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AB de Villiers tears into Dale Steyn in IPL 2012

RCB needed 39 in three overs when AB de Villiers (above) hit 23 in an over from Dale Steyn © PTI
RCB needed 39 in three overs when AB de Villiers (above) hit 23 in an over from Dale Steyn © PTI

On May 6, 2012, AB de Villiers struck a sensational 17-ball 47 to help Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The highlight of the innings was de Villiers’s destruction of Dale Steyn in the 18th over while chasing a huge target. He smashed 23 runs off the over against the world’s premier fast bowler. Shrikant Shankar goes down memory lane to relive the incredible match.

Before getting into the above mentioned match, we should first acknowledge what happened on May 4, 2014. AB de Villiers produced batting magic to help Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) trump Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Bangalore needed 28 runs off 12 deliveries and Dale Steyn bowled the penultimate over. De Villiers struck 23 runs out of a total 24 runs in that 19th over and Bangalore won the match in the 20th. They say ‘Lightning never strikes the same place twice’. But for Steyn and an IPL team from Hyderabad, it did. This was the second occasion. Almost exactly two years ago, the first lightning struck.

May 6, 2012: Royal Challengers Bangalore entered Match 50 of IPL 2012 with back-to-back losses. Their captain Daniel Vettori was not in good form and opted out of the match and a young Virat Kohli stepped in his place. They needed a win to boost their chances of qualifying for the play-offs. Bangalore were playing against now defunct Deccan Chargers from Hyderabad. The venue was the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The date was May 6, 2012. Deccan came into the match with two wins sandwiched between three losses. They were languishing at the bottom of the IPL 2012 Points Table. Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl.

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Deccan Chargers: Deccan Chargers batted brilliantly to post 181 runs for the loss of only two wickets in their 20 overs. They played as if they were never struggling in the whole season. Batting was their main issue during the whole of IPL 2012, but on that day against Bangalore, Deccan were on top of their game. Daniel Harris and Shikhar Dhawan opened the batting for Deccan. The opening partnership was worth 86 runs and came at a run-rate of 7.26. The Australian Harris was run out in the 12th over. he had scored 47 off 41 deliveries with two fours and four sixes. Dhawan was batting on 36 as Cameron White joined him in the middle.

This pair added 82 runs at a run-rate of 11.18. The boundaries just kept flowing from their willows. White struck two fours and three sixes before being dismissed for a 24-ball 45. He returned a catch to left-arm medium bowler Prasanth Parameswaran on the first ball of the 20th over. Deccan captain Kumar Sangakkara walked into the middle and hit a four and a six to finish off the innings in style. He finished on an unbeaten 10 off three deliveries. Dhawan remained unbeaten on 73 off 52 deliveries with 10 fours and one six. Kohli had used seven bowlers and only one got a wicket that too in the last over. Bangalore’s already slim chances of qualifying for the play-offs looked more bleak.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Gayle opened the innings for Bangalore. The duo shared an 91-run stand at a run-rate of just over eight and-a-half. Gayle was the first wicket to fall for 26 off 22 deliveries with one four and two sixes. He was bowled by right-arm medium bowler Anand Rajan in the 11th over. Captain Kohli walked into the middle, but his stay was short as he was dismissed for nine off nine deliveries by Amit Mishra. Kohli smacked a full length delivery towards wide long-off. But Steyn jumped and caught the six-bound ball to Kohli’s surprise.

Asad Pathan also handed Steyn a catch off Mishra in the 14th over as Bangalore’s score read 106 for three. AB de Villiers joined Dilshan in the middle. But Dilshan perished on the second delivery of the 16th over. He was bowled by right-arm medium bowler Veer Pratap Singh for 71 off 54 deliveries with eight fours and two sixes. Bangalore’s score was 117 for four at the loss of Dilshan’s wicket. The required run-rate was a massive 13.92 runs an over. Mayank Agarwal took some initiative by hitting two sixes and one four in a six-ball 18 cameo. But Agarwal was out LBW to Ashish Reddy on the last ball of the 17th over. Bangalore needed a further 39 runs off 18 deliveries.

De Villiers tears into Steyn: Sangakkara gave the ball to Steyn, so, that he could bowl one good over and also have one left for the 20th and final over. Steyn had bowled his first two overs conceding only seven runs. His second over was a maiden, so, he was bowling well. De Villiers was on strike for the beginning of the 18th over. He was on nine off seven deliveries. The South African had struck only one four with a reverse-hit through backward-point.

Steyn charged in and bowled a 147.3 kmph delivery on a length just outside off-stump. De Villiers stood in his crease and pulled the ball for a flat six over deep mid-wicket. Steyn then bowled a 144.7 kmph yorker at middle-stump. De Villiers managed to hit the ball through deep square-leg for two runs. Steyn then bowled a 118.4 kmph slower length delivery on middle-stump. De Villiers went down on one knee and slammed the ball between the deep mid-wicket and long-on fielders for a four. Then came the shot of the tournament. Steyn bowled a 146 kmph yorker at middle-stump. De Villiers gave himself a little room on the off side and clobbered the ball high and long over deep extra-cover for a six.

Even Steyn could not appreciate the shot. He smiled on his way back to his run-up. Suddenly the pressure was on Deccan as Bangalore needed only 21 off 14 deliveries. Steyn’s fifth delivery was a 142.1 kmph half-volley outside off-stump. This time de Villiers moved to the off side, bent down and paddled the ball over and wide of the short fine-leg fielder for a four. Now 17 runs were needed off 13 deliveries. Sangakkara decided to discuss what to do with Steyn before he bowled the final delivery of the over. Steyn bowled his sixth delivery short and just outside off-stump. The speed gun clocked at 142.4 kmph. De Villiers smartly dabbed the ball towards third-man and took a single to keep strike. De Villiers had struck 23 runs off the six deliveries of the 18th over bowled by countryman Steyn.

What happened next

Bangalore now needed only 16 runs off 12 deliveries. Anand Rajan was to bowl the 19th over. The first two deliveries were struck for fours by de Villiers – one over extra-cover and the second down the ground. De Villiers then pulled the next ball which was short for a six. he then took a single towards deep cover. Syed Mohammad finished off the match with a four off the next delivery through deep mid-wicket. Bangalore beat Deccan by five wickets in 18.5 overs. De Villiers was the undisputed Man of the Match for his unbeaten 47 off 17 deliveries. He had struck five fours and three sixes and his strike-rate was a staggering 276.47. That sixth-wicket partnership was worth 42 runs at a run-rate of 22.90.

The victory however did not help Bangalore to qualify for the play-offs as they finished in fifth position. Deccan managed to get off the bottom and end in eight position ahead of Pune Warriors.

Brief scores:

Deccan Chargers 181 for 2 in 20 overs (Daniel Harris 47, Shikhar Dhawan 73*, Cameron White 45) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 185 for 5 in 18.5 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 71, Chris Gayle 26, AB de Villiers 47*) by 5 wickets.


Man of the Match: AB de Villiers

What happened two years later

On May 4, 2014, Kohli won the toss and again elected to bowl against an IPL team from Hyderabad — Sunrisers Hyderabad. Thanks to David Warner’s 61 off 49 deliveries, Sunrisers posted a total of 155 for six in their 20 overs. Warner struck four fours and three sixes. Captain Dhawan scored 37 off 36 deliveries with four fours. Bangalore didn’t start well and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Gayle scored 27 off 19 deliveries at the top of the order with three fours and two sixes. But the rest did not contribute enough. Just like in 2012, De Villiers walked in at No 5 and rescued Bangalore.

They needed 28 runs off 12 deliveries and Steyn was to bowl the 19th over. De Villiers hammered three sixes and one four off the over. A total of 24 runs came from that over alone, but de Villiers only faced five deliveries and scored 23 runs. Mitchell Starc faced one delivery and took a single. De Villiers finished off this match on the penultimate delivery of the innings with a four off Irfan Pathan through deep mid-wicket. Bangalore won by four wickets. Without any doubts, De Villiers was the Man of the Match again for his unbeaten 89 off 41 deliveries. He struck six fours and eight sixes at a strike-rate of 217.07. Lightning sometimes does strike the same place twice!

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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

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