.By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
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 him, Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers clinically executed Kolkata Knight Riders by 82 runs to register their biggest margin victory in the 28th match of the Dream11 IPL.
Chasing a mammoth target of 195, KKR batsmen faltered from the beginning and were restricted to 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 being 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 caved in meekly thereafter as they were caught in a dual attack of spin and pace.
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 win, RCB jumped to the third spot with ten points from seven matches. Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals were 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 RCB to a match-winning 194 for 2. De Villiers delivered in style as he blasted an unbeaten 73 runs off 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. The duo also created a unique record during this innings as it amassed three thousand runs 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.
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. While CSK have just four points and languishing at the seventh spot, SRH are at the fifth place with six points.
Brief scores: 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).