Bangalore: This was supposed to be a fight between the boy scouts from Delhi and the generals from Bangalore. And the records will show that there was a battle alright but one that was won with ridiculous ease by the scouts with 23-year-old Quinton de Kock showing the way with a blazing century, the first in this year's IPL.
Delhi Daredevils batsman Quinton De Kock (R) raises his bat after scoring 50 runs while his teammate Karun Nair (L) looks on during the 2016 IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday. PIC/AFP
He got fantastic support from Karun Nair, who followed fellow Bangalorean Rahul Dravid to the Delhi Daredevils, as the visitors pulled off a major upset, overhauling Royal Challengers Bangalore's 191 with five balls and seven wickets to spare.
The key to chasing down an asking rate of close to 10 an over is to first begin well and then keep within striking distance of the required rate. Well, the Daredevils did that and more by getting off to a great start and then staying ahead of the asking rate.
It was a combination of some very effective hitting by De Kock (108, 51balls, 15x4, 3x6) first and Nair (54 not out, 42b, 6x4, 1x6) later, poor bowling by the RCB bowlers, who bowled both sides of the wicket, and a typical batting beauty laid out at the Chinnaswamy Stadium that made the night for the Daredevils.
If De Kock's square cutting was lethal, Nair's ability to drive on the up was a treat and as a combination they ensured with their 134-run third-wicket stand (77 balls) that it would be a night RCB will want to forget in a hurry.
Earlier, having been put into bat by Zaheer Khan, who made it clear that he wouldn't want to give Virat Kohli a chance to chase, RCB were again well served by AB De Villiers (55, 33b, 9x4, 1x6) and Kohli (79, 48b, 7x4, 3x6), this after the second successive failure of Chris Gayle. The second wicket duo raised 107 from 65 balls, following which Shane Watson clobbered a 19-ball 33 (2x4, 3x6) and RCB seemed well on their way to another total in excess of 200.
Ironically enough, it was after the costliest over of the innings, Zaheer going for 21 in his final over, that the game first turned. With RCB placed at a dangerous 164 for 2 at the end of the 16th over, DD had to be coaxed into resuming their bowling after the strategic time out.
But as it turned out, they used the time well; Chris Morris and the returning Mohd Shami coming back very strongly to keep RCB down to a mere 27 runs from the final four overs. That was the game-changer, though it did seem in the end that their hero De Kock would have chased down a few more too on the night.