AB de Villiers produced one of the most devastating Twenty20 innings as he smashed an unbeaten 89 from just 41 balls as Royal Challengers Bangalore pulled off a sensational four-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a dramatic IPL match on Sunday.
De Villiers butchered Hyderabad bowlers with six fours and eight sixes as he single-handedly took Bangalore to victory after Bangalore suffered early jolts after fine bowling show by Karn Sharma (3/17) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar(2/16).
Chasing 156 for six, Bangalore seemingly lost the plot as they were reduced to 59 for four in the 11th over and then were down 95 for five when Yuvraj Singh (14) was out, needing 61 from 5.3 overs.
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But de Villiers took on from there and played a memorable innings to take Bangalore to 158 for six with one ball to spare. He stitched 57 runs for the sixth wicket with Mitchell Starc who could score just five.
In the process, de Villiers dented the reputation of his South African compatriot fast bowler Dale Steyn who bled 39 runs without a wicket in his four overs.
Bangalore needed 28 runs runs off last two overs and de Villiers came into the act and hammered Steyn for 24 runs in the 19th over with three scintillating sixes and a four, which turned the tables against Hyderabad, leaving the home side just four runs to score in the last over bowled Pathan.
Fittingly, de Villiers hit the winning runs, a four off Pathan, to take Bangalore to their first victory at home in IPL 7 in front of wildly cheering crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
This was Bangalore’s third win in IPL 7 and they are now at the fourth spot with six points from six matches.
The only blemish in de Villiers’ incredible innings was when Karn Sharma failed to hold onto a tough chance in the 14th over off the bowling of Irfan Pathan when the batsman was on 32.
After restricting Hyderabad for 155 for six in 20 overs, Bangalore top order, however, could not click as per expectations as they were reduced to 38 for three 6.4 overs.
Opener Parthiv Patel, who had a good start in couple of matches, failed yet again as he was castled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for just three in the second over.
Captain Virat Kohli, who was a bit low in confidence in this year’s IPL, did not bother the scorers, as he irresponsibly flashed at Kumar to give a simple catch to Naman Ojha behind the stumps.
Chris Gayle (27) showed the glimpse of his batting prowess for a short while by hammering India pacer Ishant Sharma for two sixes and a boundary in the fifth over, but threw his wicket away when he tried to slog Karn Sharma.
The West Indian batsman scored an entertaining 27 off 19 balls with three fours and two massive sixes, but failed to shore up Bangalore’s chase from troubled waters. When he left the scene, the home side was deep in trouble, struggling 38 for three.
South African Rilee Rossouw, a replacement for the Nick Maddinson, looked out of sorts playing on the Indian conditions. He scored a laborious 14 runs off 23 balls with one boundary, before he was trapped by leggie Karn Sharma in 11th over, leaving the home side tottering at 59 for four.
Left to steady the ship forward, Yuvraj, with de Villiers, added valuable 36 runs for fifth wicket before he fell to Karn Sharma.
Earlier, David Warner’s fighting knock of 61 off 49 balls chelped Hyderabad post a challenging 155 for six after being put into bat.
Warner hit four boundaries and three sixes as he steadied Hyderabad innings, along with captain Shikhar Dhawan (37 off 36 balls) with a 62-run partnership for third wicket.
Put into bat, Hyderabad lost their in-form opener Aaron Finch (13) and Lokesh Rahul (6) early as they were reduced to 29 for two in four overs. Mitchel Starc and Ashoke Dinda (1/39) accounted for both the batsmen.
Australian pacer Starc (2/21) had Finch caught behind by Parthiv Patel and then Dinda sent back local lad Rahul as he fished at an out-going bowl to Chris Gayle at first slip.
Warner, who survived a scare while on six when he played an uppish shot, and Dhawan provided stability for the visitors by adding 62 runs for third wicket in the next nine overs.
Both played some effective shots during their partnership and prominent among those were the boundaries scored off Varun Aaron (2/33) and Harshel Patel (1/29).
A moment of indiscretion cost Dhawan his wicket as he pulled one off Aaron straight into the hands of AB de Villiers who was standing at deep mid-wicket after making 37 off 36 balls with four hits to the fence.
But Warner continued to fight as he smashed Yuzvendra Chahal for a six over the bowler’s head and followed it up by accumulating seven more runs. He was ultimately castled by Starc in the last over of the innings.
Darren Sammy then smashed a flat over long-off for a six to prop up Hyderabad’s innings but was holed out by Starc off Harshal Patel in deep mid-wicket for eight in as many balls in 16th over.
Naman Ojha looked in good nick and contributed 15 runs off 11 balls, which included a gentle guide into the Hyderabad dug-out for a boundary and a six, before he was caught by Starc at third-man fence off Aaron.