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De Villiers, Kohli inspire Bangalore to victory

De Villiers, Kohli inspire Bangalore to victory

PUNE: Royal Challengers Bangalore maintained their clean slate in Pune with an impressive 13-run victory over hosts Rising Pune Supergiants in the IPL at the MCA Stadium here on Friday night.

Boosted by a scintillating 155-run stand between captain Virat Kohli (80 off 63 balls, seven fours and two sixes) and A.B. de Villiers (83 off 46, six fours and four sixes), Bangalore posted a challenging 185-3 before curtailing Pune to 172-8 in their maiden outing at home.

Pune’s three overseas stars — Francois du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen and Steve Smith — were back in the dugout in the space of just six balls. After du Plessis was out, Pietersen was forced to retire with a pulled calf muscle. Pune were tormented when Smith was run out by Kohli.

Those setbacks forced Ajinkya Rahane (60) and captain M.S. Dhoni (41) to play with caution. They salvaged the innings with a 91-run stand before Rahane was stumped off debutant South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

Pune needed 70 off the last five overs, but once Dhoni perished, their hopes were almost dashed. But Thisara Perera smashed three fours and two sixes in the 18th over to bring Pune back in the contest. With 25 needed from 12, Shane Watson removed Perera (34 off 13 balls).

Needing an improbable 21 in the last over, Kane Richardson kept it tight and gave away only seven runs while taking two wickets.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2016

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