SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — AB de Villiers smashed an unbeaten 73 off 33 balls as Royal Challengers Bangalore overwhelmed Kolkata Knight Riders by 82 runs in the absence of Sunil Narine in the Indian Premier League on Monday.
De Villiers’ highest score this season rocketed Bangalore’s total to 194-2. The South African batsman tore apart the bowling attack in the death overs with six sixes and five boundaries.
Narine’s absence was felt in the last five overs after Kolkata didn’t play him. Instead, the team chose to seek clarity from the IPL on the offspinner’s suspect bowling action after he was reported last Saturday and put on a warning list.
Kolkata's reply saw the top order routed by the Bangalore spinners -- Washington Sundar (2-12) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1-12) -- before being restricted to a paltry 112-9.
“AB (de Villiers) is a world-class player, he is hard to stop and was the difference between the two teams,” Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik said. ”Even if we had restricted them to 175, there are a few things we need to do better.””
Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Bangalore are joint leaders at the IPL's halfway mark, where all teams have played seven matches. Kolkata is fourth.
Captain Virat Kohli contributed an unbeaten 33 with only one boundary in a century-stand with de Villiers, who cut loose against Andre Russell (1-51), Pat Cummins (0-38) and Kamlesh Nagarkoti (0-36) with some clean hitting all around the pitch.
“It is a tremendous win against a very strong side,” Kohli said. “Barring one superhuman (de Villiers), every batsman struggled on the pitch. It was a fabulous knock. We were looking at 160-165, and it was only thanks to his genius we got to 195. I was happy we could string together a partnership, and mine was the best seat to watch from.”
Kolkata opening batsman Shubman Gill top-scored with 34 off 25 balls. Nitish Rana played a desperate slog sweep and was clean bowled by Sundar for 9, while Eoin Morgan top edged the offspinner to short third-man on 8 while going for an expansive shot over the covers.
Hard-hitting Russell hammered Isuru Udana for two boundaries and a six, but his brief onslaught was ended on 16 when he holed out at extra cover, ending Kolkata's faint hopes.
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