Bangalore: Dale Steyn was stunned, shaking his head in disbelief as the capacity Bangalore crowd went berserk. The reason was a certain South African AB de Villiers who produced a masterclass of an innings that sealed a thrilling win for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Deccan Chargers on Sunday.
RCB: 185/5 beat DC: 181/2 by 5 wickets
The final score line might suggest otherwise as Bangalore romped to a five-wicket with seven deliveries remaining. But it wasn’t the case. Before Deccan Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara handed the ball to his best bowler Dale Steyn, he had already bowled two overs including a maiden. The equation was favoring the visiting side as the hosts needed 39 runs from 18 deliveries.
It was the 18th over of the innings and the batsman was AB de Villiers. Steyn charged in and bowled a short one. De Villiers deposited that into the stands over deep midwicket for a six. Next one was a stinging yorker and de Villiers played that for a couple. Steyn bowled a slower one but the batsman was ready and the result was a boundary. Steyn decided to go full and even he appreciated the shot as the ball sailed into the crowds for another maximum. The mauling continued as the penultimate delivery played over short fine leg for another four.
The over changed the picture and equation as the home team now needed 17 off 12 balls. De Villiers was smart enough to play the last ball from Steyn towards third man for a single and retain the strike. Anand Rajan came in to bowl the penultimate over that proved to be the last for the match as de Villiers added another 15 runs from the first four deliveries to his total that included two consecutive boundaries and a six. Syed Mohammad completed the formality with another four as RCB camp broke into wild celebration winning the match by five wickets. De Villiers remained unbeaten on 47 from just 17 deliveries.
Earlier, Deccan Chargers posted a competitive 181/2 after being asked to bat by RCB captain Virat Kohli. Their openers played sensibly forging a partnership of 86 runs before a terrible mix-up caused Daniel Harris to lose his wicket after being run-out. He made 47(41). Shikhar Dhawan continued unfazed carrying his bat to remain unbeaten on 73(52b, 4X10, 6X1). Some lusty hits in the end from Cameron White and Kumar Sangakkara helped them post a par score.
Barring spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who bowled miserly, giving away just 18 runs in his quota of four overs, every other bowler was taken to task.
Bangalore’s innings had a fantastic start as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Gayle collected 91 runs for the first wicket before the latter was bowled after looking a bit out of colour. Even as wickets kept falling in quick succession, Dilshan kept his cool en route to a brilliant 71(54b, 4X8, 6X2). However, de Villiers stole the show with his late pyrotechnics driving his side to a win.