Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers helped Royal Challengers Bangalore overcome a major disruption to their plans and secure their fourth win of the season, bringing them level on points with the other top sides in the league. After Chris Gaylefell sick minutes before the match began and did not open, Royal Challengers stagnated, scoring only 67 for 3 by the 12th over, before de Villiers initiated the recovery during an aggressive partnership with Dilshan.
After Gayle’s dismissal for 4 – lbw to Brag Hogg’s quicker ball – de Villiers and Dilshan blitzed 122 in 8.2 overs, as the ball flew to and over the boundary through a combination of inventive and orthodox shots. De Villiers launched five sixes, hitting 59 off 23 balls, while Dilshan, who had scored only 38 off his first 39 balls, ended on 76 off 58 deliveries. They powered Royal Challengers to 189, a total that seemed a pipe dream earlier.
During Royals‘ chase, Rahul Dravid played an innings similar to what Dilshan had done for Royal Challengers. Dravid opened and scored steadily at one end, motoring to a half-century, while his partners struggled at the other. The asking-rate was rising rapidly, though, and left-arm spinner KP Appanna, who was brought in for this game, broke Royals’ chase. He dismissed the top four Royals batsmen, beginning with the in-form Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah, to finish with 4 for 19. While Dravid did a Dilshan, no one did a de Villiers for Royals, and the upshot was a 46-run defeat.
The impact de Villiers had on the match was immediate. After taking a three off his first ball, he began the acceleration by hoisting offspinner Ajit Chandila for consecutive sixes over midwicket in the 13th over. They were the first sixes of Royal Challengers’ innings. Though the next two overs had only a boundary each in them, de Villiers and Dilshan ran aggressively to increase the run flow. Dilshan then broke free in the 16th over, lofting Siddharth Trivedi over the long-off boundary and pulling him for four through square leg.
Hogg, who had troubled the earlier batsmen with his left-arm wrist spin, lost his line and length and was punished for consecutive boundaries by Dilshan. Even Kevon Cooper, who bowled economically in his first two overs, suffered towards the end, de Villiers carting him over the straight boundary before fishing out the reverse-paddle through fine leg.
The penultimate over was the innings’ most expensive – 21 runs came off it. After four quiet deliveries, one of which was a no-ball, de Villiers laid into Trivedi and hit the last three balls for two sixes and a four. Dilshan added the finishing touches by hitting the final two balls, from Cooper, to the fine leg and point boundary.
For Royals to challenge 189, they needed Rahane and Shah to fire. But only Dravid did. Rahane scratched around for 13 off 17 balls before swatting Appanna to long-on, where Luke Pomersbach, substituting for Gayle, took a well-judged catch running to his right. Appanna and Harshal Patel strung a few economical overs together between the sixth and tenth, which forced the asking-rate towards 13.
Shah eventually hit the innings’ first and only six in the 11th over, whipping Harshal over backward square leg, but was beaten by flight and turn from Appanna and stumped in the 12th. Dravid too lost his fluency after that, struggling to attack the left-arm spin, and his dismissal, holing out to extra cover, ended the Royals’ challenge.