AB de Villiers bludgeoned a swashbuckling half-century to set up a crushing 82-run Indian Premier League win for Royal Challengers Bangalore over Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Knight Riders had won three consecutive matches, but they were brought back down to earth at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday.
It was an astonishing knock from De Villiers that made it very much advantage RCB, the maverick South African smashing 73 not out off just 33 balls to get his side up to an imposing 194-2.
De Villiers blasted six sixes and five fours, reaching his half-century in 23 deliveries as the likes of Andre Russell and Pat Cummins were taken to all parts.
Aaron Finch (47), Virat Kohli (33no) and Devdutt Padikkal (32) also contributed, but it was De Villiers who very much took centre stage with his highest score against KKR.
The Knight Riders could only make 112-9 in reply on a slow track, with the impressive Washington Sundar taking 2-20 from his four overs and Chris Morris 2-17.
All six RCB bowlers took at least one wicket and Yuzvendra Chahal finished with outstanding figures of 1-12 from the 24 deliveries he sent down.
Shubman Gill top-scored with 34 as only three Knight Riders batsman made double figures in an emphatic win that moved Kohli’s side above their opponents into third.
1 – AB de Villiers has just recorded an unbeaten 73 off 33 balls (221 SR); that’s his highest ever #IPL innings score against Kolkata Knight Riders. Class. #RCBvKKR #RCB #IPL2020 pic.twitter.com/T9oOcQVzBu
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) October 12, 2020
DE VILLIERS GOES BESERK
RCB were 94-2 when De Villiers joined Kohli at the crease in the 13th over after Finch was cleaned up by a Prasidh Krishna yorker.
The mercurial South African upstaged captain Kohli with a breathtaking knock, twice launching Kamlesh Nagarkoti for six – one disappearing out of the ground – and taking 19 off the 17th over from Cummins.
De Villiers continued to dish out some brutal treatment, Russell going for 34 off his final two overs in a stunning blitz to concede a half-century of runs.
Kohli was content to give De Villiers the strike and the wicketkeeper-batsman finished with a staggering strike rate of 221.21 to leave KKR facing a huge run chase.
MISERLY SUNDAR PUTS KKR IN A SPIN
Sundar has not taken as many wickets as he deserves in the tournament so far, but the spinner has certainly made a significant impact.
He has an economy rate of 4.90 from seven matches, only bettered by team-mate Morris (4.50) – who has played just the two games.
Sundar bowled Nitish Rana and also saw the back of Eoin Morgan in a run chase that never really got going, Tom Banton out for eight on his IPL debut.
The wily Morris also had another good day out, picking up a couple of wickets when the writing was already on the wall for KKR.