A.B. de Villiers produced an innings of outstanding ferocity as RCB sucker-punched Deccan Chargers to claim a vital five-wicket victory in the IPL here on Sunday. The cause seemed hopeless with 69 runs required off the last five overs. But young Mayank Agarwal played a delightful little cameo (18, 6b) before de Villiers launched an astonishing late assault on compatriot Dale Steyn to leave Chargers gasping.
de Villiers took 23 runs off Steyn's over — the 18th — including two sixes (one an unbelievable hit off a yorker over extra cover), to turn the game on its head. The South African finished unbeaten on 47 (17b, 5x4, 3x6), the sixth-wicket pair adding 26 off 10 balls, as RCB romped home with seven balls to spare.
Deccan Chargers, riding on Shikhar Dhawan's unbeaten 73 and powered by his late flourish in collusion with Cameron White, had racked up a healthy 181.
RCB's initial response had not been too poor either, Tillakaratne Dilshan beginning remarkably well with a barrage of fours. Although Chris Gayle looked oddly subdued at the other end — even conceding a maiden in the face of some hostile bowling by Steyn — the scoreboard ticked over. Dilshan raised his fifty in the eighth over, mowing Amit Mishra to deep midwicket. At the other end, Gayle too sprang to life, striking Mishra into the stands for his 100th six in the IPL.
Ninety nine runs were needed off the last 10 overs, and when Gayle deposited Anand Rajan on top of the roof, it seemed the task was going to be no onerous one. The bowler, however, redeemed himself next ball bowling Gayle neck and crop.
Virat Kohli and Asad Pathan came and went as the runs dried up. The going seemed veritably difficult but Agarwal and de Villiers proved refreshing in their approach. Veer Pratap Singh and Ashish Reddy went for 17 and 13 runs respectively as the requirement dwindled to 39 runs off the last three overs. Agarwal fell but de Villiers, as Steyn will attest, didn't.
Earlier, RCB skipper Kohli won the toss and inserted the opponent in. Both sides sported changes — eight in total — as Daniel Vettori left himself out for Muttiah Muralitharan.
The visitors featured three new faces of its own, with Daniel Harris's replacement of Daniel Christian perhaps the most significant of them. In his last appearance on the ground, the former had battered a 58-ball hundred, for South Australia in the Champions League T20, and for a while here he looked of similar mood. Harris struck sixes off Dilshan and Zaheer Khan as Dhawan went about his accumulation relatively quietly. The pair drove Chargers to a steady 86 in 11.4 overs before Harris went, chancing a single.
RCB's reordering of its bowling group had proved largely fruitless, Muralitharan the only creditable performer of the lot, and it improved little after the opening wicket fell, for White and Dhawan decided to break free.
The Australian went after Abhimanyu Mithun, who leaked 16 runs in the 17th over, while Dhawan unfurled a pair of unconventional leg-side hits off Prasanth Parameswaran.
The two added 82 runs (44b) for the second wicket, White departing for a 24-ball-45.
Kumar Sangakkara did much with the three balls he faced, his six off the innings' final delivery helping Chargers breach 180.
Deccan Chargers: D. Harris (run out) 47 (41b, 2x4, 4x6), S. Dhawan (not out) 73 (52b, 10x4, 1x6), C. White c and b Parameswaran 45 (24b, 2x4, 3x6), K. Sangakkara (not out) 10 (3b, 1x4, 1x6); Extras (b-1, lb-2, w-3): 6; Total (for two wickets in 20 overs): 181.
Fall of wickets: 1-86 (Harris), 2-168 (White).
RCB bowling: Zaheer 4-0-32-0, Mithun 3-0-33-0, Parameswaran 4-0-45-1, Muralitharan 4-0-18-0, Dilshan 1-0-17-0, Syed 3-0-27-0, Gayle 1-0-6-0.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: T. Dilshan b Veer Pratap 71 (54b, 8x4, 2x6), C. Gayle b Rajan 26 (22b, 1x4, 2x6), V. Kohli c Steyn b Mishra 9 (9b, 1x4), Asad Pathan c Steyn b Mishra 4 (4b), A.B. de Villiers 47 (17b, 5x4, 3x6), M. Agarwal lbw b Ashish Reddy 18 (6b, 1x4, 2x6), Syed Mohammed (not out) 4 (1b); Extras (lb-2, w-4): 6; Total (for five wickets in 18.5 overs): 185.
Fall of wickets: 1-91 (Gayle), 2-102 (Kohli), 3-106 (Asad Pathan), 4-117 (Dilshan), 5-143 (Agarwal).
Deccan Chargers bowling: Dhawan 1-0-11-0, Steyn 3-1-30-0, Veer Pratap 3-0-34-1, Anand Rajan 3.5-0-44-1, Ashish Reddy 4-0-36-1, Mishra 4-0-28-2.
Man of the match: A.B. de Villiers.