AB de Villiers rolled back the years with his beautiful yet brutal assault as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pipped defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) by two wickets in a last-ball thriller in the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener in Chennai on Friday. De Villiers smashed 48 off 27 balls after RCB were down in the dumps at 106 for 5. Harshal Patel capped off his dream day by scraping a single off the final delivery to reach the target of 160 in 20 overs.
Haryana’s Harshal, an eternal peripheral presence in the IPL, finally had his night under the lights with 5 for 27, which helped RCB restrict MI to 159 for nine. MI again lost the first match as has been the tradition in the IPL but they lost it to de Villiers, who changed the script in a space of two overs by attacking the two MI spinners Rahul Chahar (0/43) and Krunal Pandya (1/25). His attack prompted Rohit Sharma to finish his best bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s spell (2/26 in 4 overs) before the final over, from which seven runs were required.
RCB were in control when Glenn Maxwell (39 off 28 balls) came in and upset leg-spinner Chahar’s line with a reverse-pull boundary. He repeated the shot off the same bowler for a six and got another maximum off Krunal Pandya over long-on. Skipper Virat Kohli (33 off 29 balls), who had launched into an experienced Marco Jansen in his first over, got a bit bogged down as the innings progressed. However, Maxwell’s attack meant that Kohli could take his time.