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DUBAI: AB de Villiers’ 22-ball 55 fashioned an incredible seven-wicket victory for Royal Challengers Bangalore over Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League match on Saturday.
Chasing 178, De Villiers smashed six sixes to help RCB win the game after all seemed lost for them following the dismissal of Virat Kohli with the team struggling at 104 for three in the 14th over.
The seasoned South African launched into Jaydev Unadkat for three successive sixes in the 19th over to swing the match in his team’s favour.
He finished the game in style, hitting Jofra Archer for a maximum with two balls still to go. RCB lost Aaron Finch (14) after Australia’s limited overs captain had hit two sixes. Kohli and Padikkal stitched a 79-run partnership for the second wicket but consumed too many deliveries in doing so.
Then came the big wicket of Kohli, thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Tewatia, who pulled off a catch inches from the line at deep mid wicket. Kohli made 43 off 32 balls with the help of two sixes and a four.
The required run rate rose rapidly as RCB struggled to find the big overs, but de Villiers had other ideas.
Earlier, skipper Steve Smith’s counterattacking 36-ball 57 guided Rajasthan to 177 for six.
Smith struck six fours and one maximum before Chris Morris bowled a brilliant final over, conceding only four runs while taking two wickets to check RR from going past 180.
Earlier batting first, Rajasthan were off to a brisk start as opener Robin Uthappa (41 off 22 ball) launched into the RCB attack with a flurry of fours and a six. Back in his favoured position alongside Ben Stokes after another change in the combination, Uthappa saw his team play two quiet overs before smashing Washington Sundar for four boundaries in the innings’ third over.
Morris gave RCB their first breakthrough when he had the subdued Stokes caught down the leg side.
Uthappa scored two more boundaries, off pacer Navdeep Saini, before his slow sweep went into the hands of the deep mid-wicket fielder off the bowling of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Sanju Samson got going with a six that landed into the second tier of the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. (PTI)