Having notched up a morale-boosting win over Delhi Daredevils without some of their star players, Royal Challengers Bangalore face another test of character when they face Kings XI Punjab in their third IPL match in Indore on Monday.
In reply, Hashim Amla (58*) and Manan Vohra (34) got about the business of cutting down the mediocre RCB total in right earnest.
Amla though continued in his cavalier style, hitting proper cricketing shots to yet again show how ordinary RCB’s bowling attack is. Axar Patel was quick to follow suite but Glenn Maxwell came on to the crease and finished the job off.
Once Mandeep fell, Stuart Binny (18 n.o., 20b, 1×4, 1×6) came in, and apart from a couple of balls when he hit a six and a four, he watched from the other end as De Villiers went insane.
Kings XI Coach Virender Sehwag will be very pleased with the team’s overall performance during the first game against RPS. Axar Patel cleaning up Watson’s stumps.
Royal Challengers Bangalore produced a clinical bowling display after Kedar Jadhav’s batting heroics as they beat Delhi Daredevils by 15 runs in their IPL match here today.
However, other opener Vishnu Vinod (7) also tried to get into the act in the next over off Sandeep Sharma but he was cramped for room and ended up giving a simple catch to Maxwell at the long-on boundary.
Shaking off a back injury, de Villiers had returned to the starting 11 at the expense of the explosive Chris Gayle who had failed to fire in the first two matches of the season.
The Royal Challengers looked set to be in for a hard day when Chris Gayle (6), Mandeep Singh (12) and Watson (24) all failed to make a significant impression with the bat.
Billings hit a six off a reverse sweep in the seventh over bowled by Yuzvender Chahal but fell in the next over off Iqbal Abdulla as Delhi were reduced to 55 for 3.
Earlier, de Villiers dazzled. The run-rate had slumped to under six by the end of the 13th over and that was a cause of worry.
Mandeep was sent back to pavilion in the 14th over by Varun Aaron, who claimed his second wicket.
Delhi fumbled in the chase, being restricted to 142/9 as they lost by 15 runs. The feature of de Villiers’ batting is the quickness with which he picks the length. He then hit two big sixes off the bowling of Marcus Stoinis in the 17th over, in the process also completing his half-century. On a fuller delivery outside off, de Villiers’ heavy bat came down on the ball with a lot of power, creaming it over cover fielders for a six.
“What is important for us is to set ourselves for the best possible chance to win the first game and have the result go our way in every game we play over the next six weeks”.
De Villiers smacked 9 sixes and 3 boundaries to score 89 not out off a mere 46 balls, whereas Mandeep Singh (28) and Stuart Binny (18 not out) held the innings together.