The AB de Villiers show was on full display as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 82 runs in Match 28 of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) in Sharjah on Monday.
After scoring 194/2, RCB had a chance to strike early. But, Navdeep Saini could not hold on to a sharp return catch to get Shubman Gill out in his first over. The right-arm pacer, though managed to pick his first wicket of the match as he dismissed the IPL debutant Tom Banton in the fourth over as KKR lost their first wicket in the chase. KKR though managed to score 43 runs in the powerplay, with Gill scoring 26 of those runs.
RCB, though, tightened the screws over the course of the next few overs with Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar and went on to pick four wickets in the space of five overs.
First, Washington Sundar dismissed Nitish Rana in the eighth over after the left-hander failed to execute his slog sweep. Shubman Gill was the next man to get out following a misjudged single.
While Yuzvendra Chahal had missed out on a wicket in his second over after Aaron Finch dropped a catch at long on, the leg-spinner managed to pick his first wicket after Dinesh Karthik dragged one back onto the stumps in the 11th over.
The next over saw Washington Sundar scalp his second wicket as Eoin Morgan was caught at the short third man.
KKR needed the Andre Russell show to pull off the chase and while the all-rounder showed signs of going big, hitting two fours and a six in the 14th over bowled by Isuru Udana, he perished in the same over after mistiming his shot.
RCB picked two more wickets in the next two overs as KKR continued to slide. While Chris Morris dismissed Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti got out off Chahal’s bowling.
Mohammed Siraj joined the wicket-taking party, dismissing Rahul Tripathi, after Morris took a stunning diving catch at long on to leave KKR reeling at 99/8.
KKR were eventually restricted to 112/9 as RCB clinched a comprehensive 82-run win.
Earlier, the two RCB openers motored along after electing to bat first. Aaron Finch decided to step down a couple of yards against the new ball and he immediately put Pat Cummins under pressure. His opening partner Devdutt Padikkal too made most of the friendly conditions and dispatched the new ball to the boundary.
The RCB openers put up 47 in the Powerplay period and KKR’s search for a breakthrough only ended when Russell castled Padikkal (32), uprooting his middle stump in his second over. RCB lost their first wicket for 67 and KKR then pulled things back, conceding 31 runs in the next four overs. At the halfway stage in the innings, RCB reached 78/1.
The KKR bowlers took pace off the ball and the plan worked as they were able to dry up the boundaries. Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who loves to bowl quick, was effective with the slower ball and he was impressive in his duel against Virat.
As the pressure began to mount, Finch tried to attack and lost his stumps in a similar fashion as Padikkal and this time it was Prasidh Krishna, who picked the wicket. Finch was looking set for a big score but got out four runs short of a half-century.
Varun Chakravarthy, who has been quietly going about his job this season, had another fine run as he bowled four tight overs for just 25 runs.
Like in the previous game, Virat relied on running runs and picked up his first boundary only on the 25th ball and in the 19th over of the match. He could afford to do that as Mr 360 lit up the Sharjah sky.
de Villiers stayed on the backfoot to counter the slow balls and started finding the big hits almost immediately from the time he walked out. He attacked the young Nagarkoti first and then brought up his 50 in just 23 balls with the help of four boundaries and five sixes.
While KKR were ahead till the 15th over, allowing only 111 runs to be scored, ABD ensured that momentum shifted, and it was back in RCB’s corner. In the last five overs, RCB collected a staggering 83 runs to push their total close to 200. In his 33-ball unbeaten stay, Mr 360 smashed six sixes and five boundaries. The Virat-ABD partnership remained unbroken on 100 from 47 balls.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 194/2 (AB de Villiers 73*, Aaron Finch 47; Prasidh Krishna 1/42) beat Kolkat Knight Riders 112/9 (Shubman Gill 34, Andre Russell 16; Chris Morris 2/17) by 82 runs