IPL 2021: Superman AB de Villiers does it again for RCB

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 9, 2021

South African hits 48 as Virat Kohli’s side nicks a last-ball two-wicket win over Mumbai Indians at the Chepauk in Chennai.

After successfully lapping UAE shores less than six months ago, the Indian Premier League (IPL) returned home to India for the 14th edition of the cash-rich franchise league. And true to its form of producing nail-biting thrillers, this year’s tournament opener, on Friday night, threw up another one of those epic classics.

It was a cracker of a match-up — the Mumbai Indians squaring off against the Royal Challengers Bangalore — and it lived up to it before Virat Kohli’s side nicked a last-ball two-wicket win at the Chepauk in Chennai.

It was an all too familiar collapse for the Royal Challengers Bangalore despite getting reinforcements during the mini-auction in February. But, as has been the case with those slip-ups, it is not over until AB de Villiers has sung, so to speak, and so it proved.

The South African freak of nature has done it time and time again and he conjured another one of this ‘Superman’ specials — a swashbuckling 48 from 27 deliveries, garnished with four boundaries and two sixes.And although he wasn’t there in the end to switch off the lights on the Mumbai Indians, ABD had done more than enough for bowling hero Harshal Patel to put the opposition to bed.

Chasing a target of 160 and needing seven off the last over bowled by young South African left-arm pacer Marco Jansen, it was high drama as De Villiers was run out while attempting a double. RCB required two from two and they got a leg bye before Patel scampered through for the winning run.

“It was an incredible game of cricket, always seems to be against Mumbai,” De Villiers told the host broadcaster.

“There's a reason why Mumbai have won this trophy five times, there's a lot of aura around them. But that was the challenge, to beat the champions and get a lot of confidence. We did well tonight,” he added.

Earlier, medium pacer Patel scythed through the Mumbai Indians strong batting line-up to restrict them to a modest total after the five-time champions were looking good for a score of around 180 or so.

The 30-year-old returned with five wickets, including three in the last over to keep the defending and five-time champions down to 159-9.

Patel accounted for Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Krunal Pandya, towering West Indian Kieron Pollard and Marco Jansen, as RCB conceded just 25 runs in the last four overs.

Opener Chris Lynn fell one short of a half-century on his Mumbai Indians debut. Lynn, who turns 31 on Saturday, coshed a 35-ball 49, spiced with four boundaries and three sixes.

“When they traded me, they told me I was part of the plans and would bowl at the death. I’m absolutely delighted to be here and to be able to repay the faith shown in me,” said Patel, who was traded by RCB along with Daniel Sams, from Delhi Capitals.

“I didn't know I was the first to get a five-for against Mumbai. This is my first five-for in 98 matches and to get it against a team like Mumbai is special,” added the 30-year-old, who was adjudged the match of the match.

Meanwhile, skipper Kohli was delighted that his team came out on the right side against heavyweights Mumbai.

“It was important to play against the strongest opposition to test the depth of your team,” said Kohli.

RCB conceded just 25 runs in the last four overs after putting the Mumbai Indians into bat.

“Those last six overs for us with the ball were probably the best we have ever had. Harshal is relishing the role. He is going to be our designated death bowler. As a captain, you want someone with that clarity. In T20 cricket, that's all you ask from the bowler. And the wickets that he got weren't fluke wickets. He actually wanted the guys to hit the ball where he wanted them caught,” he added.

RCB take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their next match on Wednesday.

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