With just 159 to win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, albeit on a slower than usual pitch, the stage was perfectly set for Virat Kohli to show his near-superhuman chasing powers. But then, the impossible happened when Kohli fell for a duck, with the Bengaluru crowd falling even more silent when Chris Gayle saw his stumps crash down. But, if the Gujarat Lions, who would go on to take three more wickets with just 29 RCB runs on the board, were envisaging that place in the final, they would have known it was premature without one more wicket, the most important of them all, that of AB De Villiers.
Unfortunately, for the Gujarat Lions and fortunately for RCB that wicket would not come, and from a seemingly impossible situation, under the pressure of an IPL playoff match, the ridiculously gifted right-hander showed just why he is considered the best with the willow in all formats of the game.
"That should end all debates over who is the best going around, the big man came when we needed it," RCB skipper Kohli said at the presentation ceremony, speaking of De Villiers' stunning, unbeaten 79 (47b, 5x4, 5x6). "He was really, really motivated to do it for the team."
Do it he did, digging RCB out of a 29/5 hole to chase down that target of 159 with plenty to spare.
"I was very, very nervous, trying to just focus on the basics and take it one ball at a time," De Villiers, the obvious man of the match, said. "I knew if I was there till the end, we would come at least close.
"After a bit of a lucky six, when the ball just went over the fielder (in the 15th over off Dwayne Smith), from there I saw the ball pretty well."
That would be an understatement. The way De Villiers just changes gears with the flick of a switch is a thing of beauty. Calm and collected until then, knowing really well he could not lose his wicket, De Villiers went for the jugular from that Smith over, with a bit of rain in Bengaluru, motivating him even further, knowing that if the match was stopped at that point, RCB would be behind the Duckworth/Lewis par score.
Wanting to do something and actually being able to do it are two completely different things, though. But, there is no better man to conjure a bit of magic from nowhere than De Villiers. And conjure it he did, in some style too.
Now, a final on Sunday awaits. Having lost their last two summit clashes in the IPL, RCB will hope third time is the charm.
With De Villiers in this kind of form, though, and Kohli getting that law of averages business out of the way with a failure, the IPL 2016 title does look destined to go RCB's way.
Watch De Villiers' brilliant knock HERE