Hashim Amla upstaged South African compatriot AB de Villiers in a Twenty20 clash for a change as Kings XI Punjab handed last year’s runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore their second defeat in the Indian Premier League on Monday. (HIGHLIGHTS) (IPL FULL COVERAGE)
AB de Villiers, playing his first match after missing the first two games due to back trouble, smashed an unbeaten 46-ball 89, the second highest knock of this edition, to guide RCB to a modest 148 for four. (SCORECARD)
However, Kings XI opener Amla played a steady hand to perfection, scoring an unbeaten 58 off 38 deliveries to take last year’s last-placed team to 150 for two, completing the eight-wicket win in 14.3 overs.
Second straight win
Amla’s heroics handed Kings XI Punjab their second win on the trot. Skipper Glenn Maxwell maintained his fiery form, scoring 43 not out off 22 balls, including four sixes and three fours.
Missing both skipper Virat Kohli and de Villiers due to injuries, RCB sorely missed their batting firepower in the first two matches. On Monday, KXIP once again left the Bangalore side reeling at 80 for four after 16 overs.
AB de Villiers played steadily before opening up, hammering nine sixes and three fours. He raised a 46-run partnership with Mandeep Singh and an unbeaten 80 with Stuart Binny, for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively.
While de Villiers’ innings was cheered on by the Indore crowd, Kings XI bowlers choked RCB’s scoring. Varun Aaron (2/21), Axar Patel (1/12) and Sandeep Sharma (1/26) were economical too.
In reply, Kings XI Punjab started on a strong note. Manan Vohra (34) and Amla struck 62 in six overs as the home team looked solid. The duo’s stand reached 50 in just 30 balls.
After Vohra fell leg before to pacer Tymal Mills, there was a brief lull and Axar Patel too followed Vohra.
But Maxwell arrived and combined with Amla to notch an unbeaten 72-run stand.
Amla played an uncharacteristic knock, going for boundaries from the start. Two quick wickets didn’t deter him. He was also dropped by fast bowler Brian Stanlake on 20, off Mills.
However, he kept his focus by reaching the half-century mark in 32 balls. The presence of Maxwell (43no, 22b) only stepped up the pace of the chase.
De Villiers’ magic
Earlier, de Villers replaced Chris Gayle – 25 runs short of 10,000 T20 runs --- in the Bangalore line-up, but nobody was complaining. He almost single-handedly took Bangalore close to the 150-mark.
Kings XI Punjab bowlers reduced RCB to 22/3 in five overs. Left-arm spinner Patel dismissed Shane Watson for the fourth time, Sandeep Sharma got Vishnu Vinod and Aaron picked the dangerous Kedar Jadhav.
De Villiers and Mandeep hit the occasional bounadaries but relied more on singles and twos. Bangalore reached 53/3 in 10 overs.
Their 46 run-stand in 49 balls was broken in the 14th over, after a brilliant catch by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
De Villiers reached his 22nd IPL half-century in just 34 balls. With Stuart Binny, de Villiers upped the ante in the final overs. He and Binny took Sandeep Sharma apart. The bowler had given seven runs in his first three overs. But de Villiers and Binny plundered 19 runs in the penultimate over of the innings, notching up 14 off the last over by Mohit Sharma.