De Villiers (57 off 40 balls) played anchor after the early departure of captain Virat Kohli (21) before he opened up his arms towards the end for some lusty blows as the RCB chased down the target of 156 with three balls to spare.
Star South African batsman AB de Villiers struck a half century with a late flurry of sixes as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets to notch up their first win in the IPL-11 here today. De Villiers (57 off 40 balls) played anchor after the early departure of captain Virat Kohli (21) before he opened up his arms towards the end for some lusty blows as the RCB chased down the target of 156 with three balls to spare. This was after the RCB bowlers, led by pacer Umesh Yadav who took three wickets in an over, had shot out the KXIP for 155 after being sent into bat. De Villiers hit two fours and four sixes in his knock. He was out in the 18th over but by then he has taken the match to the threshold of victory with RCB needing just 10 runs from 1.5 overs.
Mandeep Singh contributed 22 down the order while Washingotn Sundar (9 not out) hit the winning runs — four — as RCB reached 159 for 6 in 19.3 overs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. RCB had lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets in their first match on April 8. RCB’s run chase did not have the best of starts as Brendon McCullum got out in the second ball of the innings itself for a first ball duck. One-down Kohli was looking good in the company of Quinton de Kock (45), rotating the strike and getting the occasional boundaries, till he was cleaned bowled by a beauty of a delivery by Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/29) which went through the gate of the home captain.
The 17-year-old Afghan off-spinner bowled a googly from the back of the hand to deceive the India captain and get the prized wicket. It pitched outside off and zipped back in sharply, which Kohli tried to drive but missed it completely to see his stumps rattled in the fifth over. De Villiers came in and in company of compatriot de Kock steadied the RCB innings. The South African duo stitched 54 runs for the third wicket before KXIP Punjab captain Ashwin (2/30) took two wickets — that of de Kock and Sarfaraz Khan (0) — in successive deliveries to keep his side in the hunt for a victory. The home side reached 109 for 4 at the end of 15 overs, needing 47 from the final five overs. But with de Villiers still there, the RCB had the batsman who can do the job. The 17th over bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman turned out to the game changer as de Villiers hit two consecutive sixes out of 19 runs from that over.
Earlier, Umesh rocked the KXIP innings with a three-wicket burst in an over as RCB bowled out the visitors for 155. Put into bat, KXIP were reduced to 36 for 3 in the fourth over after Umesh (3/23) dismissed Mayank Aggarwal (15), Aaron Finch (0) and Yuvraj Singh (4) in the space of six balls in his second over to leave the visiting side in trouble early in their innings. Agarwal edged the first ball of the fourth over to wicketkeeper de Kock before Australian Finch was trapped LBW in the next delivery. Yuvraj was out in the final ball of that over as it went through his gate to knock off the middle stump.
Umesh’s pace colleague Kulwant Khejroliya and Chris Woakes and off-spinner Washington Sundar then took over in the later part of the KXIP innings with two wicket apiece as the visiting side could not even complete their allotted 20-over quota as they were all out in 19.2 overs. For KXIP, only Lokesh Rahul put up some resistance as he hit 47 off just 30 balls at the top of the order with the help of two fours and four sixes. Captain Ravichandran Ashwin contributed 33 off 21 balls while Karun Nair made 29.
The KXIP innings, however, began with a bang with Rahul taking 16 runs from the opening over bowled by Woakes whom he hit for a four and two sixes. Rahul’s aggression kept the run rate high despite losing wickets as KXIP reached 84 for 3 at the halfway mark. But just as he was settling down with Nair and nearing his half century, Rahul fell to Sundar as he top-edged while trying for a slog-sweep for Sarfaraz Khan to take a catch. At the end of 15th over, KXIP were 122 for 7 and they could add 33 more runs at the expense of three wickets thanks to Ashiwn’s 21-ball 33 which was laced with three fours and a six.