It was a treat for the fans who had assembled at the M.Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on the 14th of May 2016. Two masters, Kohli and de Villiers, blessed with totally different skills captivated the capacity crowd on that day, on a lovely summer afternoon.
Kohli is the artist. He follows the textbook even in T20 cricket. The weight gets transferred with ease, the balance is perfect, and his timing is pristine. De Villiers is the unorthodox Genius. He can create impossible angles while batting, can maneuver the ball wherever he wants to across the ground and his hand eye co-ordination is second to none.
Kohli and De Villiers were at their pristine best, and all that the opposition could do was gape at them in awe that fateful night as they hammered the Gujarat Lions into submission.
Kohli and de Villiers on the prowl
On the 14th of May 2016, the only thing that went right for Gujarat side was the toss. They elected to field first, and the pair of Kohli and Chris Gayle walked out to the middle. Gujarat managed to scalp Gayle early, and with the scorecard reading 19/1, in walked De Villiers to join forces with his skipper.
The second ball that De Villiers faced, he played the shot of the match. The ball was pitched short by Kaushik, De Villiers rocked onto the back foot and hit the ball over cover for six. The next six hit by the South African batting maestro underlined the command he had over the field. Pravin Tambe flighted the ball on middle stump, De Villiers got down on his knees and smashed him over deep square leg for six.
The crafty Dwayne Bravo tried to outwit De Villiers by bowling a slower delivery, but the South African spotted it. He danced down the track and smashed him over mid off for a boundary. Virat Kohli was watching all this at the other end, and he too decided to join the action.
Off a perfectly good delivery by Dwayne Smith, the Indian master batsman rose on his toes beautifully and punched the ball past cover. The timing was so good that the ball raced to the boundary. Off the second ball of the 12th over, Kohli charged down the track and hit Dhawal Kulkarni through the line for a massive six over Long On. In the same over, De Villiers also treated Kulkarni with disdain. A short of a length delivery by the pacer was pummeled over mid wicket for a massive six.
The crowd was getting their monies worth. The two legends were taking the Gujarat bowling attack to the cleaners. De Villiers brought up his fifty with a delectable cut past point. At the other end, Kohli too brought up his fifty with a single to Long Off.
De Villiers then went on the rampage. Pravin Tambe was hammered for six over deep wicket when he flighted the ball, and when the bowler went short, De Viliers smashed him over point for a boundary. Praveen Kumar was then treated by a De Villiers master class.
Kohli and de Villiers owned the bowlers
The bowler came around the wicket and bowled a low full toss on leg stump. De Villiers got inside the line and smashed him on the roof of the stadium. The next ball was smashed over mid wicket for another six. Praveen Kumar stood there transfixed. De Villiers was just unstoppable.
The South African batting superstar brought up his century with a single through the off side. He had brought up his hundred off just 43 balls, and the crowd went absolutely delirious.
In the 18th over of the match, Kohli and De Villiers completely owned Dwayne Bravo. Kohli played two sizzling cover drives that split the field off the first two deliveries. In fact, the second shot was timed so well that it actually carried over the ropes.
Off the last two deliveries, Bravo met with the power of De Villiers. Both the deliveries were smashed for sixes by the South African, and RCB crossed the 200 run mark in the 18th over of the match.
229 run stand
The next over bowled by Kaushik was disastrous for the Gujarat outfit. Kohli pummeled the youngster for 30 runs in an over. And, the best shot of the lot was the trademark Kohli whip’ over mid wicket. Off the third ball of the 19th over, the master batsman got his powerful wrists into play and deposited the ball over deep mid wicket.
The RCB skipper brought up his hundred with a straight six off Praveen Kumar. Kohli removed his helmet to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd, and the opposition was rendered totally helpless.
The dynamic duo of Kohli and De Villiers put on a massive 229 run stand for the second wicket, a record in IPL cricket.
In reply, the Gujarat Lions was shot out for a partly score of just 104 runs.
14th of May 2016 will be etched in IPL folklore. It was the day two masters blessed with different skill sets, but united by their desire to dominate the proceedings came together and wreaked absolute carnage at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.