De Villiers sizzles yet again as RCB beats Kings XI Punjab

The South African dug Royal Challengers Bangalore out of a bit of a hole yet again, striking a 40-ball-57 in a four-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab

Royal Challengers Bangalore's AB de Villiers celebrates his half-century against Kings XI Punjab.   -  AP

This is a new season, but A.B. de Villiers is still his old self. The South African dug Royal Challengers Bangalore out of a bit of a hole yet again, striking a 40-ball-57 in a four-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Friday.

As it happened

Umesh Yadav's three for 23 had helped RCB restrict Punjab to 155 but the pursuit of that target was far from straightforward. Forty-one runs were needed off the last four overs when de Villiers went after Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Zadran).

 

The off-spinner, who had conceded 10 runs off his first three overs, went for 19 in his last, de Villiers hammering a pair of sixes off the final two balls of his spell. The win was RCB's first at home after a run of five losses.

The run chase began in inauspicious fashion for the home side, Brendon McCullum dismissed off the second ball as Punjab opened with spin from both ends. Virat Kohli unfurled a couple of delightful drives before he fell in dramatic fashion to Mujeeb. The 17-year-old Afghan, who was sold for 4 crore in the auction, has a variety of off-breaks and carrom balls in his arsenal and he bowled Kohli with a googly from the back of the hand; there was not a murmur in the crowd.

De Villiers and Quinton de Kock restored control, though, adding 54 runs for the fourth wicket. It was R. Ashwin who broke that alliance, bowling de Kock for 45. The Punjab captain struck next ball, paying homage to Anil Kumble with his action and removing Sarfaraz Khan.

 

RCB appeared rattled but De Villiers and Mandeep Singh stood firm, stitching together a partnership of 59.

Earlier, having been inserted in to bat, Punjab failed to put the fielding side under sustained pressure. This was due in no small part to a triple strike from Umesh Yadav in the fourth over.

The openers K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal — no strangers to this ground — had begun well, the former battering Chris Woakes for 16 runs in the first over. But Yadav had Agarwal edge behind, de Kock taking a flying catch, before trapping Aaron Finch leg-before first ball.

Yuvraj Singh was bowled through the gate off the over's final delivery, leaving Punjab three down in the blink of an eye.

 

Rahul, who again seemed in a hurry, clouting four sixes, and Karun Nair then added 58 runs for the fourth wicket before Washington Sundar intervened. Rahul fell four short of a fifty to the off-spinner, his swipe across the line taking the top edge.

Nair was bowled by Kulwant Khejroliya for 29 not long after, and when Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel fell in the following two overs, Punjab had lost four for 28 in four overs.

Ashwin arrested the slide with a 21-ball-33, an innings that included a six off Yuzvendra Chahal, as Punjab limped past 150.

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