Indore, Apr 10 (PTI) AB de Villiers smashed an unbeaten half-century as Royal Challengers Bangalore recovered from a disappointing start to post a challenging 148-4 against Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League encounter, here today.
Playing his first match of the season after regaining his fitness, de Villiers slammed a 46-ball 89-run unconquered innings laced with as many as nine sixes and three fours to single-handedly take RCB close to the 150-mark.
With de Villiers going hammer and tongs, RCB amassed 68 runs off the last four overs to post a good score after being precariously placed at 22-3 in 5 overs.
Electing to bat, RCB found themselves in a spot of bother early in the innings but de Villiers shared 46 runs off 49 balls with Mandeep Singh (28) for the 4th wicket to steady the innings.
For Punjab, Varun Aaron (2/21) picked up two wickets, while Sandeep Sharma (1/26) and Axar Patel (1/12) picked one wicket each.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Patel started the bowling attack for Punjab and he struck the first blow, dismissing opener Shane Watson (1) in the last ball of the first over itself. Looking to play a cut shot, Watson ended up dragging the ball on to his stumps.
de Villiers, who replaced West Indies’ destructive batsman Chris Gayle in the team, produced the first six of the match in the third over when he blasted Mohit Sharma over extra cover.
However, other opener Vishnu Vinod (7) also tried to get into the act in the next over off Sandeep Sharma but he was cramped for room and ended up giving a simple catch to Maxwell at the long-on boundary.
In the next over, Aaron trapped Kedar Jadhav (1) infront of wicket as Bangalore were reduced to 22-3 in five overs.
After a few quiet overs, de Villiers plundered a six and a four to accumulate 13 runs off young left-arm seamer T Natarajan in the ninth over to help RCB reach 47 for 3.
de Villiers and Mandeep kept dealing in ones and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking before Aaron dismissed the Jalandhar batsman in the 14th over with wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha taking a brilliant catch.
In the 16th over, de Villiers slammed Aaron over mid-off to pick up his second six off the innings. The South African then smashed Marcus Stoinis over deep midwicket twice in the next over to bring up his fifty.
Stuart Binny then got into the act and clobbered a six and a four off Mohit before de Villiers blasted another six between the long-on and deep midwicket area.
de Villiers then smashed a four and successive sixes off Sandeep to amass 19 runs. Mohit then bowled four good balls in the last over before the South African ended the innings with two lusty blows.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.