Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa batsman AB de Villiers produced an innings to remember as he lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore home by four wickets in a tense chase against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Bangalore.
While de Villiers stole the spotlight with his match-winning performance, Hyderabad batsman David Warner also deserves a lot of credit for his gutsy half-century.
Bangalore captain Virat Kohli made the right decision to bowl first after Hyderabad opener Aaron Finch was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for 13.
Lokesh Rahul only made six runs before he was caught by Chris Gayle at slip off the bowling of Ashok Dinda.
Hyderabad skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Warner stabilised the innings with a 62-run partnership before Dhawan was caught by de Villiers at deep midwicket off the bowling of Varun Aaron for 37.
West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy scored eight runs before he was caught by Starc at deep midwicket off the bowling of Harshal Patel.
Wicketkeeper Naman Ojha made a quickfire 15 before he was caught by Starc off the bowling of Aaron.
Warner ended up making 61 off 49 balls, which included four boundaries and three sixes, before he was clean bowled by Starc.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Thanks to Warner, Hyderabad finished on 155/6 off their 20 overs.
Starc and Aaron picked up two wickets apiece, while Dinda and Patel chipped in with one wicket each.
Chasing 156 to win, Bangalore got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Parthiv Patel was cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for just three runs.
Kohli failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught behind off the bowling of Kumar.
Gayle managed to make a rapid 27 before he was caught by Sammy at deep midwicket off the bowling of Karn Sharma.
Rilee Rossouw only made 14 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Sharma.
Yuvraj Singh failed to have an impact as well as he was caught by Moises Henriques, who was the substitute fielder, at deep backward square leg to become Sharma’s third victim of the match.
De Villiers took over from that point on as he and Starc amassed a 57-run partnership, during which he brought up his half-century after being dropped by Sharma at point on 30.
The partnership came to an end when Starc was run out by Finch for five runs.
Following Starc’s wicket, Bangalore needed four runs to win off the last five balls.
De Villiers and Patel only scored two runs off three balls before de Villiers hammered the penultimate delivery to the deep midwicket boundary to seal the deal for Bangalore.
De Villiers finished on 89 off just 41 balls, which included six boundaries and an incredible eight sixes.
Sharma was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Kumar snapped up two.
Dhawan was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “You cannot help it when someone produces a great knock. Unfortunately we missed the half chance AB offered at point and he took it away after that. We felt we were 10-15 runs short. We started off well as a bowling unit but AB played amazingly. Karn Sharma bowled well, he got their two main left-handers out.”
Kohli praised de Villiers for his spectacular knock, and said: “He (AB) is the best player in the world by far. He has shown it every now and then and he has shown again today why he is rated the number one in the world in any format. Today was one of the days we needed someone to win the game from that tough situation. One of the best innings in T20 I have seen, the way he was striking the ball under pressure. We thought it was a below-par score in Bangalore. Generally you get 170. Chris got us off to a decent start, but the way AB played, he took it away from the opposition.”
De Villiers was named Man of the Match, and said: “It is one of those nights where things go your way. I had a Skype session with my mom and dad today and my dad said the others are lucky. Guess I had my luck today. He (Steyn) won the first set and I won the second. I would have loved to have a third set against him. In those kinds of situations it is the small things that matter the most. It is team spirit, such things that matter in the end. Yuvraj kept boosting me up tonight, got to give credit to him.”