Royal victory for Challengers

Royal victory for Challengers

De Villiers, Kohli unleash avalanche of runs to help RCB script a massive 144-run win

Royal victory for Challengers

With their backs to the wall, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had to pull off something out of the ordinary. And two extraordinary batsmen of this generation joined forces in the middle to script sensational batsmanship that had the capacity crowd in delirium and left the Gujarat Lions attack demoralised.

AB de Villiers blasted his way to his second IPL century (129 n.o., 52b, 10x4, 12x6) while Virat Kohli stroked his way to his third century (109, 55b, 5x4, 8x6) of the season as the Royal Challengers buried Lions in an avalanche of runs here at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday. 

The duo added 229 runs for the second wicket, highest in IPL for any wicket, in just 97 balls to set the stadium afire. After being put into bat first, Royal Challengers, despite losing Chris Gayle early again, amassed 248 for three, the highest total this season and their second 200-plus score of IPL-9.

Notwithstanding an explosive batting line-up, a batting beauty and small boundaries to clear, the total was too steep for Lions to scale. And when Dwayne Smith and stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum fell in the powerplay, the contest was as good as over. Lions eventually trudged to 104 all out in 18.4 overs, handing Royal Challengers a 144-run victory, the highest winning margin in terms of runs. 

RCB’s fifth win in 11 games didn’t alter their position on the table as they remained at sixth place but the big win helped them enhance their run-rate significantly.

The threat of rain and Gayle’s expected fireworks once again failed to materialise.

At the end of four overs, RCB were 19 for one and hardly betrayed the signs of a Tsunami that was to hit the Chinnaswamy. De Villiers began the carnage with his first of a dozen sixes that he peppered the stands with. Kohli was going at a strike rate of over 100 but the Orange Cap holder appeared no more than an ecstatic spectator as his senior partner at the other end essayed one magnificent stroke after another.

Cheered by his wife in the stands, the South African had the weekend crowd eating out his hands as boundaries cascaded off his bat which resembled a barn door on the day -- nothing could get past it. If his sixes over cover region on the backfoot defied rule book on batting, his slog-sweeps while balancing himself on his knees showed his unmatched ability to manufacture strokes. There was no bowler that he left unpunished and there was no area that he didn’t send the ball to. De Villiers – the 360 degree man – was on full display as Lions’ bowlers bore the brunt.

Just as de Villiers brought up his century off just 43 balls, Kohli exploded without as much of a sign. At the end of 17th over, the right-hander was on 51 off 41 balls and by the time he was out in the final over, he had clobbered 48 in the next 14 deliveries he had faced, including scoring all 30 runs in an over off young left-arm chinaman Shivil Kaushik. Dwayne Bravo was another bowler to leak 30 runs in his one over as de Villiers went after him.

If de Villiers inspired awe with his prowess to generate power with his tremendous bat speed, Kohli was delightfully destructive. Even his slogs had certain aesthetic value to them. Together de Villiers and Kohli plundered 172 off the last 10 overs and an unbelievable 112 in the final five overs alone as RCB fans had their fill.