The true class of ‘Mr 360’ AB de Villiers was on full display at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Inspired by a stunning unbeaten 73 by de Villiers, Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers put up a clinical execution as Virat Kohli and Company thrashed Kolkata Knight Riders by 82 runs in the 28th match of the Dream11 Indian Premier League.
It was the biggest victory for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Chasing a herculean target of 195, KKR batsmen faltered from the beginning and were restricted to measly 112 for 9 in 20 overs.
Shubman Gill was the only batsman to offer semblance of a fight. The talented opener scored 34 off 25 balls including three fours and a six before getting run out. When Gill and Nitish Rana (9) were batting, KKR were in contention with 51 for 1 in eight overs.
However, the two-time former champions just caved in meekly thereafter as they were caught in a dual attack of spin and pace.
Andre Russel (16: 10 balls, 2×4, 1×6)) played a couple of big shots raising the hopes of a fight but was smartly done in by Isuru Udana.
Rahul Tripathi also made 16 but struggled to get going against quality spin and seam bowling. The rest of the batsmen including skipper Dinesh Karthik did not even reach double-digit figures.
With this massive win, RCB jumped to the third spot with ten points from seven matches. Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals are sharing the top two spots.
KKR slipped to the fourth position with eight points. After the completion of this match, all the eight teams have now played seven matches each as the league reached half-way stage.
Earlier, the sheer brilliance of de Villiers’ batting and his spectacular unbeaten century partnership for the third wicket with his favourite teammate Virat Kohli propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to a healthy looking 194 for 2.
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, a 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 liked 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 the 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 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.
In the first of the Round 2 matches on Tuesday, Chennai Super Kings will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai in the crucial outing. Both the teams are struggling. While CSK have just four points and languishing at the seventh spot, SRH are at the fifth place with six points.
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) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 112 for 9 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 34, Rahul Tripathi 16, Andre Russel 16; Chris Morris 2-17, Washington Sundar 2-20, Yuzvendra Chahal 1-12, Navdeep Saini 1-17, Isuru Udana 1-19, Mohammed Siraj 1-24) by 82 runs.
Man-of-the-match: AB de Villiers (RCB).