DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — AB de Villiers smashed four sixes in the last two overs and propelled Royal Challengers Bangalore to the top three of the Indian Premier League with a seven-wicket win against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.
With Bangalore needing 35 off the last two overs, the South African hammered three successive sixes off left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat’s first three balls of the 19th over. That over ended up costing 25 runs as Unadkat finished with 0-46 from four overs.
De Villiers finished on 55 not out off 22 balls. He brought up victory by hitting Jofra Archer for a big six over midwicket as Bangalore reached 179-3 with two deliveries to spare.
“I want to perform for the team and show the owners I’m here for a good reason,” de Villiers said. “When Unadkat was bowling, I was looking leg side but to be honest I was nervous because I knew I had to hit it well, luckily I got a few away.”
Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Bangalore occupy the top three slots with 12 points each.
The defeat has pushed Rajasthan into a very tight corner with six points from nine games and only five matches left.
Earlier, South Africa pacer Chris Morris took 4-26 to restrict Rajasthan to 177-6 despite skipper Steve Smith returning to form with 57 off 36. Smith had struggled to score since notching back-to-back half centuries in the first two games at Sharjah.
Morris, who removed England's Ben Stokes (15) and Jos Buttler (24), bowled an excellent last over for just four runs and took two wickets.
Morris had Smith caught at sweeper cover and got Archer leg before wicket off a toe-crushing last ball of the innings.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports