de Villiers’ blitzkrieg in vain as Kings XI cruises

The surface eased out as the match progressed and Kings XI Punjab breezed its way to a spectacular eight-wicket victory with more than five overs remaining in this IPL duel at the Holkar Stadium on Monday.

The mercurial Glen Maxwell (43 not out) cut loose, striking the most audacious of sixes, as he demoralised the RCB attack.   -  PTI

 

It was a good toss to win but Royal Challengers Bangalore made the wrong move. The Bengaluru side opted to bat on a greenish wicket that was bound to lend early assistance to bowlers.

The surface eased out as the match progressed and Kings XI Punjab breezed its way to a spectacular eight-wicket victory with more than five overs remaining in this IPL duel at the Holkar Stadium on Monday.

Cricket can be a cruel game and AB de Villiers, whose 46-ball unbeaten 89 was the most brilliant effort of the day, ended up on the losing side.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

For RCB, left-arm spinner Axar Patel – adjudged Man of the Match – bowled with exemplary control and had key batsman Shane Watson castled with the new ball. He gave little away, bowling close to the body and extracted bounce.

During the chase, Manan Vohra batted fluently on either side, whether stroking through covers, or whipping off his legs.

And Amla (58 not out) showed it was possible to play good, solid cricket and still get runs in this format. The elegant batsman has the gift of timing. There seems little effort even when he is lofting the ball into the stands.

Despite a couple of hiccups, Kings XI was seldom threatened. Then, the mercurial Maxwell (43 not out) cut loose, striking the most audacious of sixes, further demoralising the attack. Despite the brute force of his batting, Maxwell is an intelligent cricketer who plays around with field placements.

Butter fingers

Worse, RCB fielders dropped catches. Amla was put down on 20 by Billy Stanlake at fine-leg off Tymal Mills. Then Maxwell, on 13, was dropped by Mandeep Singh at point, off Shane Watson.

Earlier, de Villiers dazzled. He innovates to create, finds gaps with a surgeon’s precision and is effortless when he sends the ball climbing into the stands.

His was an innings that celebrated attacking batsmanship and was virtually a one-man show – Chris Gayle was left out of the side - after RCB was reduced to 68 for four in 13.1 overs.

The feature of de Villiers batting is the quickness with which he picks the length. A complete batsman, he can both dance down the track or stay back and play the ball late off the back-foot.

To top all that, his bat speed is incredible. The ball is dismissed in rapier-like fashion.

ABD the Maximum Man

Sandeep Sharma thought he had outfoxed de Villers when he saw the South African jumping out and looking for a heave down on-side and pitched short and wide. De Villiers, almost magically, shifted his body weight and somehow retained his balance as he got under the ball to direct it over cover-point for one of his nine sixes.

de Villiers slog-swept pacemen for sixes. There are times when he premeditates but is so quick that he can still has a plan ‘B’.

Mentally, he also forces the bowlers to operate to his strengths. de Villiers then manipulates their length.

Another gripping moment in the innings came when a fighting Mandeep Singh top-edged a short one from the lively Aaron and ‘keeper Saha, after a spectacular run, saw the swirl and flung himself to his right to come up with the ball only a few yards short of the ropes. It was a sensational effort by the ‘keeper.