Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujarat Lions talking points: De Villiers’ jail-break


A look at the key passages of play from Qualifier 1 of the 2016 Indian Premier League , in which Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Gujarat Lions by four wickets to book a place in the final.
Abdulla jolts Gujarat early
Virat Kohli the batsman has not put a foot wrong this season and Kohli the skipper did everything right on Tuesday. He introduced Iqbal Abdulla in the second over and the offspinner obliged with the wickets of openers Aaron Finch (1) and Brendon McCullum (1). McCullum danced down to a length ball only to loft the ball to AB de Villiers at long off, while Finch was undone by a sharp turn, edging one to Chris Gayle at first slip. Abdulla’s first spell read: 2-0-15-2 and Gujarat were on the back foot early.
Smith leads Gujarat fightback
Dwayne Smith joined Dinesh Karthik in the middle when the team was reeling at nine for three and Gujarat’s rebuilding process started, albeit in a slow manner. After nine overs, Gujarat had crawled to 42 for 3. Smith then upped the ante pummelling Yuzvendra Chahal’s second over for 16 runs. Runs came thick and fast for Gujarat as 33 runs came in the next three overs, mostly from the bat of Smith. The duo combined for an 85-run stand for the fourth wicket. Karthik (26) went for an ill-advised scoop and lost his stumps to Chris Jordan. Smith, however, continued to slog and notched up his third fifty of the season, but perished trying to muscle an outside off delivery from Chahal over the long-on fence, only to find Kohli. He scored 73 off 41 balls.
Kulkarni does the unthinkable
To overcome Bangalore’s batting might, Gujarat had to produce something special and pacer Dhawal Kulkarni bowled a special spell. After Praveen Kumar had given away 11 runs in the first over, Kulkarni did the unthinkable. He got rid of Kohli for a second ball duck. Kohli went for a cut, but the back of length delivery didn’t bounce much and the RCB skipper played one on to his stumps. Kulkarni (4-1-14-4) would go on to rip apart RCB’s famed top-order. Chris Gayle (9) and KL Rahul (0) perished in Kulkarni’s second over which was a maiden. He then scalped Sachin Baby (0) in his third over. After the end of Powerplay, RCB were in a middle of a royal meltdown at 31 for 5.
De Villiers keeps his calm
Generally a batting paradise, the Bangalore surface on Tuesday was dry. The ball gripped and turned and only de Villiers applied himself well and understood the pace of the wicket before shifting gears. Shahdab Jakati (3-0-35-0) had a horrible day with the ball. De Villiers hammered 19 runs off the eight balls he faced from the Goa bowler. In Abdulla, de Villiers found and unlikely ally as he kept on shifting the equation in RCB’s. In the process, de Villiers notched up his sixth fifty of the season.
Abdulla: de Villiers’ unlikely ally
Walking in to bat with RCB at 68 for 6, Gujarat would have thought they could bundle out Bangalore’s lower-order, if they could not get de Villiers out. But Abdulla, batting for the first time in tournament, proved to be an unlikely ally for de Villiers. The left-hander rotated the strike well and even managed to hit a few over the fence. His association with de Villiers accounted for a crucial and match-winning 91 runs for the sixth wicket. Abdulla went on to hit three consecutive fours off Dwayne Bravo in the 18th over and remained unbeaten on 33 off 25 balls.

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