Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) managed to pull a Houdini in the last moments as their star cricketer AB de Villiers rendered a match-winning 55* off 22 delivered to guide Virat Kohli’s men in a 7-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Dubai on Saturday. With this win, RCB is at the third spot in the IPL 2020 points table with 6 wins in 9 matches, 12 points, and an NRR of -0.096.
Opting to bat first, Rajasthan Royals posted 177 runs in 20 overs courtesy of the blistering start from Robin Uthappa (41,22b) who struck 7 fours and a six which was followed by an equally enthralling knock from skipper Steve Smith (57, 36b) in the middle and slog overs.
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Uthappa forged a 50-run stand for the opening wicket with Ben Stokes (15). While Morris got the better of Stokes in the sixth over, it was the move by Virat Kohli to bring in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal into the attack that reaped benefits as he got the better of a well-set Uthappa and Samson (9) on consecutive deliveries.
Skipper Steve Smith laid a 58-run partnership with wicket-keeper Jos Buttler (24) for the fourth wicket which helped the Royals’ steer to 119 runs in 15 overs. Buttler’s dismissal to Morris in the immediate over brought in Rahul Tewatia who added 46 runs to the fifth wicket stand and the scorecard now reading 173/5 in 19.2 overs.
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Jofra Archer (2) was plumbed by Morris in the final over while Tewatia remained unbeaten on 19* with a four and a six.
From RCB bowlers, pacer Chris Morris was the standout performer as he tore through RR’s top and middle-order, conceding just 26 runs while taking 4 wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal, who picked wickets of Uthappa and Samson in his first over ended his quota with figures of 2/34. Washington Sundar (0/25), Isuru Udana (0/43), and Navdeep Saini (0/30) couldn’t break through the RR lineup.
Ab de Villiers racks a match-winning fifty
Chasing 178, RCB needed a cracker of a start to dominate the required run-rate. Openers Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch (14) could add merely 23 runs to the scorecard as the latter got struck by Shreyas Gopal’s delivery while trying to slog-sweep.
Sensing the need for match-winning innings and a partnership, in particular, skipper Virat Kohli played a gutsy knock but hit boundaries at regular intervals to take his individual tally to 43 in 32 deliveries.
The duo of Devdutt and Kohli laid the foundation for the 178-run chase as they added 79 runs to the second wicket.
In a sudden turn of events, RCB lost the wickets of Devdutt (35) and Kohli in 13th and 14th overs respectively which now put the pressure on AB de Villiers and Gurkeerat Singh Mann to finish off the much-coveted chase. The duo then established an unbeaten 77 run partnership with AB de Villiers scoring the bulk of runs as he struck a blistering 55* off 22 balls, comprising 6 sixes and a four, to eventually get past the winning total.
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From RR’s bowling attack, Kartik Tyagi, Shreyas Gopal, and Rahul Tewatia scraped a wicket each while Jofra Archer (0/38) and Jaydev Unadkat (0/46) had an expensive day at work.
The Men in Red have solidified their chances of making it to the knockouts. They would be facing the Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on October 21 in Abu Dhabi.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to AB de Villiers’ masterclass in the concluded game in Dubai.