AB de Villiers hit a landmark 75 as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Delhi Capitals by just one run to go back top of the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.
The South African veteran’s unbeaten 42-ball blitz made him only the sixth batsman to pass 5 000 runs in the tournament, and only the second foreigner.
Delhi needed 14 runs off the last over to beat Bangalore’s 171 for five, but even boosted by Shimron Hetmyer’s late 53 off 25 balls they just failed.
Victory sent Virat Kohli’s Bangalore back top with five wins from six games. They are two points ahead of Chennai Super Kings, who play bottom of the table Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday, and Delhi.
Put in to bat, Bangalore had seemed destined for a moderate score until De Villiers came in with the score on 60 for three.
Helped partly by Rajat Patidar, who made 31, De Villiers produced final over fireworks that changed the game. Kohli said that the South African went “berserk” with his man of the match performance.
De Villiers, who had not played competitive cricket in the five months before the IPL, hit 23 runs off the only over that Marcus Stoinis bowled, with three of his five sixes.
De Villiers said he spends much of the time in the team’s pandemic bio bubble working out in his hotel room.
“You have to stay fresh,” said the 37-year-old.
“He keeps doing it again and again for us,” said Kohli.
Delhi put themselves under pressure with a slow start.
Captain Rishabh Pant made 58 off 48 balls but Delhi only seemed a threat when Hetmyer took over. The West Indies star hit three sixes in the 18th over but was the kept off strike in the final two overs.
Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj brilliantly frustrated Pant with the final six balls, with Pant only managing two fours.
“I backed my yorker at the death as it was coming out really well and I was able to execute it really well,” said Siraj.