The first big Virat Kohli-AB de Villiers association of the season gave Royal Challengers Bangalore a much needed win over Delhi Daredevils at Delhi on Saturday. Riding on two superb half-centuries, RCB’s soft belly barely came into the picture and they romped home comfortably. Despite Kohli's uncharacteristic dismissal in the run chase, De Villiers broke no sweat and helped gun down the target with an over to spare.
Earlier, Rishabh Pant stuck to what he does best and compiled another half-century to bruise an already stained RCB bowling attack. The keeper-batsman stood tall and gave RCB bowlers a lesson in driving around the city.
Here are the ratings of players:
Rishabh Pant - 10/10
The belligerent wicket-keeper batsman seems to be on a mission to prove Indian selectors wrong as he yet again wielded his willow with all the confidence in the world to smash 61 in 34 balls and awaken dampened Delhi spirits. His sensational knock, his fifth score in excess of 50 this season, gave Delhi a huge boost in the middle overs.
Abhishek Sharma - 10/10
Few would have thought that yet another under-19 player lurked in Delhi Daredevils’ line-up. The latest from Delhi’s repertoire is the 17-year-old all-rounder, Abhishek Sharma. On his IPL debut, the southpaw showed little nerves and blasted a 19-ball 46 that gave the team 61 runs in the final five overs.
Virat Kohli - 10/10
With a run chase in hand, that too at a ground where he has played a lot of cricket, Kohli came into his own and with AB de Villiers, stitched a wonderful partnership that formed the base for RCB’s chase. His 40-ball 70 had class written all over it and helped avert another test for Bangalore's less than solid lower middle order.
AB de Villiers - 10/10
AB de Villiers seemed to have found the groove with which he began the season as he plundered a fabulous half-century to resurrect RCB’s run chase after two early wickets. He struggled a bit to pick Sandeep Lamichhane but once he got a hang of things, there was no stopping the Superman. His 37-ball 72 sealed the game for RCB as he kept the team alive in the competition.
Yuzvendra Chahal - 9/10
On a wicket where run fests have been common, Yuzvendra Chahal pulled RCB ahead with two wonderful overs in the powerplay, both of them accounting for one wicket each. Chahal removed Prithvi Shaw and Jason Roy in successive overs to peg Delhi back early but couldn't keep things as quiet later on.
Sandeep Lamichhane - 8/10
Opening the attack, young Sandeep Lamichhane delivered an impressive performance with his second over accounting for his first wicket, the dangerous Parthiv Patel. Just seven runs came off him in the powerplay and he ended the debut with figures of 1/25 in four overs.
Shreyas Iyer - 7/10
After the early loss of the openers, Iyer stabilised the Delhi innings, showing immense character and resolve in the company of a rampant Rishabh Pant. To his credit, he let Pant do the bulk of the scoring while he concentrated on playing the sheet anchor role. His 32 came at less than run-a-ball but given the manner in which Pant was going at the other end, all Iyer had to do was get him on strike.
Amit Mishra - 6/10
The experienced leggie pulled things back a touch with the dismissal of Kohli a ball after the Indian skipper had effortlessly flicked him for a boundary. A big turner of the ball, Mishra found enough help from the surface and knocked over the big fish, but perhaps, it came a bit too late for Delhi Daredevils.
Trent Boult - 5/10
Boult dismissed Moeen Ali early in the run chase and returned to nip out a budding partnership between AB de Villiers and Mandeep Singh to peg back RCB. However, his death bowling came apart as De Villiers smashed him for two sixes in the penultimate over to complete a terrific win.
Vijay Shankar - 5/10
Just like Iyer, all Vijay Shankar had to do was to rotate and put the aggressor on strike. With Abhishek going hammer and tongs, Vijay milked the bowlers and merely let his partner do the talking. The partnership of 61 proved to be immensely valuable for Delhi to finish with a flourish.
Moeen Ali - 4/10
The off-spinner was particularly tight with his four over spell, cramping batsmen for room and hitting a perfect length to keep Iyer and Pant somewhat silent. However, his promotion to the top of the order didn't work out as Boult got the better of him early in the run chase.
Mandeep Singh - 3/10
With De Villiers the custodian at one end, all Mandeep had to do was get the South African on strike with a required rate hovering in and around six. However, Mandeep chose to go for glory, and the ugly swipe off Boult saw his stumps shattered.
Junior Dala - 3/10
The South African seamer had impressed during India's South African tour with his exploits in the T20 leg, where he dismissed the dangerous Rohit Sharma thrice. His skiddy back of a length style of bowling should have ideally suited the Delhi wicket but he somehow failed to be consistent enough and conceded at over eleven an over.
Mohammad Siraj - 2/10
Siraj had been reasonably good at the death for RCB but looked lost for ideas against a rampant 17-year old. He leaked 27 in his final two overs as Abhishek showed little mercy on the seam bowler. He was trusted over Umesh Yadav but failed to repay the faith shown on him.
Sarfaraz Khan - 2/10
Recalled into the XI in place of Manan Vohra, Sarfaraz walked in at the death but failed to do the supporting cast role to perfection with De Villiers going bonkers. Khan fiddled around for 11 in eight balls before falling to Iyer's devious plan. The Delhi skipper had a fielder placed behind the keeper specifically for Sarfaraz's 360-degree shots and the batsman ended up spooning a catch to the very same fielder.
Umesh Yadav - 2/10
On a surface traditionally suited for seam bowlers, Umesh struggled for his line and length and ended up gifting runs at over nine an over. He did make a decent comeback in the 15th over but was bizarrely not used for his full quota of overs.
Parthiv Patel - 1/10
The wicket-keeper batsman struggled to pick the young Lamichhane and was out trying to force the issue with a powerful sweep. He was phenomenal for Mumbai Indians last season but has lacked the golden touch here at RCB so far.
Harshal Patel - 1/10
The former RCB seamer had a horror day in the opposition camp, playing against his former franchise. Patel was struck for 51 in his four overs with quite a few of his back of a length deliveries proving to be fodder for Kohli and De Villiers.
Tim Southee - 1/10
The Kiwi seamer had revived Royal Challengers Bangalore's bowling woes this season a touch but looked lacklustre against Delhi on Saturday and ended up giving away 41 in his four overs, including a dreadful 22-run 17th over where Abhishek took a special liking to his bowling.
Colin de Grandhomme - 1/10
The RCB all-rounder bowled just a single over, conceding 12 runs and wasn't used again, although, he was unlucky not to get the wicket of Iyer, who was dropped by De Villiers. He wasn't required for long with the bat either and ended up playing a minimal role in the game.
Jason Roy - 1/10
Much like his partner Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy failed to get going on a juicy track at the Feroz Shah Kotla and was completely befuddled by a Chahal's googly. He left a gaping hole between the bat and pad, and the ball sneaked through to hit the stumps.
Prithvi Shaw - 1/10
Shaw has had a great start to the season but five of his dismissals have come against spin and RCB looked to exploit this weakness early by opening the attack with Chahal. The leg-spinner struck gold of the final ball as Shaw played all around a straighter one from Chahal. Shaw might want to quickly iron out his woes against spin.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor