IPL 2020, RCB vs KKR: AB de Villiers special floors Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah
The impact of Virat Kohli and his batting exploits over the years has been such that wherever he plays, he is looked up to as the benchmark. There are exceptions though, and when the other man in question is AB de Villiers and he plays fire to the ice at the other end, it leaves fans with plenty to cheer. Still, what transpired at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday needs to be looked through the prism of Kohli’s lofty standards.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain came into the match on the back of an unbeaten 90 that had single-handedly led his team to victory against Chennai Super Kings. Yet, on a Sharjah pitch that seemed to have become slow halfway into IPL 2020, Kohli was not his aggressive self. His attempts were mistimed, and he missed the line of the ball too on some occasions.
Still things fell perfectly into place for RCB because of the de Villiers show.
Conditions did not matter to de Villiers as he timed his hits to perfection. There was brute power of course, but along with it was a perfect sense of finding the gaps on the field, thus resulting in a chanceless knock. When RCB finished on 194/2 in 20 overs, de Villiers had shared an unbroken 100-run stand from 46 deliveries with Kohli. Out of those, 73 were scored by de Villiers in 33 balls.
To match de Villiers’ onslaught, KKR needed the pyro-techniques of Andre Russell to come to the fore. He fell for 16 while no other teammate could muster a robust reply as KKR lost by 82 runs after finishing on 112/9. It was also a loud statement on the quality of RCB’s bowling unit this season.
It was all about de Villiers though. The KKR bowlers kept a tight leash till the 15th over with RCB reaching 111/2 as the ball kept low and gripped. Due to the mayhem the South African unleashed after that, 83 runs were scored in the final five overs.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti had looked to be KKR’s best bowler till then, having conceded just 18 runs in three overs. But as de Villiers hit the top gear, the young paceman was stunned with 18 runs scored in his final over. Pat Cummins and Andre Russell were the next to suffer as de Villiers scored his third half-century of the IPL 2020.
As KKR batting once again failed to find rhythm, RCB bowlers took over, raising hopes that this could be the year.