THE look on Virat Kohli’s face said it all.
AB de Villiers’ highlight reel includes some of the most audacious shots in T20 history — but even the world’s best batsman knew this was something special.
Playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their IPL clash against the Delhi Daredevils, de Villiers had already stamped his class all over the contest.
He’d smashed 59 runs from 34 balls to leave RCB needing just 10 runs from the final two overs as they pursued the Daredevils’ total of 4/181.
But with victory in sight de Villiers decided to finish in style.
Facing up against New Zealand quick Trent Boult, he took a giant stride towards the off-side to position himself for a delivery that may have been a wide if he left it.
But the South African wanted six runs, not one, and connected with a shot that comfortably cleared the mid-wicket boundary.
Kohli lifted his hands to his cheeks and his jaw dropped. This was pure class.
De Villiers (72 not out) added another maximum off the final delivery of Boult’s over to get RCB home with six balls to spare.
Earlier, he’d combined with Kohli (70 off 40 balls) in a 118-run, third-wicket matchwinning stand as Bangalore reached 5/187.
“It was a stiff chase, but in the mid-innings break AB told me ‘don’t worry, we’ll get this’, and that helped me get in the zone,” Kohli said. “I don’t need to say much, been an honour for me to bat with him.”
Delhi, out of contention for the playoffs, posted a competitive score after Kohli won the toss and opted to field.
Rishabh Pant (61) and skipper Shreyas Iyer (32) revived Delhi’s innings after legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2-28) removed both openers in his first two overs.
Pant and Iyer put on 93 runs for the third wicket, and Abhishek Sharma smashed 46 off 19 balls as Delhi scored 61 runs in the last five overs.
Kohli hit seven fours and three sixes before he was caught behind off legspinner Amit Mishra while going for a drive over covers.
But de Villiers, who hit six sixes and four boundaries in his 37-ball knock, made sure Bangalore didn’t suffer any more hiccups and raised the victory by smashing Boult (2/40) over the long off boundary.
Bangalore moved to seventh in the standings after its fourth win, and needs to win its remaining three games to stay in the hunt for the top four. Delhi remained at the bottom of the table after a ninth loss in 12 games.
“The table is wide open, right time to get the win,” Kohli said. “Bowling first is better in this stage, because it’s easier for batsmen to take responsibility. You can almost set up the game how you like. That’s what works for our boys.”
At Indore, Sunil Narine’s blistering 75 off 36 balls and captain Dinesh Karthik’s robust 50 off 23 lifted Kolkata to a massive 6-245 after Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and opted to chase on a small ground despite the best efforts of WA quick Andrew Tye who took, who took 4-41. Lokesh Rahul (66) hit his third successive half-century in the chase but the rest of the Punjab top order fell against Andre Russell (3-41). Ashwin made a quick 45 in vain as his team fell short on 8-214.
Kolkata moved to fourth, behind Punjab on net run-rate. But Punjab also has a game in hand.