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24 February 2024

De Villiers hits 57 to help Royal Challengers Bangalore win

Photo: AP


South Africa's star batsman AB de Villiers scored 57 runs off 40 balls as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab to secure a first win in the 2018 Indian Premier League on Friday.

De Villiers hit two fours and four sixes to rescue his team from a precarious 87-4 when needing 156 for victory. De Villiers fell with the score on 146 and Bangalore won with three balls to spare, finishing on 159-6.

"I really wanted to get (the team) over the line," de Villers said. "I love guiding the team to victory being unbeaten, unfortunately I couldn't do that."

The run chase, although modest, started badly when big-hitter Brendon McCullum was out for a golden duck off Axar Patel's second ball, while 17-year-old Afghanistan off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman got the prize wicket of the prolific Virat Kohli, bowling the India captain out for 21 from 16 balls.

Kohli was warming up nicely for a big knock, with four fours.

South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock held the top order together with 45 off 34 balls, inclusive seven fours and a six. But Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin struck twice in two balls to remove him and Sarfaraz Khan for a golden duck.

De Villiers, outstanding in South Africa's recent series win at home to Australia, took control of the situation in typically composed style. He put on 59 runs for the fifth wicket with Mandeep Singh, who scored a valuable 22.

Earlier, opener Lokesh Rahul top-scored for Punjab with 47 off 30 balls.

But fast-medium pace of Umesh Yadav pegged Punjab back from 32-0 to 36-3. He produced his brilliant triple strike in the space of six balls, removing Mayank Agarwal for 15, the dangerous Aaron Finch - leg before wicket for a golden duck - and then Yuvraj Singh for four.

The 18-year-old Indian spinner Washington Sundar then snared his countryman Rahul, inducing a top-edge to third man, to leave Punjab 94-4.

Ashwin's aggressive 33 off 21 balls helped Punjab sneak past 150, but it was not enough to apply serious pressure.

"I always thought we had our backs against the wall because we were about 20-30 short," Ashwin said. "Still, we fought hard."