Royal Challengers Bangalore lived to fight another day in the Indian Premier League as the star duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers shared a scintillating 118-run stand off 64 balls to script a five wicket win over Delhi Daredevils, in Delhi, on Saturday.
Thanks to Kohli's blazing knock of 70 off 40 and a splendid unbeaten 72 not out from 37 balls from de Villiers RCB raced to the 182-run target in 19 overs despite being reduced to two for 18 in the third over.
Delhi had scored 181 for four, largely due to the efforts of Rishabh Pant, who continued his golden run with another cracking innings of 61 from 34 balls, while debutant Abhishek Sharma played a sparkling innings of 46 not out from just 19 balls to provide the boost in the death overs.
The much-needed victory was RCB's fourth in 11 games, keeping them in contention for a play-off spot. The loss for the hosts meant their campaign got worse as they registered their ninth defeat in 12 matches.
The RCB chase was reminiscent of Sunrisers Hyderabad's effort at the same venue on Thursday when they hunted down a 188-run target with ease.
The batting conditions were ideal and Kohli and de Villiers played shots of the highest calibre to enthral a full house. It was Delhi's home game but it seemed most of the fans had turned up to chant 'Kohli, Kohli'.
Amongst Kohli's seven fours and three sixes, his front foot lofted drive over long-off stood out. As one would expect, de Villiers too came up with delightful shots, collecting four boundaries and six sixes in total. He ended the match with a straight hit over the fence off Trent Boult.
Earlier, Rishabh Pant continued his destructive form with a 34-ball 61 before Abhishek Sharma impressed on his IPL debut to push Delhi Daredevils to 181 for four.
Sharma, who hammered an unbeaten 46 off 19 balls, was one of three IPL debutants for Delhi along side Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and South African pacer Junior Dala.
Considering how easily Sunrisers Hyderabad chased down 188 in the previous game, RCB skipper Kohli opted to put the opposition in.
In his next over, Chahal sent back Jason Roy in a similar fashion as the Englishman failed to read the wrong one, leaving Delhi at two for 16 in the third over.
The dangerous duo of Pant and skipper Shreyas Iyer (32 off 35) then got together to resurrect the innings. They shared a 93-run stand with Pant doing bulk of the damage.
Pant, who smashed an epic 63-ball 128 at this same venue, against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday night, pulverised the visitors' attack yet again. The southpaw got going by depositing Mohammed Siraj for successive sixes in the eighth over, one came off a pull over midwicket and the other was a flatter hit over long-off.
Pant raced to his fourth fifty of the season off 27 balls and was poised for another big innings. It only took a special effort to remove Pant with AB de Villiers holding on to a spectacular sliding catch at long-on.
The other set batsman, Iyer, too departed soon after Pant's fall, hurting the innings momentum to leave Delhi at 120 four in the 16th over.
That was when Sharma stepped in and took the opposition by surprise.
The left-hander looked good from ball one when he smashed Siraj to the long-off boundary.
Luck was also on his side as Sharma was dropped by Siraj at third man and to add insult to the injury, the ball deflected from his hands to the ropes. Tim Southee was the unfortunate bowler who eventually leaked 22 runs in the 17th over with Sharma smashing him for two sixes in a row.
The 17-year-old belied his age with such clean and powerful hitting in an innings that comprised four sixes and three boundaries.
The last 29 balls fetched 61 runs for Delhi with Sharma and Vijay Shankar (21 off 20) sharing an unbeaten 61-run stand off 30 balls.