IPL 8: AB de Villiers , Virat Kohli leave MI breathless at home

De Villiers dazzles Wankhede Stadium crowd with 133 off just 59 balls while Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli (82 not out) too contributes to 39-run win over Mumbai Indians 

Wankhede Stadium is the home of Mumbai Indians, but it was Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) AB de Villiers and skipper Virat Kohli who looked more at ease there as they romped to a thumping 39-run win in an Indian Premier League clash yesterday. 

Royal Challenge Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli (right) congratulates AB de Villiers on his century against Mumbai Indians in an IPL fixture at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. PICs/ATUL KAMBLE

The win bettered RCB’s chances for a play-offs berth while MI are left with two must-win games (against KKR and SRH) to keep their hopes alive.

While De Villiers was on fire, Kohli (50-ball unbeaten 82) was like fuel to the South African, who scored a 59-ball 133 as the RCB duo posted a record highest partnership (215) of the IPL. Kieron Pollard (24-ball 49) and Lendl Simmons (53-ball 68) did put up a fight for MI, who eventually managed only 196-7 in their 20 overs.

What was astonishing was MI allowed RCB to explode despite restricting them to 39-1 in the Powerplay and getting the dangerous Chris Gayle (13) early. "We dropped catches. At this stage we need to take these catches. Our fielding was not that good today," lamented MI skipper Rohit Sharma.

De Villiers and Kohli took on the MI attack from the seventh over and never really looked back, slamming 88 runs in the last five overs with 31 runs coming off in the last three overs itself as the RCB duo entered IPL history books.

De Villiers’ batting was a mix of brutal hitting and marvelous shots all around the park. The South African’s three consecutive fours off Hardik Pandya in the 15th over forced the crowd chant ‘ABD, ABD’ and showed why he is regarded as the most destructive batsman in world cricket. De Villiers literally brought the crowd on their feet in the 17th over, smashing consecutive sixes off Jasprit Bumrah to bring up his second IPL century. He then took Pandya to the cleaners with hits of 4, 6, 4 that got his RCB teammate Chris Gayle mighty excited in the dressing room. Kohli ensured his partner got enough strike. He opened up towards the later part of the innings, matching de Villiers shot-by-shot, thus making most of his dropped catch on six.

Consecutive fours followed with a six off the last over ensured Kohli got a standing ovation from the crowd that had jeered him in the 2013 IPL.

With most MI bowlers unable to stop the run-riot, Rohit did not fully utilise veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, who conceded 30 runs in two overs.

"There were two set batsmen and it was going to be difficult for an off-spinner to bowl to them. I had faith in Pandya (3-0-51-0) as he did well in the last two matches. It happens," said Rohit.

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