Star South African batsman AB de Villiers struck a half century with a late flurry of sixes as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets to notch up their first win in the IPL-11 in Bengaluru on Friday. De Villiers (57 off 40 balls) played anchor after the early departure of captain Virat Kohli (21) before he opened up his arms towards the end for some lusty blows as the RCB chased down the target of 156 with three balls to spare.
This was after the RCB bowlers, led by pacer Umesh Yadav who took three wickets in an over, had shot out the KXIP for 155 after being sent into bat. Umesh rocked the KXIP innings with a three-wicket burst in an over as RCB bowled out the visitors for 155. Put into bat, KXIP were reduced to 36 for 3 in the fourth over after Umesh (3/23) dismissed Mayank Aggarwal (15), Aaron Finch (0) and Yuvraj Singh (4) in the space of six balls in his second over to leave the visiting side in trouble early in their innings.
De Villiers hit two fours and four sixes in his knock. He was out in the 18th over but by then he has taken the match to the threshold of victory with RCB needing just 10 runs from 1.5 overs. Mandeep Singh contributed 22 down the order while Washingotn Sundar (9 not out) hit the winning runs - four - as RCB reached 159 for 6 in 19.3 overs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. RCB had lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets in their first match on April 8.
RCB's run chase did not have the best of starts as Brendon McCullum got out in the second ball of the innings itself for a first ball duck. One-down Kohli was looking good in the company of Quinton de Kock (45), rotating the strike and getting the occasional boundaries, till he was cleaned bowled by a beauty of a delivery by Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/29) which went through the gate of the home captain.
The 17-year-old Afghan off-spinner Mujeeb bowled a googly from the back of the hand to deceive the India captain and get the prized wicket. It pitched outside off and zipped back in sharply, which Kohli tried to drive but missed it completely to see his stumps rattled in the fifth over. De Villiers came in and in company of compatriot de Kock steadied the RCB innings. The South African duo stitched 54 runs for the third wicket before KXIP Punjab captain Ashwin (2/30) took two wickets -- that of de Kock and Sarfaraz Khan (0) -- in successive deliveries to keep his side in the hunt for a victory.