Royal Challengers v Sunrisers, IPL 2014, Bangalore May 4, 2014

De Villiers blitz downs Sunrisers


Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 for 6 (de Villiers 89*, Karn Sharma 3-17) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 155 for 6 (Warner 61) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Agarkar: AB, the No. 1 batsman in the world

Royal Challengers Bangalore possess the most power-packed batting line-up in the IPL. They hadn't fired in the UAE leg of the tournament, but now they were back in their natural habitat at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, home to one of the best batting decks and some of the shortest boundaries in the world. At the toss Virat Kohli said his team knew the venue intimately, and he backed his batsmen to chase any target.

On Sunday, against Sunrisers Hyderabad, they had to chase 156. No team chasing 156 or less had ever lost here.

Royal Challengers came close to doing that. They lost Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli in the second over of their innings, and they lost Chris Gayle a little while after. Rilee Rossouw, sent in to bat at 6 for 2 on his IPL debut, was out after scoring 14 off 23. Yuvraj Singh then went for 14 off 16. Royal Challengers needed 61 from 33, and they were sinking.

But they still had AB de Villiers. A de Villiers who was getting down on one knee and launching anything remotely full over the straight boundary. When Yuvraj went, de Villiers was on 33 from 19, and had already struck three sixes.

Two more sixes and a four came off the next over, bowled by Darren Sammy, but Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulled things back by conceding just 12 from the 17th and 18th. On came Steyn again, with figures of 0 for 16 in three overs. Royal Challengers needed 28 from 12, and de Villiers was on strike.

The first ball, a slower ball, disappeared over deep square leg. The next went straight over the sightscreen. There are times when a batsman is simply seeing it too well, and there was nothing Steyn could do to stop de Villiers.

Two years ago, de Villiers had taken 23 runs off a Steyn over at the same ground. It became 23 for the over once again when de Villiers walked across his crease and scooped the last ball over the fine leg boundary and into the second tier of the stands.

Steyn applauded. It was that kind of shot. After de Villiers made the winning hit in the next over, swiping Irfan Pathan to the midwicket boundary, Steyn went up to the batsman and embraced him. It was that kind of innings.

Until de Villiers intervened, the match had been short of such typically Bangalorean happenings. After losing two early wickets, Sunrisers took their time to get going, with Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner going at under seven an over during their partnership of 62.

Part of this was down to some tight bowling from the home team, with Yuzvendra Chahal proving particularly hard to get away. He slid the ball across the two left-handers, Dhawan and Warner, took care not to drop the ball into their hitting zones, and bowled a lot of googlies.

Chahal went for 13 in his last over, with Warner finally managing to get him away, but till then, his spell had asked uncomfortable questions of the theory that legspinners can't bowl to left-handers in Twenty20 cricket. Karn Sharma did more of the same when Royal Challengers batted, dismissing Gayle, Rossouw and Yuvraj - three left-handers - while going for just 17 in his four overs. Still, Sunrisers were probably right to have left out Amit Mishra, considering the pitch, the opposition, his own form, and the slower pace at which he bowls.

When Chahal finished his spell, Sunrisers were 106 for 3 after 15. Despite losing Darren Sammy in the next over, they added 49 in the last five, with Warner profiting from a spate of full-tosses from Ashok Dinda in the 18th. It still seemed like they hadn't put enough on the board, considering the venue and their opponents, and in the end Royal Challengers simply had one world-class batsman too many.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jay on May 5, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    @Albert_campbell: At least they are better than Pakistani batsmen who are walking wickets. Except Misbah, nobody knows how to bat in Pakistani team.

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    ab came from the out of planet..watching his batting is the most beautiful things in cricet <3

  • Tshego on May 5, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    Better batsman between AB and MSD...?! This should be a no-brainer. Dhoni a good batsman in his own right but AB is a class apart.

  • Srinivas on May 5, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    I think time to "rest" Steyn and Sammy. Neither is providing anything and are proving too pricey in terms of price and nothing at all in cricketing terms. Time to bring on Pervez Rasool. Why is he still on the bench?

  • Mohammed on May 5, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    SRH fans rest assured: The team composition is very good and it is only the execution that has faltered at times. Nobody can predict what a batsman like AB will do and that is exactly what happened last night we should feel fortunate to have watched it live. SRH were easily 15-20 runs short and it showed. Although I myself follow SRH keenly I do not have any doubt with regards to their success. I am sure they can easily make the last four but they should be more tactful to convert these close matches into wins. I feel they are lagging behind tactically, some homework needs to be done by the coaching staff. Mr. Srikkanth and Co. will not do any good just sitting there and cheering the team they have professionals to do that, its time they put their mouths where their money is or else make way for people who can do better.

  • Mohammed on May 5, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    AB's stats and ranking speak for themselves nothing more needs to be said. I always felt that Steyn is slightly overrated although arguably he is one of the best of all times. It was a shame that Shikhar Dhawan did not mention Bhuvi in the same breath he praised the leggie. It was disappointing because Bhuvi does not have the same rating and unanimous touting as the best bowler in the side which Steyn enjoys yet day in and day out he puts in sterling performances for SRH. I believe that Bhuvi is far more stronger mentally than Steyn and the way he adjusts his line and length through the course of six balls is commendable to say the least. If I were captain I would definitely save one over from him in such situations. Another thing I notice in such onslaughts is that captains do not slow down the game a wee bit to break the pattern, although I am not entirely sure the outcome would have changed but it gives your bowler much needed respite. A little tactical conference perhaps next time?

  • Anver on May 5, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Finally AB showed his real class as batsman, in this year's IPL for RCB !!!!! Though the target was only 156, it was a tight finish in the end !!!

  • Android on May 5, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    trashing Steyn is so damn easy for Abd and msd

  • Kashi on May 5, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    Regardless of the fact RC won the game which I was not supportive of, all this talk about Dhoni being better than ABD is sheer rubbish. De Villiers is a class apart from any player in current cricket world I can think of. I have been watching cricket since MAK Pataudi, Clive Lloyd, Kanhai, GR Vishwanath days and have watched a lot of cricket. Some of the purists might not like ABD shot selection particularly in T20, but his class is apparent even here, when he makes even those shots almost risk free and at times against laws of physics. Dhoni is a power hitter at times but comparing with ABD is ridiculous. However effective Dhoni is , he is not too pleasing to watch, he certainly is no Kallicharan, Vishwanath or Lara and of course not ABD either. It is not just the number of paintings one does, but how the artistry is shown in each of them that is important - A true and original Bangalorean.

  • Dummy4 on May 5, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Those r saying that yesterday Steyn just bowled middle stump half volleys to Ab may also reckon it otherwise that he went deep in the crease to make the yorkers to hittable. another fact is really surprising that some people also rating De Villiers as just a freak t20 (and IPL) specialist on flat top, probably it'd be better to take a look at his test career, he's the current icc no 1 (virat no 10) Test batsman too. Avg in test in India 53.14, (HS in India: 217 in Ahmadabad, 2010) and avg in England is 54.50 (HS in Eng 174 in Leeds, 2008) one can clearly see the contrast and the skill, guys do u remember that match saving 33 (220) (246 min at crease on the 5th day of a test match: at Adelaide (2012) with Faf, and the 169 in Perth in the next test), in the last series vs Aus his 91 at fast-bouncy centurion have to be one of the best (Mitch Johnson's got 17.1-1-68-7 in it), or that 5th day 103 in Jo'burg vs India (2013) with faf again, or even the 164 vs Pakistan in Dubai (His HS in test

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