Virat Kohli cracked a superb century (100, 63b, 12x4, 4x6) and put on a 172-run opening stand in 17.5 overs with captain Faf du Plessis (71, 47b, 7x4, 2x6) to fashion Royal Challengers Bangalore’s thumping, eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad and help the team move closer to the playoffs in the IPL at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday night.
It was a pity that the belligerence of Kohli and du Plessis put to shade a scintillating century earlier by Heinrich Klaasen for the home team when it was put into bat as Sunrisers suffered a sixth defeat in seven games at home.
Du Plessis was lucky to be dropped on eight in the deep off pacer Kartik Tyagi and later, when on 41, was caught off debutant Nitish Kumar Reddy of what turned out to be a no-ball after a review opted by the batter. But, importantly, he stayed in the middle even as Kohli displayed a dazzling array of strokes – the six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar to reach the century being the pick of the shots for sheer audacity.
Once again, the Sunrisers’ batting revolved around the brilliance of Klaasen and he raised the bar with a batting display which would be remembered for a long time for his ability to combine raw power and elegance with such remarkable ease against both pace and spin. The way he reads the pitch and the line and length of the bowlers was truly exceptional.
Klaasen strung together two crucial partnerships – the first of 76 for the third wicket off 50 balls with captain Aiden Markram and then another 74-run stand for the fourth wicket off 36 balls with Harry Brook - on both occasions being the dominant partner.
The way he reached the three-figure mark with a straight six off Harshal Patel in the 19th over was a treat to watch.
Klaasen’s onslaught came after Michael Bracewell struck a double blow in the fifth over – removing southpaw Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi. This saw the Sunrisers score only 49 for two in the power-play of six overs.
Local boy and pacer Mohammedd Siraj was exceptional, conceding only four runs in the final over and taking a wicket.
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