It was not quite as devastating, there was a little help from Chris Gayle this time around, but the sheer joy of watching Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers bat together again was good as it can be again as the Royal Challengers Bangalore stayed on course for a place in the playoffs of IPL 2016. Chasing a steep total, Kohli and De Villiers, after an opening salvo from Gayle, fired RCB home in style, with KKR the latest team to feel their wrath.
Knowing only a win would do, Kohli decided to do what most teams have done this season – win the toss and ask the opposition to bat. The Kolkata Knight Riders batted nicely, riding on half-centuries from Gautam Gambhir (51, 34b, 7x4) and Manish Pandey (50, 35b, 5x4, 2x6) and a typically quick knock from Andre Russell (39, 19b, 2x4, 3x6), to post 183/5 in their 20 overs.
The reply started with a Gayle wind, not quite a storm, before Kohli (75 n.o., 51b, 5x4, 3x6), batting with an injured hand, and De Villiers (59 n.o., 31b, 5x4, 3x6) took over, like they have done so often, putting on an unbeaten 115 runs to take RCB to victory with eight balls and nine wickets to spare.
It was about time that Gayle delivered in this IPL 2016, and after going through the entire season so far without a double digit score, the big man finally found his range, against his former team. There wasn't much running in his innings of 49 (31b, 5x4, 4x6), with 44 of those runs coming in fours and sixes, but, crucially, Gayle gave the start that RCB needed in the big chase.
That quick innings also allowed Kohli to settle at the other end, and when Gayle fell, trapped in front of legstump by Sunil Narine, Kohli was there to take over, with De Villiers doing what he always does, even if the match might have had a different result had Gambhir hung on to a simple catch at point, when Kohli was only on 32.
The two best batsmen in the world, coming off a world record partnership, though, rode that luck to put on another peerless partnership, striking the boundaries when it was needed, while making sure the required run rate never went out control. The sheer ease with which these two control a chase is a joy to watch, and while Gambhir tried his best to change around the bowling, there was just no stopping the awesome twosome.
Earlier, Gambhir and Pandey put on a wonderful 76-run partnership to set KKR up for a big score. And while Yusuf Pathan, in such outstanding form, failed to fire with the bat this time, Russell, one of the major MVP candidates of IPL 2016, went slam-bang in style to take the score past 183, but KKR were left worrying about their key player right at the end of the match, as he went down heavily while bowling the penultimate over, having to walk off with a little help from a teammate.