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MI vs RCB : Magical de Villiers stuns Mumbai with 59-ball 133

IPL 2015

Mumbai 10 May 2015:The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai witnessed a massacre on Sunday after the Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated the home side Mumbai Indians by 39 runs. It was sweet revenge for RCB, who were handed similar punishment when the two teams met in Bengaluru earlier in the tournament. After opting to bat first, RCB posted 235 runs on the board and then restricted the hosts to 196-7. The result meant RCB, who were positioned sixth in the Pepsi IPL 2015 standings at the start of the match, leapfrogged to fourth place, while MI would slip one place to sixth.

27 dot balls, 26 fours, 9 sixes, a world record partnership of 215 runs, the highest total of the season – that was the story of RCB's innings in brief. Chris Gayle struck the 5000th six in the IPL before being dismissed by Lasith Malinga – for the first-ever time in the IPL – off the first ball of the fourth over. AB de Villiers batted out five dot balls making it a maiden over.

Little did the Mumbai Indians know that was the calm before the storm. Over the next 16 overs, there was a deluge of runs. And de Villiers was at the centre of all the damage being done. One got to see strokeplay of the highest order from the South African; he brought out his lightning quick footwork and played some delightful strokes all round the park. There were signals that there was something special in the offing when he struck his first boundary – an inside out stroke off left-arm spinner J Suchith. The following delivery, he was down the track and sent he ball racing wide of the fielder at mid on.

Together with those two boundaries, RCB had scored 39 runs by the end of six overs. In the next 14 overs, RCB added 196 runs. de Villiers brought up his second IPL century in the seventeenth over, carried on batting and finished unbeaten on 133 from 59 balls, decorated with 19 fours and four sixes. Virat Kohli, played the perfect foil at the other end, accumulating runs and batting through to the end; the RCB captain consumed 50 balls, but remained unbeaten on 82 and hit six fours and four sixes.

The association between de Villiers and Kohli was worth 215 runs – the highest-ever partnership in the history of T20 cricket. Just how good de Villiers was, and how responsible Kohli was, can be gauged from the fact that though both batsmen had faced the same number of deliveries – 15 – at the end of the seventh over, de Villiers took off after that – scoring 119 from the next 44 balls, while Kohli batted in the shadows scoring 65 runs in the next 35 balls. RCB finished their twenty overs at 235 for 1.

There were not too many opportunities that came their way – the batsmanship was of that supreme class. But MI will rue the catch put down by Harbhajan Singh very early in the innings; fielding at slip, Harbhajan Singh put down a regulation catch off Virat Kohli when the batsman had scored only two runs. Lasith Malinga was the only Mumbai Indians bowler to escape the onslaught of de Villiers; while the South African scored at a strike-rate of more than 200 against all bowlers - including the experienced Harbhajan Singh, against Malinga he only managed to score 17 from 13 balls at a strike-rate of 130.76. The Sri Lankan, after conceding just 13 runs in his first three overs – one of which was a maiden, finished his spell with figures of 4-1-24-1.

Mumbai Indians applied the same template as RCB, but couldn't apply it consistently and were done in by the pressure of the mounting required rate. Lendl Simmons dropped anchor and did the job that Kohli did for RCB, batting through the innings, while Kieron Pollard contributed 49 from 24 balls. Mumbai Indians finished their twenty overs at 196-7, falling 40 short.

For Royal Challengers Bangalore, the left-armer Sreenath Arvind, who picked up four wickets in the previous match, was outstanding yet again. On a graveyard of a pitch for bowlers, he conceded only 29 runs in four overs, while picking up the big wicket of Pollard. Harshal Patel (2-36) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2-51) were the other wicket-takers in the innings.

Brief Scores

Royal Challengers Bangalore 235-1 in 20.0 Overs (Virat Kohli 82*, AB de Villiers 133*)Mumbai Indians 196-7 in 20.0 Overs (Lendl Simmons 68*, Harshal Patel 2-36)

Man of the Match: AB de Villiers, for his 59-ball 133.

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