Kohli de villiers

Virat Kohli (right) and Ab de Villiers shared a 93-run stand that came off just 40 balls © IANS (File Photo)

By Jaideep Vaidya

Delhi: May 10, 2013
 
Virat Kohli (99 off 58 balls) fell off the last ball one run short of what would have been a magnificent century, while AB de Villiers (32 not out off 17 balls) played his usual death overs cameo as Royal Challengers Bangalore posted an imposing 183 for four against the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The explosive pair shared a 93-run stand that came off just 40 balls after the Daredevils had done well in the first half of the innings. They pelted 77 runs in the last four overs to snatch away the initiative from the hosts, who are searching for their fourth win of the season.

Earlier, the Daredevils popped up a surprise at toss time when David Warner walked to the centre to join his counterpart Kohli, instead of Mahela Jayawardene. Perhaps they did it because Jayawardene would have to miss their next game in Chennai due to a political issue and wanted to give Warner some captaincy practice, or perhaps because Jayawardene had lost all the tosses at home this season. If it was the latter, the ploy worked as Warner won the toss and put the Royal Challengers in to bat considering the dew and because Delhi “like to chase”.
 
The Daredevils’ decision was justified straight away as Chris Gayle (4) dragged Irfan Pathan’s short and away-moving delivery onto his stumps in the second over of the innings. The big basher from Jamaica had smashed 128 not out from 67 balls in his last outing at the Kotla, so the Daredevils’ ecstasy on walking his back so early was understood.

Gayle’s opening partner, Cheteshwar Pujara, hit a few confident boundaries before himself being bowled by pacer Siddharth Kaul. The Daredevils would even have had another one if Morne Morkel hadn’t overstepped before finding Virat Kohli’s outside edge. But with RCB on 32 for two in the first five overs, DD would have been pleased with their efforts.
 
Captain Kohli’s last six games had gotten him scores of 1, 11, 1, 32, 25 and 14. Among the leading run-scorers in the early part of the tournament, he had gone through a minor slump and needed some runs under his belt. That’s exactly what he did today.

Kohli paced his innings a tad slower than he usually does in this shortest format, at least in the initial part of his innings, but more importantly provided the stability that was required for RCB after the two early wickets. Together with Moises Henriques, Kohli buoyed Bangalore out of deep waters and set them on towards a decent, if not big, total.
 
Kohli lost Henriques (26 off 22 balls) in the 14th over to a superb return catch taken by Shahbaz Nadeem as RCB’s run-rate dwindled a bit. Just 32 runs were scored between overs 10 and 16, as RCB reached 106 for three with four overs to go. And then, as if on cue, a switch flicked on.

De Villiers was down to his usual acrobatics at the crease — scooping, pulling, swatting and driving with ease. Kohli too let loose as he made a dash for what would be his first century this season. In the end, the 24-year-old was run out off the last ball after trying to sneak in a couple to get to three figures and flung his bat down in frustration.

You couldn’t say that wasn’t expected from the hot-headed lad, but after cooling down a bit in the dressing room, he would realise he’s done well to put RCB in a strong position — Kohli’s first 50 runs had come from 44 balls; the next 49 took just 14.
 
Brief scores:
 
Royal Challengers Bangalore 183 for 4 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 99, AB de Villiers 32*; S Nadeem 1 for 23) vs Delhi Daredevils.
 
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