Faf du Plessis and Josh Hazlewood powered Royal Challengers Bangalore to their fifth win in seven Indian Premier League games as they eased past Lucknow Super Giants.
The foundation for an 18-run win was laid as Du Plessis came four runs short of a century, his blistering 96 ensuring RCB reached 181-6 despite losing captain Virat Kohli for a duck.
Lucknow got a series of starts, including from skipper KL Rahul (30) and Krunal Pandya (42), but they could not put a match-winning partnership together.
A contributing factor to that failure was the brilliance of Hazlewood, whom RCB bought at this year's auction.
After his excellent performance against Delhi Capitals, Hazlewood provided further vindication of that decision by taking 4-25.
His last scalp, that of Australian compatriot Marcus Stoinis (24), effectively ended any hope Lucknow had of victory, with Jason Holder unable to recover the situation for the Super Giants in the final 10 balls.
RCB are level on 10 points with Gujarat Titans at the top of the table. Gujarat have the edge because of their superior net run rate.
Back-to-back wins.— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) April 19, 2022
A comprehensive performance with the bat and ball.
Let’s take this momentum into the next challenge. #PlayBold #WeAreChallengers #IPL2022 #Mission2022 #RCB #ನಮ್ಮRCB #LSGvRCB pic.twitter.com/CwDGTGj2wD
No Faffing about
Having seen the top order crumble around him, with Dusmantha Chameera claiming the wickets of Anuj Rawat and Kohli in successive deliveries in the opening over and Glenn Maxwell departing for 23, Du Plessis took it upon himself to hold the RCB innings together.
He did so by hammering 11 fours and two sixes to record his joint-highest IPL score and his second half-century of the season.
Hazlewood's hot streak
The Super Giants must have known their luck was out when an initially ambitious looking review revealed Rahul had edged a leg-side delivery from Harshal Patel behind to the keeper.
Krunal gave them hope thereafter but eventually fell to Maxwell before Hazlewood removed Ayush Badoni and Stoinis to round off a superb display from the former Chennai Super Kings quick, who now has eight wickets in three games after taking 3-28 against Delhi.