AB de Villiers once again proved why he is the best in the shorter version of the game as the South African smashed 22-ball half century leading Royal Challengers Bangalore to their fifth victory in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
In a last-over thriller, Bangalore got the better of Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with De Villiers smashing a six to win the game against Jofra Archer in the fourth ball. After skipper Virat Kohli anchored the innings with a 79-run partnership for the second wicket, Rajasthan still had an upper hand in the game leaving Bangalore with 35 to get from last two overs.
De Villiers smashed three consecutive sixes off Jaydev Unadkat in the penultimate over where Bangalore fetched 25 runs with less work to do in the final over from Archer. The England international did well conceding five runs in the first three deliveries but De Villiers smashed the fourth ball for a six for a sensational Bangalore victory.
De Villiers, who hit six sixes and a four in his 22-ball 55, was involved in an unbroken 77-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Gurkeerat Singh (19) in a stand that spanned just 39 deliveries.
Bangalore had lost opener Aaron Finch (14) early to Shreyas Gopal before Kohli consolidated the innings with Devdutt Padikkal (35). Kohli scored 43 off 32 balls and was undone by a superb catch by Rahul Tewatia at the boundary line. The Bangalore captain’s innings included two sixes and a four.
Rajasthan ringed changes in their batting line-up sending in Robin Uthappa open the innings with Ben Stokes. The change worked as the new pair added 50 runs before Stokes (15) departed. Uthappa was back to his old self scoring freely but a single over from Yuzvendra Chahal pegged Rajasthan back.
Leggie Chahal removed Uthappa and Sanju Samson (nine) in consecutive deliveres after being hit for a massive six by the latter. Uthappa fell for a 22-ball 41 after hitting seven crispy boundaries and a six.
The departure of the two batsmen left skipper Steven Smith to resurrect the innings which he did by forging 58-run partnership with Jos Buttler (24) and 46 runs for the fifth wicket with Tewatia (19 not out). Smith brought his second half century of this season making a 36-ball 57.
Smith hit six fours and a six. Chris Morris bowled brilliantly picking up 4-26 from four overs for Bangalore.
Following the victory Bangalore remained unchanged at the third spot with 10 points from eight games. Rajasthan, who have been eyeing a comeback after losing another close-contest with Delhi Capitals in their previous match, are second from the bottom with six points.