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AB de Villiers showed off both his destructive capabilities and cricketing intelligence as the Proteas limited overs captain saw the Royal Challengers Bangalore home in a must win game against the Deccan Chargers at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday night. Chasing a massive 182 to win, Tillakaratne Dilshan had given the Royal Challengers an excellent platform with a typically beligerent innings of 71 (54), however, with 39 runs needed from the last 3 overs with just the tailenders for company, De Villiers came into a class of his own, playing each of the next 10 deliveries and scoring 38 runs off them to take his team within sniffing distance of victory in an incredible innings worth 47 which included 3 sixes and 5 boundaries. Earlier in the day, the Deccan Chargers seemed to have done enough with the bat, posting an excellent 181/2 courtesy some excellent innings at the top of the order from Shikhar Dhawan (73), Daniel Harris (47) and Cameron White (45).
Two teams at the wrong end of the Indian Premier League table collided on Sunday evening in desperate need of two points to reignite their respective campaigns. The flip of the coin went the way of the hosts and the Royal Challengers backed themselves chasing, inviting the Deccan Chargers to make first use of the pitch. RCB followed the Rajasthan Royals' example from yesterday, making changes en masse to their side with skipper Daniel Vettori and Andrew McDonald the international stars to miss out with the Sri Lankan duo of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Muttiah Muralitharan getting a game in their place. An illness to Sourabh Tiwary saw the India hopeful miss out, while million dollar man Vinay Kumar made way for young Abhimanyu Mithun.
The Deccan Chargers were a little calmer in their approach, making just the two changes with Daniel Harris coming in for Dan Christian, while Abhishek Jhunjhunwala was a surprise exclusion for Anand Rajan.
The new opening combination of Daniel Harris and Shikhar Dhawan started well for Deccan, safely negotiating the powerplay overs without much trouble, posting 46 runs in the process. Dhawan had played the role of the aggressor, while Harris took a while getting accustomed to alien conditions. The 32-year old South Australian decided to get a move on in the 8th over, taking on Dilshan, launching him for two sixes and a four on consecutive deliveries to lift the run rate. Muttiah Muralitharan though kept things tight from the other end, conceding just 6 runs in his first 2 overs. At the end of 9 overs, Deccan were a competitive 69/0, but needed to get a move on if they were going to post a challenging target for Chris Gayle & Co.
The opening partnership contributed 86 runs to Deccan's cause before Harris was run out for 47, courtesy a mix-up in the middle with Dhawan. Cameron White replaced his compatriot, and needed to get a move on right away as the overs ticked on.
White announced his intentions with a six off Syed Mohammad in the 14th over, but it was Shikhar Dhawan who was cranking up the heat with consecutive boundaries off Parameswaran to get to his half-century in just 39 balls. Runs kept coming at a decent clip, and it was White's turn to smash a six and 2 boundaries off consecutive deliveries in the 17th over from Abhimanyu Mithun to power Deccan forward. In the next over, Dhawan helped himself to 13 runs as Deccan were making a real fist of this contest. White launched another ball into orbit in the penultimate over from Zaheer Khan, before falling caught and bowled to Parameswaran for 45 (24b) in the final over. Kumar Sangakkara though helped Deccan finish strongly by hitting 10 from 3 balls including a last ball six to set RCB a challenging total of 181/2.
Bangalore began their repost in exciting fashion with Tillakaratne Dilshan getting some of his own back with a pair of boundaries in the first over. The former Lankan skipper dominated the powerplay while Chris Gayle, as has been his customary approach this season, took his time to get in. The powerful West Indian struck his sole boundary on the last ball of the powerplay as RCB posted 46 runs for no loss with Dilshan contributing 35 of those from just 21 deliveries. Dale Steyn had once again bowled his heart out, conceding 7 runs in his 2 overs (including a maiden) while the rest of the bowlers all went for more than 8 an over.
It wasn't long before Dilshan brought up his half-century, getting to the landmark in just 29 deliveries. At the end of 9 overs, Bangalore had cruised to 74/0 with Gayle still refusing to open his shoulders.
Gayle finally joined in the fun by spanking sixes in consecutive overs off Amit Mishra and Anand Rajan, the latter going straight out of the stadium. Rajan though got his own back on the very next ball, uprooting two of Gayle's stumps to dismiss the left-hander for an unusually sedate 26.
Deccan took the opportunity to sneak in some quiet overs leaving RCB at 102/1 at the end of 13, needing another 80 runs from the last 7 overs to win.
Amit Mishra made RCB's job even harder, landing a double blow in the 14th over to dismiss Virat Kohli (9) and Asad Pathan (4) within the space of a few deliveries. Both men were caught by Dale Steyn, with the former a gem of a catch.
The 16th over proved to be a big one in the context of the game with RCB scoring 17 runs, but the Chargers also picking up the vital wicket of Dilshan for 71. Mayank Agarwal came on and played a terrific cameo, scoring 18 from just 6 balls before falling leg before to Rajan. Heading into the last three overs, RCB needed 39 runs with two overs from Dale Steyn to come.
With the match up for grabs, AB de Villiers decided to take control of proceedings, taking on his compatriot Dale Steyn, smashing 23 runs from the 18th over including 2 sixes and 2 boundaries. So in tune was the South African captain, that he took a single on the final delivery to ensure that he kept the strike and took his side home. With only 16 needed now for the win, De Villiers hit 4, 4 and 6 from the first three balls of the over before taking a single to bring the scores level. Syed Mohammad did not need to face a ball till the scores were tied, but the left-hander showed that he could be trusted to do a job, hitting the only ball he faced for a boundary to seal the win with 7 balls to spare.
It was an incredible win for the Royal Challengers, delivered by the blade of AB de Villiers, who finished unbeaten on 47 off just 17 deliveries.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore find themselves on the road next when they make the trip to Mumbai to take on the Indians this coming Wednesday. The Deccan Chargers have a busy week ahead as they take on the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils in successive games in Hyderabad on Tuesday and Thursday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: T Dilshan, C Gayle, M Agarwal, V Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), A Pathan, Syed Mohammad, Zaheer Khan, A Mithun, P Parameswaran, M Muralitharan
Deccan Chargers: D Harris, P Patel (wk), S Dhawan, K Sangakkara (c), C White, A Sharma, A Ashish Reddy, A Mishra, D Steyn, A Rajan, Veer Pratap Singh
Deccan Chargers 181/2 (20 overs, 9.05rpo)
S Dhawan 73* (52) P Parameshwaran 1-45
C White 45 (24)
Royal Challengers Bangalore 185/5 (18.5 overs, 9.82rpo)
T Dilshan 71 (54) A Mishra 2-28
AB de Villiers 47* (17) VP Singh 1-34
RCB win by 5 wickets with 7 balls to spare
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