Former Proteas star batsman AB de Villiers dusted off the cobwebs in fine style with a quickfire 50 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
The star-studded franchise – captained by Indian skipper Virat Kohli – opened their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with a clash against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Dubai International Stadium on Monday evening (SAST).
AB LIFTS RCB TO PERFECT START
Continuing their pursuit for a maiden IPL title, RCB raced to an impressive 90 for the first wicket, which came inside 11 overs
However, this was followed by two quick wickets, bringing the team’s biggest stars together in Kohli and De Villiers.
Unfortunately, their third-wicket partnership did not last long, with Kohli holing out to Afghan superstar Rashid Khan at midwicket off the bowling of Thangarasu Natarajan for 14, with just 33 runs added since the second wicket fell
The onus was on to the South African to hand RCB the impetus, and the 114-Test veteran obliged with a swashbuckling display.
It took De Villiers just 29 balls to reach his half-century, as he smashed four fours and two maximums.
He was dismissed on 51 searching for a second run, while Manish Pandey delivered a bullet throw to keeper Johnny Bairstow to end an incredible innings.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE KICK IPL 2020 OFF IN STYLE
De Villiers was one of two RCB batsmen to reach a milestone on the day, with debutant Devdutt Padikkal announcing himself in fine style with 56 off 42 balls – an innings that consisted of eight boundaries.
Australian captain Aaron Finch also played a handy role, anchoring the first-wicket partnership with Padikkal, before he was dismissed for 29 in 27.
The trio guided RCB to 163 for the loss of five in their 20 overs.
Bairstow and Pandey looked to be well on their way to making light work of the target set for them, as they got together for the second wicket after the early fall of Australian star David Warner, who was run out for a run-a-ball six.
The pair put on 71 for the second wicket before Navdeep Saini caught the Indian international off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal for 34.
Bairstow was the next wicket to fall as he went for 61 in the 16th over, with the team total on 121 for three. That happened to be the beginning of a spectacular collapse, with none of the remaining batsmen reaching double figures.
In the end, RCB won by 10 runs, Proteas speedster Dale Steyn took the final wicket to seal victory.