Srikar Bharat sealed a last-ball thriller with a six as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Delhi Capitals (DC) by seven wickets in an IPL encounter in Dubai on Friday.
With 19 needed from 12, Anrich Nortje bowled a sensational 19th over, going for just four. RCB needed 15 off Avesh Khan’s final over and Bharat took RCB over the line with his unbeaten 52-ball 78. He was ably supported by Glenn Maxwell, who got his fourth successive fifty.
The RCB chase got off to the worst possible start when Nortje removed Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli early. With RCB 11 for 2 after three overs, AB de Villiers was promoted to No. 4. But de Villiers couldn’t make the most of the move, falling for a run-a-ball 26 to Axar Patel leaving Bangalore 104 to get from the last 10.
With the asking rate climbing past 11, Maxwell was dropped twice, by Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin, off Axar. Meanwhile, No. 3 Bharat reached 50 off 37 as RCB brought the equation down to 46 in 24 balls. Maxwell and Bharat then took 15 and 12 off Rabada and Khan in the 17th and the 18th over respectively.
Earlier, Kohli won the toss and inserted Delhi. Maxwell got the new ball, probably to get the better of left-hander Shikhar Dhawan. But the move did not reap the desired results as Dhawan took 15 off his eight balls. Maxwell’s three overs in the PowerPlay went for 29.
The DC openers did not let the tempo drop after the PowerPlay, going after Yuzvendra Chahal and collecting 20 off his first two overs. RCB’s wait for a breakthrough ended in the 11th over when Harshal Patel had Shikhar Dhawan caught. Harshal is now two wickets short of the highest tally for an edition — 32 by Dwayne Bravo (2013).
At the other end, Shaw fell two short of his fifty, caught off Chahal. Rishabh Pant followed suit, caught behind off Dan Christian. Shimron Hetmyer and Iyer took 16 off the 15th over — bowled by Christian — with two fours and a maximum to give the innings a necessary impetus. However, RCB kept up the pressure as Mohammed Siraj removed Shreyas for an 18-ball 18. Hetmyer’s 22-ball 29 took his team to a fighting score but it wasn’t enough in the end on a night when DC was left to rue squandered chances and sloppy fielding.