The genius of AB de Villiers entertained the boisterous crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium with an astonishing innings, decorated with an array of powerful strokes, and helped the Royal Challengers Bangalore overcome the Delhi Daredevils on Saturday evening. Given a target of 175, RCB’s chase was stuck in first gear in the first five overs before the partnership between de Villiers and Virat Kohli gave the innings impetus; RCB’s third wicket pair added 63 runs in 5.3 overs, almost helping shift momentum at an instant. After Kohli was dismissed, de Villiers took it upon himself to complete the job; he remained unbeaten on 90 and had the company of Mandeep Singh at the end.
Royal Challengers Bangalore cantered past the finish line at the end of the 18th over, and their 6-win pegged their losing streak at two matches.
In the evening, put into bat, the Delhi Daredevils lost captain Gautam Gambhir cheaply and struggled for momentum in the early part of the innings. By the time the powerplay overs had been bowled, DD had crawled to 28-2 – the lowest powerplay score this season. Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant then took charge of proceedings and helped stage a recovery; the pair added 75 runs to help their team recover to 98-3. After Shreyas was dismissed, Pant took charge, and went on to make 85 – the innings’ top-score. DD, who made 75-1 in the middle period, added a further 71 runs in the final five overs to finish at 174-5.
Standout batting performances
AB de Villiers was in punishing mood on Saturday evening. The South African came out warmed up and began on overdrive mode; the second and third balls he faced, he sent it on its way to the boundary on either side of the wicket. Starved off strike for the entire next over, he collected a hat-trick of boundaries off the left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem in the seventh over – hitting all three deliveries in the area between square-leg and midwicket.
After a brief period of calm, de Villiers turned on the heat in the tenth over when he hit Rahul Tewatia on to the roof of the stadium. In the thirteenth over, he hit Harshal Patel for a boundary and two sixes – one a disdainful sweep over square-leg. The runs continued to flow; Chris Morris conceded a four and a six in the fifteenth.
The leg-side was de Villiers’ preferred region of scoring, but he also scored runs through cover one one occasion collected a boundary playing the upper-cut. His footwork was lightning quick – as ever, and his wristwork and late shot adjustment made good deliveries look bad. De Villiers, who later admitted that he was seeing the ball well and hence was able to pick the length quickly, raced to his half-century off 24 balls, and carried on to make 90 from 39 balls; fittingly, he scored the winning hit – driving the ball to the extra cover boundary.
For the Delhi Daredevils, Rishabh Pant’s 85 was the standout performance with the bat. The left-hander scored at just over a run-a-ball until he exploded in the sixteenth over. 36 from 30 balls when Glenn Maxwell was dismissed midway through the sixteenth over, Pant thereafter hit six sixes and three fours in the next 18 balls to race to 85 from 48 balls. He was dismissed in the final over when he miscued a slower delivery from Corey Anderson and holed out to long-on.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli made useful contributions for their respective teams. Shreyas hit 3 sixes and 4 fours in his 31-ball 52, and dominated the partnership with Pant. DD’s one-drop batsman was dismissed in the fourteenth over when he threw his bat at a wide delivery from Washington Sundar, and the ball took the thick outside edge and flew to short thirdman.
Virat Kohli looked good during his 26-ball stay at the crease. The RCB captain struck two fours and a six, before his innings was cut short by a sensational catch on the midwicket boundary. Kohli got enough wood on a Harshal Patel length delivery on his pads, but Boult pulled off a leaping one-handed sensation, landing millimetres from the rope.
Standout bowling performance
Umesh Yadav’s performance this season has swung between excellent and poor; on Saturday evening, he had another of those ‘excellent-day’ performances. The pacer from Vidarbha, who had Gautam Gambhir caught in the third over, had miserly first-spell figures of 3-0-13-1. He conceded 14 runs in his final over to finish with respectable figures of 4-0-27-1.
Yuzvendra Chahal was impressive too; the leg-spinner bowled two tidy overs in the powerplay – conceding only 8 runs, while also picking up the wicket of Jason Roy. In his third over, Chahal dismissed Glenn Maxwell – caught at short thirdman, before being carted for two sixes. Surprisingly, Chahal would not be called on to bowl a fourth over, and finished with figures of 3-0-22; his spell contained 10 dot balls.
Stat of the Match
AB de Villiers’ 39-ball innings contained only 5 dot balls; his 90* would become his highest score in a run-chase in the IPL.
Delhi Daredevils 174-5 (Shreyas Iyer 52, Rishabh Pant 85, Yuzvendra Chahal 2-22) lost to
Royal Challengers Bangalore 176-4 in 18.0 Overs (Virat Kohli 30, AB de Villiers 90*) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match:
AB de Villiers, for his match-winning 90 not out, which contained 10 fours & 5 sixes.