‘Superman’ De Villiers steers Bangalore to IPL finalArchive
BANGALORE: South Africa’s A.B. de Villiers hit an unbeaten 79 to single-handedly steer Royal Challengers Bangalore to the Indian Premier League final, as they beat Gujarat Lions by four wickets in the first qualifier here at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing 159 for victory, the Royal Challengers were reduced to 68-6 before De Villiers’ blitz fired the team home in 18.2 overs.
Gujarat medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (4-14) hurt Bangalore with early strikes as red-hot openers Virat Kohli (0) and Chris Gayle (9) were back in the dugout early.
Coming in at number three, De Villiers stayed calm to stitch an unbeaten 91-run partnership with Iqbal Abdullah (33) to stun the opposition in front of a raucous home crowd.
Man-of-the-match De Villiers smashed five fours and five sixes during his 47-ball stay as the top-order batsman snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat.
Earlier put into bat, Gujarat rode on West Indies batsman Dwayne Smith’s 41-ball 73 to post a respectable 158 all out in 20 overs.
Smith lifted Gujarat from a precarious 9-3 to stitch a 85-run fourth-wicket partnership with Dinesh Karthik as the duo counter attacked with great effect.
The West Indies all-rounder took charge to teach the Bangalore spinners a bitter lesson as he smashed five boundaries and six sixes during his entertaining knock.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal got the dangerous Smith back in the dugout as Australian all-rounder Shane Watson (4-29) wiped out the Gujarat tail.
After left-arm spinner Abdullah’s double strike to get openers Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch out early it was Watson who hurt Gujarat’s bid to score big.
The Suresh Raina-led Gujarat though will have another shot at securing a final berth when they meet the winner of the Eliminator in the second qualifier in New Delhi on Friday.
GUJARAT LIONS 158 in 20 overs (D.R. Smith 73, K.D. Karthik 26, E.R. Dwivedi 19; S.R. Watson 4-29, C.J. Jordan 2-26, Iqbal Abdulla 2-38); ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE 159-6 in 18.2 overs (A.B. de Villiers 79 not out, Iqbal Abdulla 33 not out, S.T.R. Binny 21; D.S. Kulkarni 4-14, R.A. Jadeja 2-21).
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2016