The true class of ‘Mr 360’ AB de Villiers was on full display at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
The sheer brilliance of de Villiers’ batting and his spectacular unbeaten partnership for the third wicket with his favourite teammate Virat Kohli propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to a healthy looking 194 for 2 against Kolkata Knight Riders in the 28th match of the Dream11 Indian Premier League.
De Villiers delivered in style as the veteran batsman smoked an unbeaten 73 runs off just 33 balls to help RCB, who opted to bat, give a daunting target to their rivals on a batting pitch and small ground.
The 36-year-old middle-order batsman achieved the phenomenal strike rate of 221 as he hammered five fours and six towering sixes, couple of them went outside the stadium.
In comparison to his senior partner, Kohli was subdued as the skipper struck an undefeated 33 in 28 balls. He could not play as he would have like as he managed to hit just a solitary boundary.
The old and trusted pair of de Villiers and Kolhi always enjoys batting together. And Monday was no different as they again notched up a 100-run partnership for the unbeaten third wicket in 7.4 overs.
The duo also created a unique record during this innings as they amassed three thousand runs between them in the IPL for RCB. In the last five overs when de Villiers and Kohli were going great guns, RCB piled up 83 runs to take their side close to 200-run mark.
De Villiers and Kohli consolidated the strong opening stand of 67 provided by Aaron Finch (47: 37 balls, 4×4, 1×6) and Devdutt Padikkal (32: 23 balls, 4×4, 1×6) in 7.4 overs.
Finch, who was not among the big scores in this season, started aggressively and displayed some attractive shots on the on-side.
Padikkal, one of the finds of this IPL, did no damage to his growing stature by slamming 32 before he was castled by Andre Russel.
Knight Riders left out spin spearhead Sunil Narine as he was replaced by Englishman Tom Banton, who made his IPL debut.
Narine’s bowling action was reported after KKR’s tense two-run win over the Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
West Indies star Narine, who played a key role in the win, returned figures of 2 for 28.
“The report was made by the on-field umpires Ulhas Gandhe and Chris Gaffaney according to the IPL’s Suspected Illegal Bowling Action Policy,” an IPL statement said, adding that Narine would be placed “on the warning list” but would be permitted to bowl unless there was another report against him.
Banton, who made his international debut in November 2019, was signed by KKR for Rs 1 crore in the auction last year. The swashbuckling batsman has played nine T20Is and scored 205 runs at a strike-rate of 143.35.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 194 for 2 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 73 not out, Aaron Finch 47, Virat Kohli 33 not out, Devdutt Padikkal 32; M Prasidh Krishna 1-42, Andre Russel 1-51) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.