AB de Villiers struck 66 as the Royal Challengers Bangalore coasted to a 71-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals to seal their spot in the second qualifier against the Chennai Super Kings.
RCB now face the Super Kings in what is essentially a semi-final on Friday, as they look to secure a place in the final against the Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens on Sunday. The Royals – winners of the inaugural edition – bade farewell to this year’s tournament.
Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers won the toss and chose to bat first, but more was expected of Kohli and opening partner Chris Gayle as they stuttered to 41 at just over six runs an over, before Gayle departed for 27. Kohli was then the next to go for 12 off 18 balls.
AB de Villiers and Mandeep Singh then gave the match the spark it needed with a crushing 113-run stand. De Villiers was in fine touch as he smashed four sixes on his way to 66 – his third score of fifty or more this campaign. Mandeep stylishly went to a fifty himself as they posted 180-4. Chris Morris was expensive for the Royals, conceding 42 runs for his one wicket.
In response, the dangerous Shane Watson fell in the second over as he edged one to Dinesh Karthik for 10, before the promising but inconsistent Sanju Samson departed for just five.
Ajinkya Rahane held firm but he struggled to send the ball to the boundary as the required run rate escalated. Skipper Steve Smith attempted to up the ante, but off the first ball of David Wiese’s second over he charged down the wicket to a short one, skying it straight into the hands of De Villiers.
The match was all but put to bed with the wicket of Rahane. He fell for 42 off a sluggish 39 balls, De Villiers again the man to catch one in the deep. A collapse ensued, with the final six wickets falling for just 30 runs.
Photo: Shaun Roy/SPORTZPICS/IPL/BCCI