AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock’s 54-run partnership set up a four-wicket victory for Royal Challengers Bangalore over Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
The two came together when Virat Kohli was bowled by the 17-year-old spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman for 21, when RCB were 33-1 chasing a target of 156.
De Kock whacked 45 off 34 balls, with seven fours and a six, while De Villiers went on to 57 off 40 balls with two fours and four sixes. Three of those were off successive balls to bring up his fifty.
They had a partnership of 54 off 33 balls, which broke the back of the chase and when De Villiers holed out to deep point, the Challengers needed 10 off 11 balls.
Earlier, the Kings, who left out David Miller for Aaron Finch, set off at a cracking pace after being sent in to bat, but De Kock’s smart catch off the edge dismissed Mayank Agarwal (15) and prompted a three-wicket haul for Umesh Yadav in six balls. From 32-0 from three overs, the Kings were reeling at 36-3 off four.
Finch had followed Agarwal the next ball and Yuvraj Singh survived three balls. (Apart from Miller, the Kings also ignored Chris Gayle. It was not looking good.)
Lokesh Rahul (47) and Karun Nair (29) rebuilt the innings with a stand of 58 in 42 balls until another three wickets fell in successive overs, with De Kock stumping Marcus Stoinis as one of two wickets for Washington Sundar.
De Kock produced another stumping to send back Ravi Ashwin, whose 33 led the fightback from 110-6 after 14 overs to 155 all out in the final over.
The RRR of eight was never going to be enough.