Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 5 (de Villiers 75*, Patidar 31, Harshal 2-37) beat Delhi Capitals 170 for 4 (Pant 58*, Hetmyer 53*) by one run
The superman from South Africa, AB de Villiers delivered yet again with the bat to help RCB reclaim the top position on the points table on Tuesday. Riding on AB de Villiers’ game-changing 75-run knock, RCB posted 171 against DC at the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer took the game till the very last ball but fell short of one run in the end. Very rarely you see Rishabh Pant staying till the end couldn't finish the game. Nevertheless, nobody was more disappointed than Rishabh Pant himself.
On that note, let’s talk about three major talking points in the game:
When everyone fails, AB de Villiers stands up:
RCB have played 6 games so far and Ab de Villiers has already turned up with match-winning performances on three occasions. On Tuesday, at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium, de Villiers showed his class one more time against Delhi Capitals.
At 60 for 3 in 8.3 overs, RCB could have suffered another collapse like the last game had AB de Villiers not stepped to the occasion and compiled a 75-run knock off 42 balls. He stitched a 54-run partnership with Rajat Patidar for the fourth wicket. While boundaries weren’t easy to score, the duo made sure they keep taking the singles and doubles to not allow Delhi to put pressure on them. At the same time, they were also vigilant enough to hit the ball balls for boundaries.
Knowing that RCB don’t have anyone down the order to finish the innings strongly, AB de Villiers didn’t take the attacking route until the 15 overs. AB de Villiers had scored 28 runs off 22 balls till then. After that, he made sure he scores at least one boundary in an over and stays till the end.
It was the last over which changed the game. The South African hit as many as three sixes off Marcus Stoinis to take the team to a strong position. de Villiers once again showed how important he is to RCB. The 37-year old hasn’t played any competitive cricket for so long and to come up with such knocks is indeed special.
Death bowling woes? What’s that, says Royal Challengers Bangalore
You look at the figures of RCB’s fast bowlers today and you would say that were a bit on the expensive side. Mohammad Siraj and Harshal Patel went for 9.20 and 11 an over respectively. However, the duo was nothing short of outstanding at the death.
Perhaps, no one is enjoying the game more than Harshal Patel at the moment. Every time, he comes on to bowl, he would take a wicket for his side. His four overs are proving to be decisive in every game. Besides, bowling well in the middle overs, Harshal Patel has been at his best at the death as well.
Shimron Hetmyer had hit 3 sixes off Kyle Jamieson in the 18th over, which brought down the equation to 25 off 12. RCB hadn't won too many games why they were in that situation if one looks at their performances over the last few years.
However, they have found two outstanding options in Mohammad Siraj and Harshal Patel to overcome their death overs. Siraj has been bowling toe-crushing Yorkers at will, while Harshal Patel has equally valuable slower balls. Both have managed to restrict the opposition to 10-20 runs lesser than what they would have conceded last year. With Hetmyer and Rishabh Pant set at the crease, Harshal Patel and Siraj deserves all the praise for winning the game for the side.
Captaincy- A learning curve for Rishabh Pant
In T20 cricket, it takes only one over to change the game. In the 22nd game between RCB and DC, it was the final over of the first innings. Rishabh Pant perhaps made a tactical error in giving Marcus Stoinis the final over, with AB de Villiers at the crease. Amit Mishra who still had one over left was overlooked as Stoinis was given the ball.
The Australian hadn’t bowled in that match until then. It wasn’t the best decision from the skipper as it tilted the game in favour of RCB. AB de Villiers struck 3 sixes in the final over to take the side to a strong position. Those sixes eventually made the difference in the game. Nevertheless, it’s a learning curve for Pant, who would be keen to come back strongly in the next game.
What lies ahead for both sides?
Delhi Capitals would look to forget what happened in the previous game and put their focus on what’s ahead. They will face Kolkata Knight Riders in their next game on Thursday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, on the other hand, would be keen on maintaining the winning momentum. They face Punjab Kings next on Friday.
Questions to be answered?
Steve Smith has played three games but hasn’t looked that great as of now. Delhi Capitals desperately need someone at three who could anchor the innings for them. Would they persist with Steve Smith at three or replace him with Sam Billings.
1. Amit Mishra has now dismissed Glenn Maxwell on five occasions in IPL.
2. AB de Villiers has become the sixth batsman in IPL history to surpass 5,000 runs.
The South African cricketer is also the third-fastest to reach the landmark.