AB de Villiers smashed a 33-ball 73 in a tough Sharjah Cricket Stadium pitch to engineer Royal Challengers Bangalore’s big 82-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the last match of the Indian Premier League first round.
Electing to bat first, De Villiers lifted Bangalore to 194-2 after openers gave them a desired start. Bangalore spinners Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal then controlled Kolkata innings before they were restricted to 112-9 in 20 overs.
Kolkata narrowly survived in not being the team with the lowest total this season. Bangalore hold that negative record after they were bundled out for 109 against Kings XI Punjab, the only match they have won so far this season.
The important victory put Bangalore level on 10 points with table toppers Mumbai Indians and second-placed Delhi Capitals but they sit third on net run rate. With first round of the tournament done, Kolkata have eight points from seven games.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are fifth in the table on net run rate after tying on six points with Rajasthan Royals. Three-time champions Chennai Super Kings are second from the bottom with four points, while Kings XI Punjab have just one victory to their name.
In the match on Monday, Kolkata went through a barren spell once they lost opener Tom Banton, playing his first match of the tournament, for eight to Navdeep Saini. They managed just one boundary in the next 60 deliveries and lost four wickets in the process.
Sundar and Chahal’s collective seven-over spell fetched Bangalore three wickets as the spinners conceded just 28 runs. Chahal was too disciplined giving away just eight runs in his first three-over spell and picking up the wicket of Kolkata skipper Dinesh Kartik.
Russell, the only man who could have bail out Kolkata from a precarious 64-5, finally broke the silence smacking Sri Lankan bowler Isuru Udana for a two fours and a six consecutively in the 15th over. But Udana had his revenge dismissing Russell (10) in the same over to stamp the authority for Bangalore.
Kolkata were then reduced to 89-7 after Chris Morris removed Pat Cummins. Chahal returned in the 16th over and finished with the figures of 1-12. Chris Morris (2-17) and Sundar (2-20) took four wickets between them for Bangalore.
Bangalore had got the start they needed after Aussie skipper Aaron Finch and Devdutt Padikkal began with a 67-run opening wicket stand. That partnership gave De Villiers the luxury to play with freedom, which the South African duly did.
Together with skipper Virat Kohli, De Villiers was involved in an unbroken 100-run partnership that came in just 46 deliveries. De Villiers brutally hit Kolkata batsmen to all parts of the ground smashing six sixes and five boundaries.
Kohli, who gave most of the strike to De Villiers, hit just one boundary in his 28-ball 33. Finch made 47 off 37 and Padikkal chipped in a 23-ball 32 before being bowled by Andre Russell. Both the openers hit four boundaries and a six apiece.