A century partnership between AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali resisted Sunrisers Hyderabad's surge after Rashid Khan had dismissed their big fish, Virat Kohli, in his first over. Giving the lower middle order a great launch pad for the final five overs, the duo departed and for once they fired for RCB, racking up 218 on board.
With Kane Williamson going hammer and tongs and Manish Pandey finding his groove, it seemed like Sunrisers would chase down the target but RCB wore them down despite a slew of dropped chances. Here are the best moments from the game at Chinnaswamy.
What's AB’s arc?
“If it's in the arc, hit it out of the park” is perhaps the most threatening factor about any big hitting batsman in T20 cricket. While most of them have their hitting zone off good length balls, every single spot on the pitch and outside it, seems to be de Villiers’ arc. On his favourite ground, the South African did a ballad as Sunrisers bowlers appeared clueless in the wake of the attack.
— VIVO_IPL_2018 (@ipl_2018_live) May 17, 2018
They turned to Basil Thampi who could hit the base of the stumps on a consistent basis. de Villiers, least perturbed, turned on the pressure when he moved across to the off-side and ramped him over fine-leg for four first ball. Unsure of what length to hit, Thampi was perhaps targetting another yorker when he saw de Villiers move back and across once again.
Distracted by the movement, the Kerala spearhead sent down a full toss right into de Villiers’ lap and he smacked him all the way over the roof of Chinnaswamy for a 105m six. Such was the power and timing behind the shot that it still kept moving skyward after clearing the roof.
Superman in the house
The RCB-SRH clash might well be known for AB de Villiers’ sensational catch at the boundary ropes to dismiss Alex Hales. With the England batsman appearing in ominous touch, RCB were starting to sweat and they turned to his national teammate, Moeen Ali.
While the off-spinner has had success against Hales in the past, the wicket on Thursday had nothing to do with Ali or the delivery.
An innocuous ball from him flew of Hales’ bat into the boundary ropes and seemed well on its way to the stands when AB de Villiers at deep mid-wicket watched the ball all the way, timed his jump to perfection, literally snatched the ball and defied gravity to land just within the ropes to pull off a stunner. The whole stadium erupted and the RCB skipper, who had been left gaping by de Villiers’ shot a few nights ago, appeared equally amazed by the catch.
Kohli vs Rashid
If Afghanistan fans were disappointed at Kohli heading to county cricket before their inaugural Test against India in India, they were perhaps fulfilled by a mini-battle between the RCB skipper and their wily leg-spinner, Rashid.
With de Villiers establishing himself over the bowlers early in the game, Sunrisers needed a breakthrough and turned to their best option, Rashid. The leg-spinner was perhaps brought on to counter de Villiers, whom he had cleaned up in the last encounter between the two, but to reach the South African, he had to get past Kohli.
The first ball from Rashid beat Kohli all ends up as he misread the pace of a yorker length delivery. Off the second ball, Kohli nudged to mid-wicket and nearly ran himself out in an attempt to get off strike but seemed more assured in the next two balls. A bludgeoning four through mid-wicket followed but off the fourth ball, Rashid had the last laugh when he cleaned up Kohli with a well disguised googly. It's perhaps too early to say he dominated the Indian skipper, but the Afghan fans would love to spread the word.
Four or six, catch or drop?
While RCB had Sunrisers dancing to their tunes at Chinnaswamy Stadium, two controversial decisions went against the home team. The first happened with de Villiers slamming Siddharth Kaul over long-on. The ball seemed to have hit the ropes directly and the third umpire had to look several times at the replays to arrive at a decision.
Infinite angles and replays followed and the stoppage seemed as long as a strategic time-out with the fans starting to boo. Eventually, the umpire ruled it as four although in several replays it had seemed like the ball was hitting the ropes first.
The cycle of several replays repeated when Alex Hales pulled Umesh Yadav to Tim Southee in the deep in the second innings. The Kiwi seamer dived forward and pulled off a pretty good catch and started celebrating with his teammates.
Shamsuddin, the third umpire in the house, went through several replays and somehow arrived at the conclusion that the catch had been grassed. This time around there was little confusion that Southee had taken a neat catch and an aghast Kohli was seen having a word with the umpires but there is little they could have done after the decision was taken by the third umpire. Hales survived, only to be dismissed by a Superman-like effort from AB de Villiers in the deep later on.