(Indian Express) RCB plundered a massive 248 courtesy AB De Villiers’s 129* and 109 by Virat Kohli with records falling like ninepins in Bangalore.
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli on Saturday orchestrated a mayhem by scoring magnificent centuries as Royal Challengers Bangalore inflicted a crushing 144-run defeat on league leaders Gujarat Lions, recording the biggest ever victory in the history of Indian Premier League.
Batting first, RCB plundered a massive 248 for 3 courtesy De Villiers’s 129 not out and an equally attractive 109 by Kohli with records falling like ninepins at the Chinnaswamy Stadium during the afternoon session.
Having been deflated in the first session itself, Gujarat Lions capitulated to a meagre 104 all out in 18.4 overs with Chris Jordan picking up 4/11 in 3 overs and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal getting 3/19 in 4 overs. With 10 points from 11 games and a positive net run-rate of +0.627, RCB will fancy their chances of sneaking in as the third or fourth team into the play-offs by winning all their remaining three games.
While this is the second highest team score in the history of IPL behind RCB’s 263 for five against Pune Warriors, the Kohli-De Villiers combine eclipsed its own partnership record by pummeling the Lions to add a staggering 229 runs in just 16 overs. The previous best was 215 against Mumbai Indians during the last edition. Kohli also became the first player in the history of IPL to score two centuries against the same opponents in one edition of the league.
De Villiers smashed a scintillating unbeaten 129 off 52 balls with 10 fours and 12 maximums while Kohli, en route his third hundred in a single edition of IPL, hit a brilliant 109 off 55 balls with the help of five fours and eight sixes. De Villiers, whose 43-ball century was the fifth fastest in IPL, teed off to get the maximum number of sixes in an innings by any individual batsman.
In all, the duo hit an astounding 20 sixes compared to 15 fours as the square boundary of the Chinnaswamy turf looked too small at times.
The start was not that great for RCB as an out-of-touch Chris Gayle (6) played on to a Dhawal Kulkarni delivery. The RCB captain was cautious to begin with and it was De Villiers who was first to get off the blocks with a flurry of sixes. The first was a cover driven six off chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik (3/50 in 3 overs), who imitates Paul Adams’ action.
In the next over, he slogged Pravin Tambe behind square for another huge blow. Kulkarni’s friendly medium pace was imperiously pulled for a six. When de Villiers completed his hundred, Kohli was still in his 50s, but he increased the pace at the rear end of the innings.
A flurry of sixes off Kaushik, Dwayne Bravo (0/46 in 3 overs) and Praveen Kumar (2/45 in 4 overs) saw Kohli reaching the coveted hat-trick of tons in the final over of the innings and the fate of the match looked all but sealed.
With the chase practically out of question, the Lions were not in the game from the beginning as they lost Dwayne Smith for seven while playing across the line off left-arm seamer Sreenath Arvind. Brendon McCullum did not last long as he walked back after having scored 11 runs. He was caught brilliantly by De Villiers off Chahal.
Chris Jordan also joined the act at the other end by taking two wickets in consecutive balls. First he sent Dinesh Karthik (2) and then grabbed a return catch off Ravindra Jadeja after he had scored 21 runs off 19 balls with two boundaries and a six. With the team struggling at four for 44, the spine of the visiting team was broken completely and they lost four more wickets including the flamboyant Dwayne Bravo for 30 runs, leaving Gujarat reeling at 74 for eight in 12.5 overs.
Aaron Finch (37) did not enjoy any support from the other end as the visitors conceded the match to RCB. He was caught by Aravind off Sachin Baby.
An ecstatic Kohli said: “I have all the right to smile today, everything went as per plans despite losing the toss. It can be pretty disheartening after losing 9 out of 11 tosses. It feels good that the guys are ready for it, our equation is pretty clear as it’s like the play-offs from here.”
Asked if they have now set the bar too high for themselves, he said: “We don’t want to push or pressurise ourselves too much, we know we are batting with intent and with good strike rates. It’s important to not get ahead of ourselves, if you try extra you might end up scoring 150 instead of 180. We don’t think about the game too much, we just react instinctively, and play smart cricket.
“I didn’t want to speak about how well we had played and we gave the guys a realistic target of 170 to defend for the NRR. The guys have responded very well at the business and of the tournament. We want to take the responsibility and take the pressure. Everyday is a new opportunity for some youngster to perform and win the game for RCB, that’s the most exciting thing going ahead.”
Man of the Match de Villiers, on his part, said that the key to success was not getting scared. “A lot of things played a role today, I walked out there feeling fearless, no fear of losing my wicket. Virat and I made good decisions while batting and assessed things very well and we accelerated very well at the end.
“I hate facing dot balls in T20s and I’m disappointing with the ones today (nine against Jadeja). Jaddu bowled very well today. It’s about playing the right shots at the right time, it wasn’t just about the boundaries. (Laughs) I’m really angry for facing those dot balls today,” he said.