|| AFP ||
Virat Kohli ended his batting slump with an inspiring 73 to seal an easy eight-wicket win for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Indian Premier League table-toppers Gujarat Titans Thursday.
Kohli hit eight fours and two sixes in his 54-ball innings to set up the chase against Gujarat who won the toss and scored 168-5.
The 33-year-old former India skipper, who has three golden ducks in his worst IPL season so far, built a 115-run opening stand with skipper Faf du Plessis in a must-win contest for Bangalore.
A win keeps Bangalore alive -- but dependent on Delhi Capitals losing to Mumbai Indians on Saturday -- while Gujarat have already sealed a spot in the business-end of the tournament.
"We'll be probably watching the Mumbai v Delhi game pretty closely," Australian Glenn Maxwell said after the Bangalore win.
"We feel like we deserve to be in the final four and hopefully Mumbai will do the right thing by us and get us into the final four," he added.
Bangalore skipper Du Plessis fell after a 38-ball 44 to Rashid Khan, who also took Kohli's wicket with Bangalore only 23 runs away from victory.
A blitz by Maxwell, who hit an unbeaten 18-ball 40 with five fours and two sixes after the skipper's wicket, sealed the win in the 19th over.
He was supported by in-form Dinesh Karthik who remained unbeaten on two.
Afghanistan's Khan was the only successful Gujarat bowler and finished four overs with 2-32.
He was well supported by Indian rookie spinner R Sai Kishore who bowled four wicketless but tight overs for 20 runs.
Earlier Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat started badly and lost opener Shubhman Gill for one and Matthew Wade, who came after Gill's dismissal, fell to fellow Australian Maxwell for 16 off 13 balls.
Indian veteran wicketkeeper and Gujarat opener Wriddhiman Saha scored a 22-ball 31 and stabilised the innings with Pandya, who remained unbeaten on a 47-ball 62 with four boundaries and three sixes.
South African David Miller (34) supported Pandya after Saha was run out by du Plessis and fell to Sri Lankan Wanindu Hasaranga.
Khan propelled Gujarat to 168-5 with his six-ball 19 and hit two sixes and a four.
Josh Hazlewood was the Bangalore's most successful bowler and took 2-39 in his four overs.
Spinners Maxwell and Hasaranga bowled eight overs and took 2-53 between them.