Report: Match 24 - RCB vs SRH

RCB pull off AB-solutely remarkable run-chase

By Harsh Kalan
Mumbai 04 May 2014
A packed house at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium witnessed one of the most remarkable innings from one of the most remarkable batsmen in the world today. Thanks to AB de Villiers’ (89*) blitz, the Royal Challengers Bangalore overcame the 155-run total posted by Sunrisers Hyderabad. The South African batsman played every shot in the book and beyond as he smashed six fours and eight maximums during his 41-ball knock.

Earlier, RCB won the toss and asked SRH to take first strike. Aaron Finch and Shikhar Dhawan opened the innings for the visitors. The duo added 20 runs, before Mitchell Starc had Finch (13) caught behind in the third over. Lokesh Rahul (6), who walked in at No.3, did not last long either; he ended up nicking an Ashok Dinda delivery into the safe hands of Chris Gayle at first slip. David Warner then joined Dhawan, and the duo took SRH to 48 for two at the end of the Powerplay.

Both batters continued to carve runs off the RCB bowlers and kept building a solid platform to launch off in the latter overs. Thanks to the third-wicket stand, the SRH score had reached 72 at the halfway stage. However, Varun Aaron broke their partnership by claiming the wicket of Dhawan (37) in the 13th over. With the scorecard reading 91 for three at that point and a well-set Warner still around, Darren Sammy (8), the next man in, was presented with the ideal opportunity to accelerate. However, he could not make the most of the situation and perished while attempting a big one off Harshal Patel.

However, Warner continued to plunder runs by way of regular fours and sixes and soon reached his half-century. And towards the end, even Naman Ojha (15) joined in the act of big-hitting, but he got out trying to slice an Aaron delivery over the off-side fence. Even Warner (61) was cleaned up by Starc in the final over of the innings. Irfan Pathan (4*) and Karn Sharma (1*) then hung around for the remainder of the 20th over to ensure SRH got to 155 for six.

In response, RCB lost Parthiv Patel early; Bhuvneshwar Kumar knocked his stumps over off the first ball he bowled. The SRH pacer then dealt a telling blow by claiming the crucial wicket of RCB skipper Virat Kohli (0) just five balls later. With the home team struggling on six for two at the end of two overs, debutant Rilee Rossouw joined Chris Gayle in the middle. And much to the relief of the RCB faithful, Gayle (27) finally unleashed. He struck three fours and two massive sixes during a brief display that entertained the crowd more than it helped RCB’s run-chase. Karn Sharma ended the dangerous RCB opener’s 19-ball blitz in the seventh over.

Karn Sharma then got rid of Rossouw (14) by trapping him leg-before wicket in the 11th over. With AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh taking strike, RCB still needed 97 runs off 59 balls. While de Villiers took the attack to the SRH bowlers, Yuvraj Singh (14) became Karn Sharma’s third victim of the night. Meanwhile, de Villiers kept going from strength to strength – slog-sweeping and reverse-sweeping at will. He even reached his half-century in the process.

Thanks to his exploits, the run-chase equation read 28 off 12 balls as the match was headed to a dramatic finish. However, de Villiers broke the tension with two back-to-back sixes off Dale Steyn to bring the equation down to 16 off 10 balls. A couple of deliveries later, he struck a four over extra cover off the pacer. And finally, he topped it off with an incredible scoop over fine-leg that landed straight in the stands. That Steyn over produced a staggering – and game-changing – 24 runs. And while Starc (5) was run-out off the first ball of the 20th over, de Villiers (89*) took RCB over the line with a four through midwicket with one ball to spare.

Man of the Match: AB de Villiers for his match-winning innings.
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