AB de Villiers put on a hitting masterclass en route to a half-century, which set up a nail-biting Super Over victory for the Royal Challengers over the Mumbai Indians.
It would be remiss not to note an excellent 99 off 48 from the Indians’ Ishan Kishan, who shared a fifth-wicket, 119-run partnership with Kieron Pollard to take the game deep, after their team looked dead and buried at 78-4.
Chasing 202 for victory, Pollard hit the last ball of the innings for four to send the game into a Super Over. It was an immense effort, considering they needed 90 runs off the last five overs.
Navdeep Sani took responsibility for the Super Over for RCB. Pollard remained at the crease, but unbelievably the Indians chose to bench Kishan for it, opting for Hardik Pandaya instead. The Indians got just seven off the Super Over, and there is sure to be an inquest into what proved to be a poor tactical decision.
Jasprit Bumrah, the world’s leading T20 bowler, took the Super Over for the Indians, but inexplicably adopted a short-ball approach despite having no fine leg in place. He was lucky to get away with the first two, but De Villiers top-edged the third for four, before Virat Kohli, needing one for victory, smashed the ball to the boundary.
RCB’s target owed a lot to De Villiers’ unbeaten 55 off just 24 deliveries, during which he carved the Indians’ bowlers to all parts of the ground. The innings featured four fours and an equal number of sixes.
The innings takes De Villiers to fifth on the list of highest run-scorers in the tournament. He averages 67 and, within the top 10, only Sanju Samson (214.86) has a superior strike rate (186.11).
Kohli’s struggles continued, though, his three runs coming from 11 deliveries. He has 13 runs in his first three innings, his lowest total after that number of games in IPL history.
Chasing an imposing total, the Indians needed a strong start. Instead, they lost kingpin Rohit Sharma in the second over, and when Suryakumar Yadav fell in the next over, their task became incredibly tough.
RCB’s spin bowlers turned the screws with some excellent bowling. Quiton de Kock felt the pressure and tried to heave the ball to the deep midwicket boundary, only to mishit it, leaving the Indians reeling at 39-3.
Pandiya and Kishan steadied the ship, but the former holed out as he looked to accelerate.
However, there was a late charge, led by Pollard who took 27 off the 17th over, and 22 off the 18th, leaving the Indians needing 31 off 12 deliveries.
Navdeep Saini turned in an excellent penultimate over that went for just 12, leaving Isuru Udana with 19 runs in the bank. Udana folded under pressure, sending the game into a Super Over, which ultimately went RCB’s way.