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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.
A spirited performance by Karun Nair (73* off 50 balls) helped the Rajasthan Royals beat the Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. During their chase of 153, the youngster stayed in the middle throughout the run-chase and eventually struck the winning runs with nine balls to spare.
Earlier, Shane Watson chose to field first after winning the toss. Meanwhile, for DD, Quinton de Kock and Murali Vijay opened the innings. The pair started out fluently and punished any loose offerings from the RR bowlers. However, Vijay (13) departed in the fifth over with the score on 33. The Daredevils skipper, Kevin Pietersen, walked in next. He was, however, lucky to get a second life – thanks to a bungled run-out call – in the seventh over while he was on three. But fortunately for RR, Pietersen (14) did not stick around to make a big score; he was caught by Steve Smith off the bowling of Pravin Tambe. And three deliveries later, the leg-spinner got rid of the well-set de Kock (43).
With DD on 71 for three, Dinesh Karthik and JP Duminy joined forces. But their liaison did not last long as Faulkner got rid of Karthik (12) in the 16th over. However, Duminy (39) rallied on till the final over, along with Kedar Jadhav (28*), whose 14-ball cameo propelled DD past 150. While Duminy was dismissed by Kane Richardson, Jadhav remained unbeaten till the end as the Daredevils notched up 152 for five in 20 overs. For RR, Tambe (4-0-25-2) and Faulkner (4-0-26-2) were the top wicket-takers.
In response, the Royals opened their innings with Ajinkya Rahane (12) and Karun Nair. But barely three overs into the run-chase, the diminutive opener was dismissed by Wayne Parnell. Sanju Samson (34) then walked in at No.3 and struck up an innings-steadying partnership with Nair. The pair added 51 runs for the second wicket, before Karthik stumped him off the bowling of Shahbaz Nadeem. Nair, however, was in sublime form and he continued to lead RR’s charge along with Rajat Bhatia. His onslaught continued even as Bhatia (17) got out in the 15th over.
At that point, RR were 115 for three and Watson (16*) took strike in place of Bhatia. He played the supporting role as Nair compiled a well-deserved half-century while helping his team inch towards the target. The duo eventually took RR across the line with an unbeaten 41-run stand. Nair’s 50-ball stay at the crease produced 73 runs, of which 44 came from fours and sixes. In fact, the 22-year-old Karnataka batsman even dispatch the ball to the fence to clock in the winning runs with nine balls to spare in the innings.
Man of the Match: Karun Nair for his match-winning half-century