There was a match on at the Chinnaswamy Stadium at Bengaluru. A match not between two teams but two superhuman individuals from the same team; AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli. Gujarat Lions were nowhere in the picture. It was as if De Villiers and Kohli were practicing big hits against lifeless bowling machines. They were matching each other shot by shot in probably the best team innings in any T20 match so far, shattering record after record in the process.
Gujarat Lions were out of the match since they won the toss and elected to field. Rest, as they say, is history.
Gujarat Lions would have thought that everything was falling as planned. Chasing at Bengaluru is the sensible option with a good batting pitch and a smaller ground, and when in the 4th over Dhawal Kulkarni dismissed Gayle to put RCB at 19 for 1, the Lions would have had a dream or two about winning the match. But that was it.
The Lions role in the match was over for all purposes as the two best batsmen of this era joined together at the crease. AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli have had a liking for each others batting and have enjoyed batting together for years now at RCB. De Villiers was his usual self while Kohli scored at around run a ball till the 10th over or so. It looked like just another match just when both the maestros decided to explode. And there was no mercy.
Which bowler was bowling became irrelevant as almost every ball in the last 10 overs landed in the crowd. RCB were just about 80 in 11 overs and finished at a massive 248 in their 20 overs.
The carnage was unimaginable. It was only in minds of cricket lovers that someone would have thought what copuld happen if Kohli and De Villiers fire together. Around 170 runs scored in the last 9 overs. To be precise, 112 scored in last 5 overs. A total of record 20 sixes hammered in the innings with 12 coming from AB and 8 from Kohli. Out of the 20 sixes, 14 came in the last 5 overs. 2 overs from the last 5 went for 30 runs each, again a record.
A partnership of 229 runs between Kohli and AB, a record again. 3 centuries by Kohli so far in the season is also a T20 record. It was a massacre out there.
De Villiers scored 129 not out and had completed the century in 43 balls while Kohli had just got his 50 by then. Then started Kohli, boundaries galore, six after six and suddenly Kohli was nearing a once unlikely century. He got there in the 20th over through a six in 53 balls.
Gujarat Lions today were without their regular captain Suresh Raina, who was missing his 1st match since the start of the IPL in 2008, for the birth of his baby. But all was irrelevant as the Lions carried the mental block from their bowling to their batting as well. They lost wicket after wicket without getting any runs and finally folded for 104 runs, with only Finch getting any considerable amount of runs with 37 off 38 balls, handing RCB with the biggest win margin of 144 runs in the history of IPL.
The win was so big that the RCB who had a negative net run rate before this match now have the highest net run rate amongst all teams in the points table. But in perspective, RCB still need to win all their matches to qualify and tha batting form of the team will only increase their confidence. Gujarat Lions will have to really pull themselves up and dust this match off from their minds to get back to business. They still need to win 1 match out of the remaining 2 to ascertain their place in the playoffs.