AB de Villiers blazed an unbeaten 76 from just 34 balls to maintain Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 100 per cent record as they brushed aside Kolkata Knight Riders by 38 runs.

The 37-year-old thrashed nine fours and three sixes – reaching his half-century in 27 deliveries – as he and Glenn Maxwell (78 from 49) enabled RCB to recover from a sticky start and post a commanding 204-4.

SCORECARD

That target proved beyond the Knight Riders, who could only manage 166-8 in reply, despite a late flourish from Andre Russell with 31 off 20 balls as Virat Kohli’s team – who have never won the IPL – returned to pole position in the table.

Although RCB won the toss and decided to bat, leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy (2-39) immediately put them on the back foot by striking twice in his first over.

That included the prize scalp of Kohli (5), who departed to Rahul Tripathi’s stunning diving catch over his shoulder at cover.

But Maxwell began the fightback, clubbing Shakib Al Hasan for the first six of the innings and going on to unfurl a variety of shots – including flat-batting fellow Australian Pat Cummins (1-34) over mid-off for four.

🔥MAXWELL MAXIMUM!🔥

Don't give Glenn Maxwell a free hit – you know it'll be pummelled for six!🎆#RCB have recovered to 60-2 in the eighth over against #KKR#IPL2021

📺Watch: https://t.co/K8wRqV0EyA
📰Scorecard: https://t.co/rdLYty2Wez pic.twitter.com/EtJK889WRF

He dominated the third-wicket stand of 86 from 55 balls with Devdutt Padikkal (25 from 27), which eventually ended when the left-hander top-edged Prasidh Krishna to deep square leg in the 12th over.

However, that only paved the way for De Villiers to pulverise the Knight Riders’ bowling and he and Maxwell added 53 from 35 deliveries before the latter sliced Cummins’ slower ball to backward square.

Harbhajan Singh and Russell both took some serious punishment late on, with the last five overs realising 70 as De Villiers lifted his side north of 200 with some savage hitting.


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Shubman Gill made an aggressive start to the KKR chase, punching Kyle Jamieson off the back foot for six to reach 21 from just nine balls, but the New Zealand paceman (3-41) claimed his wicket as substitute fielder Dan Christian took a diving catch.

Tripathi (25 from 20) and Nitish Rana (18 from 11) were also unable to build on their starts as the Knight Riders slid to 74-4, with spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2-34) removing both Rana and Dinesh Karthik, leg before for two.

Eoin Morgan did his best to hold the innings together, reaching 29 from 23, but when he failed to pick a change of pace from the impressive Harshal Patel (2-17) and dabbed a routine catch into Kohli’s hands, KKR looked down and out.

Russell briefly gave them renewed hope, slamming four Chahal deliveries for 18 before Mohammed Siraj sent down a superb penultimate over that went for just one and Harshal closed out the game.

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