Centurions de Villiers, Kohli nuke Gujarat Lions bowling

Bengaluru: Maverick Royal Challengers batsmen Abraham de Villiers (129) and Virat Kohli (109) pummelled the Gujarat Lions bowling attack to blast electrifying centuries, powering the team to 248/3 in 20 overs at the M. Chinnaswami Stadium here on Saturday. It literally rained sixes and fours from the blades of the awesome de Villiers-Kohli duo, sending the jam packed stadium into hysterics. De Villiers who remained unbeaten smashed 12 sixes and 10 fours while Royal Challengers captain Kolhi blasted eight sixes and six fours. Kohli hit a 55-ball-109 while de Villiers smashed a 52-ball-129. Altogether, RCB cracked 37 boundaries, 17 fours and 20 sixes. Of the total run of 248 scored, 188 emerged from boundaries alone. Other than the two centurions, only Chirs Gayle hit a four. Kolhi produced the following scoreboard reading in the 19th over off left arm spinner Shivil Kaushik: 6, 4, 6, 6, 6 and 2, totaling 30 runs. De Villiers and Kohli built a partnership of 229 runs in 97 balls. The intensity of hitting can be comprehended by the way runs flowed. At one time in the last stages of the innings, the duo plundered 47 runs in 14 balls. Time and again, De Villiers is proving one characteristic he possesses very consistently: hitting the ball as hard as possible in all possible directions irrespective of the bowler, fielding set-up and the situation of the match. Some of the sixes hit by de Villiers are so unique that only he could hit them. Some of the shots demanding extreme flexibility included a couple of deep sixes near the third man position, rarely seen before. In the 16th over, de Villiers scored 23 runs, he reached his century in 42 balls with nine boundaries and eight sixes. Not just boundaries, quick running between the wickets also helped Royal Challengers greatly in grabbing many quick singles and exploiting sloppy fielding by the Gujarat Lions at times. Actually starting the innings slowly, Royal Challengers could only manage 10/0 after the first three overs, opened by Chirs Gayle and Kohli. After seven overs, RCB were at 50/1. Hell-bent on ending his run of poor form, Gayle kept it slow, trying to steal quick singles. Despite exhibiting great discipline, Gayle succumbed to an inside edge off Dhawal Kulkarni in the fifth ball of the fourth over. Dejected, he walked back to the dugout only to continue his single digit innings streak. Enter de Villiers, and the face of the innings changed with regular boundaries all over the ground with all possible shots. Unfazed by the slow start, Kohli and de Villiers started piling up runs slowly, De Villiers survived a stumping attempt by Dinesh Karthik in the ninth over. With a partnership of 56 runs, Kohli and De Villiers scored 76 runs for Royal Challengers half way through the match. Despite starting his innings much later than Kohli, de Villiers reached his half-century in 25 balls in the 12th over by a four off Kulkarni. De Villiers reached 99 in the 16th over with a superb six, yet another extreme shot, coming deep off the wicket to hit a six on the on-side. Until the fall of Kohli in the second last ball off the match, RCB did not lose a wicket after the dismissal of Gayle in the fourth over, manifesting the hard-hitting determination of the centurions in the match. Interestingly, Kohli reached the milestone of scoring 3,000 IPL runs in this match, to join two other Royal Challengers, de Villiers and Gayle. Except for Ravindra Jadeja who had figures of 0/34 in four overs, all the other Gujarat Lions bowlers conceeded expensive economy rates ranging between 11 to 16.66. Left-arm spinner Shivil Kaushik had an economy rate of 16.66, Dwayne Bravo 15.33, and Dwayne Smith 13. Though Praveen Kumar leaked 45 runs in four overs, he claimed two wickets while Kulkarni was the over bowler claim a wicket, 1/33. Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 248/3 in 20 overs (Abraham de Villiers 129 not out, Virat Kohli 109; Praveen Kumar 2/45, Dhawal Kulkarni 1/33)