Bengaluru, April 13: AB de Villiers lived up to his reputation as he smashed a match-winning half-century to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to their first win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
Chasing a modest target of 156, RCB reached home with three balls to spare, all thanks to fine 40-ball 56 from the South African swashbuckler after the bowlers put up a fine show to restrict Kings XI Punjab to 155. It was indeed a great display with the ball from RCB, and although they looked a bit nervy with the bat, they still emerged as the better side tonight.
Quinton de Kock (45) started the chase off well, and then Mr 360 took the reins and almost took his side home before getting dismissed in the penultimate over. But by the time he was dismissed, the veteran had ensured that the hosts reach home without much trouble.
A win for the side with ABD after 11 losing games:
De Villiers would have been particularly pleased with this win as RCB registered the first win with the South African in the side after losing 11 games on the trot.
Young Washington Sundar, who shined with the ball first, also hit the winning runs for his team as the joyous crowd at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, including actor Anushka Sharma - Virat Kohli's wife, erupted into a huge cheer.
Ashwin’s captaincy. Mandeep’s batting. Sundar’s bowling. Aspects that might not get enough admiration and appreciation....but stood out. #RCBvKXIP— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) April 13, 2018
RCB, however, didn't start well in the run chase they lost the wicket of Brendon McCullum on the second delivery of their innings off Axar Patel. McCullum tried to attack the spinner on the very first ball he was facing but the ball edged his bat and went straight into the hands of Mujeeb Ur Rahman at point region.
After participating with his fielding to get his team the first wicket, 17-year-old Zadran had another memorable game with the ball. It would be the moment he'd remember it for the rest of his life as he rattled the stumps of Kohli with a googly.
The young Afghan spinner, bowling for the first time against the Indian batting mainstay, tossed it up and invited him for the drive, Kohli went after it and failed to read the wrong 'un. The ball spun and taking past the inside edge to crash into middle and off. Kohli stood there stunned and started his descent towards the dugout, frustrated with himself.
Punjab bowlers smelled an opportunity after Kohli's departure but De Kock and De Villiers steadied the innings and together added 54 runs for the third wicket. De Kock (45) and Sarfaraz Khan's (0) dismissal on successive deliveries from Ashwin in the twelveth over gave another opportunity to the visitors to put the hosts on the mat. But De Villiers and Mandeep Singh batted cautiously and denied their opponents any chances.
In the 17th over, Ashwin introduced Mujeeb, who had conceded just 10 runs off his first three overs as the last gamble to break the partnership between De Villiers and Mandeep. But the two attacked the youngster in his final over and accumulated 19 runs from it and brought the match in their grip.
De Villiers completed his fifty off 36 balls in the very next over and brought the hosts closer to the target. By the time he was dismissed by Andrew Tye in the 19th over, RCB needed just 10 more runs to win with 11 balls in hand. Mandeep (22) too departed two balls later while attempting a second run only to fell short of the crease. But Chris Woakes (1*) and Sundar (9*) took their team home with 3 balls to spare.
Punjab bowlers Mujeeb Zadran (4-0-29-1), Axar Patel (4-0-25-1), Ravichandran Ashwin (4-0-30-2) and Andrew Tye (4-0-27-1) did well but the total of 155 on this track was, perhaps, too less for them to defend.
Earlier, pacer Umesh Yadav produced a fiery spell while spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar complemented him well as RCB restricted KXIP to 155 after skipper Kohli won the toss and opted to chase.
Kohli's decision was justified by the bowlers as they came back strongly after being punished by KL Rahul early on. Rahul, who smashed a 14-ball fifty in the previous game, started things aggressively and scored 47 off 30 deliveries.
The local boy once again proved why he's considered a dangerous batsman as he started attacking the bowlers from the first over along with his opening partner Mayank Agarwal.
But skipper Kohli's decision to continue with Umesh Yadav in the fourth over did wonders the Nagpur pacer bagged three wickets in that over and rattled the Punjab batting order.
Umesh accounted for the wickets of Agarwal (16) and trapped Aaron Finch for a golden duck. But his best delivery was, perhaps, reserved for Yuvraj Singh (4) as he rattled the left-handed batsman's middle stump with his pace and accuracy and brought a hysteric crowd at M Chinnaswamy to life. He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his sensational bowling.
Washington Sundar (2/22), Umesh Yadav (3/23), Chris Woakes (2/36), Kulwant Khejroliya (2/33) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/38) had a decent outing with the ball and prevented the visitors from posting a big total on a track which looked good for batting.
Punjab couldn't last full 20 overs as they were restricted in 19.2 overs and RCB have 156 runs to chase. RCB had contradictory start to their campaign with a defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) but RCB, tonight, are looking to pick their first points in the tournament by recording a win.
With this win, RCB have climbed at the fifth spot in the points table with one win and a loss coach Daniel Vettori must now be hoping that his boys maintain the winning momentum from here on.