AB de Villiers smashed a brilliant 83 off 46 balls to lead the Royal Challengers to a 13-run win over the Pune Supergiants on Friday night.
Having been sent in to bat, they ran up 185-3, against which the Supergiants fought to 172-8.
De Villiers is in sublime form after a disappointing World T20 series, in which he scored 110 runs in four matches. Now he is at his imperial best. In four IPL matches, he has slammed 249, with 12 sixes.
Four of those sixes came in this innings, alongside six fours, as he and Virat Kohli put on 155 at just under 10 an over. Kohli was almost a bystander: he contributed 61 to that partnership; their third century stand in this series. Just for the record, they have 11 50-plus partnerships.
Medium pacer Thisara Perera, who had dismissed Lokesh Rahul in the fourth over for seven, then struck with successive balls in the 20th over, but the damage had been done.
The match was notable too, for the introduction of the Titans’ left-arm Chinaman spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who had been flown over this week to replace the injured Samuel Badree.
He made an important contribution by snapping up Ajkinkya Rahane, who looked as though he might take it away from the Challengers. He lifted the score from 18-3 (after Kevin Pietersen retired hurt) to 109 in partnership with MS Dhoni (41 off 38). Faf du Plessis went for 2 with the score on 12.
But once Rahane had gone, the tail fell away, with only Perera (34) and Rajat Bhatia (21) offering any meaningful resistance.