It was skipper Virat Kohli all the way. His rampaging knock of an unbeaten 93 gave Royal Challengers Bangalore not just sweet revenge but also an incredibly easy victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.
The cool climes in the evening under lights proved to be a blessing for Bangalore. What they gave away while bowling and fielding, they more than compensated with their batting. Despite the loss of openers — the aggressive Mayank Agarwal and the unusually subdued Chris Gayle, Bangalore knocked off the formidable target of 161 for victory in just 17.4 overs.
It was vintage hitting as Virat first put on 49 runs with A B de Villiers and then pieced together a stand of an unconquered 66 with Moises Henriques, whose contribution was a humble seven, that saw Bangalore cruise through to victory.
If Hyderabad’s 100 came in 15.1 overs, Bangalore’s took only 12.4 overs. Hyderabad made 150 in 18.3 overs while Bangalore touched that mark in a mere 16.4 overs. From needing 66 to win off 48 balls, they won with 14 balls to spare.
That gives an indication of Virat’s dominance over the attack. He hammered Amit Mishra for two huge sixers and took 21 runs off that over, the 16th, to turn the game on its head. The RCB skipper then took 15 runs off Thisara Perera’s next over, the 17th, and blocked all exits for Hyderabad.
Firing on all cylinders, Virat played regulation cricket and never once tried to experiment or indulge in fancy shot-making. His timing was spot on and the power that he imparted saw the white ball dance to the ropes all around or fly over it and land with a thud into the stands.
There was nothing that Hyderabad’s Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra could do to stem the flow of runs and Virat deservingly was the man of the moment, and the match as well. Earlier, the Bangalore team had little time to rest their weary legs as Hyderabad won the toss and elected to bat. While the fielding side suffered, the batting unit found it tough till the 15th over. But then, at 98 for 3, they weren’t happily placed. That’s when Cameron White and Perera decided to get over it and have a go at the bowling. The eliminator - over at the Uppal stadium had ended in a blaze of glory for White. With an able ally in Perara, his super hitting continued.
None was spared — Muttiah Muralitharan or Jaidev Unadkat, Moises Henriques or the now more than familiar Vinay Kumar. It was as though they were competing with each other in clearing the ropes in the air.
By the time they had finished, Hyderabad had coasted to safety at 155, to eventually make a formidable 161 for 6. It was leg weariness that saw bowlers err in line and length.
Perera was severe on Moises, so too was White as they slammed him for a huge six each. Perhaps, Moises would have been better off playing soccer like his dad Alvaro. That’s how they made him feel, smoking 18 runs of his over.