Kings XI Punjab made it two wins in two after they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 8 wickets on Monday evening. Despite AB de Villiers’ blitzkrieg, KXIP did extremely well to restrict RCB to a modest 148-4 on excellent pitch at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. KXIP were clinical in the chase too; opener HashimAmla dropped anchor and scored a fluent half-century, while captain Glenn Maxwell walked into bat at the fall of the second wicket, smacked a few and hastened the formalities as KXIP strolled to a win.
A target of 149 was never going to challenge KXIP. And it didn’t. The opening pair of Manan Vohra and HashimAmla got the team off to a fiery start, adding 62 runs in six overs. After Manan (34 from 21 balls) was dismissed, the hosts lost Axar Patel cheaply too. But in came captain Glenn Maxwell and polished off the run chase in quick time; Maxwell smashed 43 from 22 balls – studded with three boundaries and four sixes – as KXIP cruised past the finish line with 5.3 overs to spare.
HashimAmla was aggressive early on, almost matching his opening partner stroke for stroke. By the end of the powerplay period, Amla, handed a reprieve on 20, had raced to 26 from 15 balls. But when Maxwell took charge, Amla eased himself into the background; he brought up his half-century – almost unnoticed –in the twelfth over. He remained unbeaten on 58, made from 38 balls and decorated with four boundaries and three sixes.
Earlier in the evening, Royal Challengers Bangalore welcomed back AB de Villiers into the XI at the expense of Chris Gayle. The South African, who missed the first two matches to recover from a back injury, lit up the Holkar Stadium with an unbelievable assault on the KXIP bowlers.
The South African walked out to bat after skipper Shane Watson was dismissed in the first over, and left the arena at the end of the innings. In the 19 overs in between, it was wholesome entertainment; de Villiers hit 9 sixes and three boundaries in his 46 ball 89 – which accounted for more than sixty percent of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s total of 148-4.
de Villiers began in style; the very first delivery he faced, he square drove a wide delivery to the point boundary. In the following over, he made room and hit one over the ropes at extra cover. The South African then kept himself busy knocking the ball into the gaps and running hard even as RCB lost Vishnu Vinod and KedarJadhav to single-digit scores. de Villiers and Mandeep Singh then mixed caution and aggression to resurrect the innings; the fourth-wicket pair added 46 runs before the latter had to walk back courtesy a stunning catch by WriddhimanSaha.
At the beginning of the sixteenth over, de Villiers had 31 from 28 balls; in the following five overs, he scored 58 runs from 18 balls and sent the KXIP bowlers on a leather hunt. Every six he hit was a special effort; these were not taking toll of the poor deliveries, but a player using sharp eyes and a special skill to create opportunities. Almost every one of the nine sixes he hit were brutal hits and sailed comfortably over the ropes, if not over the roof of the stadium.
There was also a useful contribution from Stuart Binny, who scored 18 from 20 balls, and was involved in an 80-run stand with de Villiers.
For the hosts, Sandeep Sharma and Axar Patel were the best bowlers. Sandeep had incredible first spell figures of 3-0-7-1, which were later spoilt by de Villiers’ end-overs assault. Axar opened the bowling and struck in his very first over; he later returned to bowl the remaining three overs in the middle period. Axar finished his four overs with miserly figures of 1-12 – which won him the Man of the Match award. Varun Aaron too marked a successful return to the side, finishing with figures of 2-21.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 148-4 (AB de Villiers 89*, Varun Aaron 2-21) lost to Kings XI Punjab: 150-2 in 14.3 Overs (HashimAmla 58*, Glenn Maxwell 43*)
Man of the Match: Axar Patel.