Bengaluru, April 21: The death over woes returned to haunt Royal Challengers Bangalore that saw Delhi Daredevils braving a lethargic beginning to reach a competitive total here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday (April 21). That until AB de Villiers exploded.
When De Villiers (90, 39b, 10x4, 5x6) gets going no target is safe, let alone 175 that appeared so puny this night as the great South African unleashed the kind of innings only he can. For the record, Royal Challengers Bangalore sped past Delhi Daredevils' 174/5 in 18 overs for a six-wicket victory, first after two straight defeats.
Numbers are quite irrelevant when De Villiers exhibits his genius. The beauty of his batting is much above those mundane aspects of the game. No part of the ground, at times in the gallery too, is unreachable to De Villiers as he creates shots and angles with his footwork and bat speed.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem aimed to tie down De Villiers but the right-hander swept or slog swept him for boundaries.
Pacer Chris Morris pitched up searching for that tiny bit of movement but De Villiers picked the ball on the up to club him over the ropes.
Quick bowler Harshal Patel, a Royal Challengers Bangalore alumnus, and spinner Rahul Tewatia too were swatted away, at times literally, by De Villiers as Royal Challengers glided away to target.
The most entertaining part of RCB innings came when De Villiers and skipper Virat Kohli batted together to add 63 runs in little over six overs. Kohli was not trying to dominate as he played a perfect side kick to the master who was in full flow at the other end.
Just as Kohli was trying to shift the gears, stunner of catch at deep by Trent Boult off Harshal ended his stay but by that time Royal Challengers had gone past the danger zone.
The easiness of the victory masked the fact that Royal Challengers were at one stage tottering at 29/2 in 4.3 overs. The home side had lost openers Manan Vohra and Quinton de Kock as early wobble set in.
But they tide over it in spectacular fashion through De Villiers' hitting prowess. However, that crafty innings also put to shade two other little gems by Delhi Daredevils' Shreyas Iyer (52, 31, 4x4, 3x6) and Rishabh Pant (85, 48b, 6x4, 7x6).
The duo milked 75 runs for the third wicket as Daredevils gradually recovered from a slow start in which they scored less than six in an over during the Power Play and in fact they had scored only 58 in the first 10 overs.
Daredevils looked utterly dazed against pacer Umesh Yadav and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, whose bamboozling of Jason Roy was a treat to watch.
MUST WATCH: Boult from the Blue – @trent_boult’s one-handed screamer stuns Virat— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 21, 2018
Is this the greatest catch of the #VIVOIPL? We have seen him take amazing catches, but he has outdone himself with this sensational catch of #RCB’s captain Virat Kohli.
Pant and Tewatia added 65 for the fifth wicket between overs 15.3 and 19.4 as Delhi reached a total that once seemed so far away.
A push for victory then by Daredevils. But they encountered that freak who can hit 360 degree angles on a cricket field - ABD.