start from zero in our next match and move on from this game," Gill said. "Learn from mistakes and not repeat them. All about winning from here on."

Kohli, who reclaimed the top batting spot with 542 runs, came out roaring as he hit Mohit Sharma for two sixes in the opening over of the chase and Du Plessis soon joined in and moved ahead to raise his fifty in 18 balls.

The South African veteran smashed 10 fours and three sixes in his 23-ball blitz before being dismissed by Ireland left-arm quick Little.

Little took two more wickets including Glenn Maxwell for four as Bengaluru slipped to 107-4.

Little sent back Cameron Green and then Noor's left-arm wrist spin silenced the home crowd when he had Kohli caught behind, but the hosts had the last laugh when Singh hit the winning six.

Earlier put into bat, Gujarat went three down for 19 inside six over before big-hitter Shahrukh Khan, who top-scored with 37, stood strong in a 61-run stand with David Miller, who hit 30 off 20 balls.

Left-handed Rahul Tewatia hit a 21-ball 35 and put on another key stand with Rashid Khan to add respect to the total.

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