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IPL 9: Virat on the three-top

Kohli slams his third hundred in IPL-9; AB too scores ton as RCB thrash Gujarat by record margin

Bangalore: The Karnataka government need not spend any money on cloud-seeding this year. For, the Royal Challengers Bangalore duo of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli have gone and done just that.

AB de Villiers punches the air after reaching his 100 in Bangalore and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli celebrates his ton against Gujarat Lions at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. Pics/PTI
AB de Villiers punches the air after reaching his 100 in Bangalore and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli celebrates his ton against Gujarat Lions at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. Pics/PTI

It rained fours and sixes, 16 and 20 in respective numbers, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. The second wicket pair broke record after record as they batted a hapless Gujarat Lions out of the match.

Centuries by either batsman, the first time its happened in a IPL innings, a 229-run stand, the highest ever in IPL history, all meant RCB, after being put into bat, notched up 248. Needing to score 12.45 an over, the Gujarat innings, which saw Ravindra Jadeja batting at No 3 in place of the absent Suresh Raina, never got going. Poorly placed at 54-5 at the end of the 10th over, they folded up for 104 to hand RCB a 144-run victory, which is the highest ever margin in the IPL.

Having turned up in green in support of the environment, things seemed to be normal when they lost Chris Gayle to a 13-ball six after Praveen Kumar had begun with a maiden. At 19-1 in four overs, another modest total loomed. De Villiers (129 not out, 52b, 10x4, 12x6, SR 248) had other plans though as he started to take apart each and every bowler that stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum threw into the ring. Mystery spinner Shivil Kaushik kept him quiet for his first few deliveries, after which De Villiers responded the way only he can. Staying on the backfoot he produced tremendous bat speed to send the white ball roaring over the cover fence and into the packed stands. He was to play many such strokes, many of them unbelievable efforts. Bad ball, good ball, very good ball, nothing mattered.

And when Kohli (109, 55b, 5x4, 8x6, SR 198), who played his first really confident shot in the 10th over, too got into the act, there was no looking back, it was all about looking up to see where the next ball disappeared. As many as 112 runs came off the final five overs of the innings, 23 runs off Kumar’s over and 30 each off Kaushik and Dwayne Bravo sending the crowd into raptures.

Only Jadeja, who with a turning first ball almost got De Villiers stumped, was given some respect but such was the evening that he was still slammed for one four and three sixes. Even the RCB bowlers couldn’t lose this one, not even with Kohli, Gayle and Sachin Baby rolling their arms over. The home team thus lived to fight another day while leaving the Lions with a mauling they will remember for some time to come.

144 runs
The biggest victory margin in the IPL

229
Number of runs put on by AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, the highest in T20 history

Three
Virat Kohli becomes the first batsman to score three IPL centuries in one season

Brief scores
RCB 248-3 in 20 overs (De Villiers 129*, V Kohli 109; P Kumar 2-45) beat Gujarat Lions 104 all out in 18.4 overs (A Finch 37;C Jordan 4-11, Y Chahal 3-19, S Baby 2-4) by 144 runs 

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