A.B. de Villiers breezy knock of 40-ball 54 helped Royal Challengers Bangalore post a six-wicket win over Kochi Tuskers in the Indian Premier League encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
The South African's blitzkrieg on the crucial 18th over bowled by Raiphy Vincent Gomez, a surprise introduction by Mahela Jayawardene, blew away the challenge from the Tuskers, which looked to have an even chance until then.
Earlier, RCB started badly when Sreesanth had the in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan early. RCB found the going tough when it lost wickets at crucial junctures.
Virat Kohli survived a confident appeal of the Kerala pacer in the same over itself, but steadied the ship alongwith opener Mayank Agarwal before departing at 48. Agarwal also departed when the score read 85, caught by Vinay Kumar off Ravindra Jadeja. Saurabh Tiwary, walking in at No. 5, played a patient knock of 26 runs off 24 balls and added 52 runs with de Villiers.
The fall of wickets at crucial stages also seemed to open an even battle before Villiers came good and took the wind out of the Tuskers' sails. In the end, he was unbeaten with a brilliant 54, which included five sixes and a four
Earlier, Tuskers, after winning the toss, posted a fighting total of 161 for five. Brendon McCullum and V.V.S. Laxman gave the local side by ripping apart the RCB bowlers.
McCullum showed no mercy on Dirk Nannes, as the latter shared the new ball with Zaheer Khan, scoring 14 runs off the first three deliveries of the Australian.
Runs started to flow when Laxman too got into the act, carting Dilshan and Mithun over the ropes in successive overs. The Karnataka bowler had a dreary start to the season, giving away 19 runs in his one over.
The pair shared an 80-run partnership with a healthy rate of well over 9 runs per over before Laxman (36), going for a sweep, was caught, at deep midwicket off Dilshan. Kochi suffered another setback when McCullum too left at 92 when he mistimed a scoop off Kohli and was caught by Nannes at short thirdman.
There were no big partnerships thereafter for the Kochi side, but still even as it lost wickets at regular intervals the runs did however keep flowing with Brad Hodge (27) and skipper Jayawardene (18) putting on 32 runs for the third wicket. Ravindra Jadeja came good in the end overs with an innings of 19 off just 15 deliveries.
Daniel Vettori was the lone RCB bowler who came unscathed with figures of one for 17 off 4 overs.
Keywords: IPL 2011