AB de Villiers' unbeaten 79 off 47 balls ensured that Bangalore overcame a top-order collapse and chased down 159 with ten balls to spare, against Gujarat, and enter the finals of the Indian T20 League. In their chase Bangalore were reeling at 31 for 5 at the end of the Powerplay. Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Shane Watson's scores read, 9, 0, 0 and 1 respectively. Bangalore soon slumped to 68 for 6 when Stuart Binny fell. But de Villiers was still at the crease.
As wickets fell around him, de Villiers gave Bangalore some stability by milking the bowling. With Bangalore behind the D/L par and a thin drizzle in the air, he launched into the Gujarat attack and cleared the short boundaries repeatedly. He found good support from left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, as the pair added an unbeaten 91-run seventh-wicket stand to seal Bangalore's chase. On a pitch with assistance to the spinners, de Villiers adjusted to the conditions to negate Dhawal Kulkarni and Ravindra Jadeja.
Kulkarni had ripped into Bangalore's chase early by sending back Kohli for a duck in the second over. In the following over, he rattled Gayle's off stump and off the next ball had Rahul caught at slip. In his third over, he had Sachin Baby caught at cover to help his side sneak into the ascendancy.
In the first innings, Gujarat lost Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Suresh Raina inside the Powerplay, and Bangalore subsequently tied down their scoring rate. It took a 41-ball 73 from Dwayne Smith and lower-order camoes from Eklavya Dwivedi and Kulkarni to help Gujarat reach a decent total of 158.
"I was very, very nervous to be honest. I know if I was at the end, we would be close," de Villiers said after picking up the Man-of-the-Match award. "The one boundary just cleared the fielder [Finch] and I saw the ball well from then."
After the innings, his captain Kohli acknowledged de Villiers as the best current batsman. "That ends the debate who is the best. I bow down to the big man [AB]. Come the big game, AB stands up. One of the best knock under pressure. Really happy for him," Kohli said. "We have played good cricket coming into the playoffs. Today, the top order did not do well. I could see the opposition was worried about AB. Credit to Abdulla as well. Terrific composure from the young guy. The ball stopped early but eased in the second innings. It couldn't be a better scripted story for us: playoffs in Bangalore and final in Bangalore. This one is for the people of Bangalore."