With Chris Gayle playing one of those "what was he thinking" innings and Virat Kohli still preoccupied by that constant scowl on his face, the Royal Challengers needed one of those knocks only one man in world cricket can play if they were to beat the Mumbai Indians. The only problem was, the Royal Challengers Bangalore did not think so.
With Gayle castled by Harbhajan Singh (4-0-27-3), who was outstanding with the ball in his 100th IPL match, for a strange 24-ball 10 while chasing 210, and RCB needing 162 from 11.5 overs, everyone that knows anything about cricket would have sent AB De Villiers – the Superman of international cricket – out to do his weave his magic. Instead, out came Dinesh Karthik, driving, and glancing and gliding singles when the home crowd were asking for boundaries, boundaries and more boundaries.
By the time De Villiers did finally come into the crease – after Virat Kohli fell for a run-a-ball 18 – that required run rate had gone up well past 15, with the equation reading 148 from 57 balls. With any other batsman, that would seem an impossible target, but not when your initials are ABD.
With the Chinnaswamy crowd chanting his name, De Villiers (41. 11b, 5x4, 3x6) produced some of the most exhilarating 10 balls of batting you will see, striking five fours and three sixes in those deliveries and suddenly raising hope of a stunning comeback.
However, even De Villiers is human isn't he? He does have some extra-terrestrial blood, yes, but most of it is human, and a thump to long-on for an attempted six only found Kieron Pollard, who had entertained the crowd in his own inimitable way by taping his own mouth after the umpire unnecessarily warned him over some banter with fellow West Indian Gayle early in the innings.
Just like that, hopes of an RCB win, for the first time in IPL 2015 in Bengaluru, vanished with 85 required from 34 balls. David Wiese (47, 25b, 6x4, 2x6), a solid striker of the ball in his own right, at least took the game to the end with a few lusty blows, but only AB De Villiers could have pulled off the impossible to everyone but himself.
Earlier, the Mumbai Indians finally got off to a solid start in the first six overs, with Lendl Simmons (59, 44b, 9x4, 2x6) striking form. After a 47-run opening partnership with Parthiv Patel, Simmons and Unmukt Chand (58, 37b, 8x4, 2x6) got that partnership groove going worth 72 in a little under 8 overs.
Once Simmons fell in over number 14, it was the cue for Rohit Sharma to go slam-bang in his own wonderfully elegant manner, with the MI skipper striking an outstanding 42 from 15 balls (3x4, 4x6), with the highlight of his blitz coming via a wristy six, where he kind of just flicked it from outside off while down on one knee. Those shots and the overall 209 eventually proved to be enough to give the Mumbai Indians their first win – a victory by 18 runs -- of the IPL this season, at the fifth time of asking.