DUBAI: A swashbuckling 22-ball 55 by AB de Villiers earned Royal Challengers Bangalore an incredible seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League match, in Dubai, on Saturday.
Chasing 178 for victory, De Villiers smashed six sixes as the Royal Challengers fought back when all seemed lost for them following the dismissal of Virat Kohli with the team struggling at 104 for three in the 14th over.
The seasoned South African launched into Jaydev Unadkat for three successive sixes in the 19th over to swing the match his team's way. He finished the game in style, hitting Jofra Archer for a maximum with two balls still to go.
Royal Challengers lost Aaron Finch (14) after Australia's limited-overs captain had hit two sixes.
Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal stitched a 79-run partnership for the second wicket but consumed too many deliveries in doing so, failing to keep pace with the required run rate.
Kohli brought the team's hundred by lofting Rahul Tewatia for a big six over long-on, but Padikkal, while trying to break the shackles after struggling his way to 35 off 37 balls, was out when his pull shot failed to clear Ben Stokes in the deep.
Kohli scored 43 off 32 balls, with the help of two sixes and a four.
The required run rate rose rapidly as the Royal Challengers struggled to find the big overs, but de Villiers had other ideas.
Earlier, captain Steve Smith scored a counter-attacking 36-ball 57 to guide Rajasthan Royals to 177 for 6. The Australian batsman struck six fours and one maximum before Chris Morris bowled a brilliant final over, conceding only four runs while taking two wickets, to prevent Rajasthan Royals from going past 180. Fast-medium bowler Morris finished with excellent figures of 4 for 26 in four overs.
Brief scores: RR 177/6 in 20 overs (Steve Smith 57, Robin Uthappa 41, Chris Morris 3/26) vs RCB 179/3 in 19.4 overs (AB de Villiers 55 not out, Virat Kohli 43; Rahul Tewatia 1/30). IANS