AB de Villiers smashed an unbeaten 75 from just 42 balls to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a total of 171 for five and victory by just one run in their IPL match against the Delhi Capitals at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
Needing 25 from the final two overs and 14 from the last thanks to Shimron Hetmeyer’s brilliant unbeaten 53 from just 25 balls, Delhi captain Rishabh Pant needed a six from the final ball but was only able to slash a wide full toss from Mohammad Siraj to the point boundary for four.
Pant finished unbeaten on 58 (6×4) but will rue the 48 balls it took him to get there and the fact that he failed to get the more devastating Hetmeyer on strike for the final over with the Guyanan left hander having struck two fours and four sixes.
The match may well have been decided in the final over of RCB’s innings, however, when De Villiers hooked Marcus Stoinis for two sixes and carved another over backward point to take 23 runs and transform the total on a slow pitch not conducive to attractive stroke play – at least, not for the majority of batsmen. De Villiers, however, delivered three fours and fives sixes while everyone else struggled.
Delhi’s run chase faltered early when the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Shikhar Dhawan (6), was undone by a fine bouncer from Kiwi fast bowler Kyle Jamieson which he top edged to deep square leg and Steve Smith (4) edged a fine delivery from Mohammad Siraj to ‘keeper De Villiers.
Prithvi Shaw (21) slashed at, and edged a wide ball from the tournament’s leading wicket taker, Harshal Patel, to De Villiers and Delhi were 47 for three in the eighth over.
Pant and Marcus Stoinis (22 from 17 balls) added 45 for the fourth wicket to haul the Capitals back into the contest but it wasn’t enough, by the barest of margins.
Earlier RCB openers Virat Kohli (12) and Devdutt Padikkal (17) departed to consecutive deliveries with Avesh Khan bowling the Indian captain with the last ball of the fourth over and Ishant Sharma bowling Padikkal at the start of the fifth.
Glenn Maxwell contributed 25 from 20 balls (1×4, 2×6) before heaving veteran leg spinner Amit Mishra to Steve Smith at long on and Rajat Patidar’s enterprising 31 from 22 balls ended with a similar shot against left spinner Axar Patel (4-0-33-1) to the same fielder.
The teams were in second and third place on the log with four wins from their first five games, behind the Chennai Super Kings on net run-rate, but RCB now climb to the top with 10 points with their fifth win.
DELHI CAPITALS: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (captain), Steven Smith, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Virat Kohli (captain), Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj