For the second time in three matches, AB de Villiers showed that no equation is big enough for him. The dynamic batsman produced an enthralling half-century – his fourth of the IPL 2020 – to help Royal Challengers Bangalore snatch victory from jaws of defeat. De Villiers plundered an unbeaten 55 off just 22 balls as RCB beat RR by seven wickets in a last-over thriller, the win taking RCB to 12 points.
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When de Villiers walked out to bat, RCB needed 76 in 6.5 overs. Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli, who had added 79 runs for the second wicket had fallen to back-to-back deliveries. De Villiers took his time and set himself up for the final flourish. With 54 needed off the final over overs, de Villiers brought out the big shots and figuratively titled the balance in RCB’s favour by smacking left-arm quick Jaydev Unadkat for 25 runs in an over, where he cleared the boundary three times in a row. Supported ably by Gurkeerat Mann, playing his first match of the seasons, de Villiers delivered the knockout blow by connecting his sixth six – off Jofra Archer – to seal the win.
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After winning the toss and opting to bat, the Royals started well with Robin Uthappa and Ben Stokes putting on 50 runs for the first wicket. Opening the innings for the first time this season, Uthappa batted with flair and hit a flurry of boundaries, finally regaining form with a 22-ball 41. He hit Washington Sundar for three fours in the second over and took Isuru Udana for a four and a six. Next up, Navdeep Saini was taken for back-to-back boundaries, but just when he seemed set for a deserving fifty, Uthappa batsman top-edged Yuzvendra Chahal to Aaron Finch in the deep.
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RR were dealt a double blow with the wicket of Sanju Samson off the next ball. Steve Smith and Jos Buttler joined hands and added 57 runs for the fourth wicket. An out of touch Buttler departed but Smith kept RR going and got some much-needed runs under his belt. Chahal, who had given away 15 in his first three overs, went for 19 in his fourth, in which he overstepped twice. Smith eventually perished for 57 off 26 balls but Tewatia’s 19* off 11 balls lifted RR to 177/6.
In reply, Finch smoked a couple of sixes but was removed shortly after by leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. Padikkal and Kohli batted cautiously even though the asking rate remained on the higher side. The pair added a vital partnership before a tired Padikkal holed out in the deep. Next ball, RR were over the moon when Tewatia picked up a stunning catch in the deep to send back RCB skipper Kohli, but their joy was short-lived as another de Villiers special saw his side through.
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