Pune, April 22: Star batsmen AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli smashed quick-fire half centuries followed by a disciplined bowling effort which guided Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a hard-fought 13-run victory over Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in an Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9) contest here on Friday night (April 22).
De Villiers (83 off 46 balls) and Virat Kohli (80 off 63 balls) helped RCB post a competitive total of 185/3 in 20 overs. In reply, despite opener Ajinkya Rahane's 60, the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals and could manage only 172/8 in 20 overs.
Kane Richardson (3-13) and Shane Watson (2-31) were the pick of the bowlers for RCB, while Harshal Patel and Tabraiz Shamsi claimed 1 wicket each.
Chasing a challenging target of 186, RPS got off to a disappointing start, losing opener Faf du Plessis (2) and Kevin Pietersen (0 retired hurt) inside two overs.
The hosts received yet another blow as the side lost Steve Smith (4), after Kohli ran him out to put Pune in a spot of bother at 18/2 in 2.3 overs.
But opener Rahane along with new batsman and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (41) used their experience to best effect to hold on to the wicket and sneaking in with runs to help team post 36/2 after completion of powerplay.
Rahane showed his class yet again with the bat to bring up his half-century in just 37 balls and help team stay in hunt for the run chase. Dhoni-Rahane combined to post 73/2 in 10 overs.
As Rahane was looking set after striking eight boundaries, debutant left-arm chinaman bowler Shamsi fooled the right-handed batsmen to get him stumped and put Bangalore back into the game.
But as Dhoni was aiming to take on the bowlers, he was dismissed in the 16th over to have the team in trouble.
Thisara Perera hit Patel for 25 runs in the 18th over to put Pune back into the run chase. But the 19th over saw Watson dismissing Perera to have match turned on in favour of the visitors.
Earlier put into bat, Bangalore got off a slow start, losing opener K.L. Rahul (7) in the fourth over to put a breaks on the scoring.
But his opening partner Kohli and de Villiers kept the scoreboard ticking, sneaking in with ones, twos to take the score to 48/1 after completion of the powerplay.
But soon after the powerplay, the in-form duo unleashed their pyrotechnics to smash boundaries and sixes at regular intervals without losing any wickets to take team to 97/1 in 11 overs that set up the stage for yet another big score.
Kohli and de Villiers made it look simple as the Indian and South African pair brought up their 100-run partnership for the second wicket in just 69 balls and helped their team reach 128/1 in 15 overs.
Kohli got a life in the 16th over while batting on 49. Trying to hit off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin out of the park, he eventually got a top edge which was put down by Ankit Sharma at mid-off.
The duo put on 155-run partnership for the second wicket to take team to a competitive total, before Kohli and De Villiers were dismissed in successive balls in 20th over. Perera (3-34) was the pick of the bowlers for Pune.