Kohli belted two sixes and seven fours while de Villiers smashed four sixers and six fours in a rollicking third wicket partnership of 155 runs in 15.5 overs that powered Bangalore to 185-3 in 20 overs.
Their bowlers then managed to withstand a brave fightback by opener Ajinkya Rahane (60 off 46 balls), captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (41 off 38 balls) and allrounder Thisara Perera (34 off 13 balls) and restricted them to 172-8 in 20 overs. Australian pace duo of Kane Richardson (3-13) and Shane Watson (2-31) did most of the damage for Bangalore.
Pune’s chase also suffered a big dent when their star batsman Kevin Pietersen (12) was forced to retire after a calf injury and did not take part in the match any further.
It marked a torrid phase for Pune who also lost opener Faf du Plessis (2) and Steven Smith (4), with just 18 runs on the board.
Although Rahane and Dhoni pulled things back with a 91- run stand in 12.1 overs and Perera brought them closer smashing three fours and three sixes, the regular fall of wickets proved to be their undoing.
The victory lifted Bangalore from the seventh position to the third place in the standings while Pune slipped to the seventh place.
It was also the second time that a team had defended the target in 16 IPL games this season with Bangalore emerging triumphant on both occasions. They had earlier defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 45 runs in their first match.
Kohli was delighted with the way the bowlers shaped up and heaped praises on de Villiers for his selfless act. “That was closer than we thought it would be at one stage, but it’s good to cross the line,” Kohli said. “We were playing good cricket, it just needed composure at the right moments.
“I wasn’t happy with myself, the way I batted after 30-35 balls, but I figured out it was important to stay in with AB. He kept me going and told me to play the anchor role, so that he could play his shots.
“The surface didn’t have that much bounce to hit shots at will. AB is the best batsmen of our generation.
It’s a pleasure to bat alongside him. The way he communicates, he’s a selfless person. He doesn’t care about his own plans, but help people around him. He’s a better human being than a batsman.”
The Indian batting star was also impressed with chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, 26, who was drafted into the squad after West Indies legspinner Samuel Badree was ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
The South African spinner, playing his first IPL match, conceded 36 runs in his four overs and claimed Rahane’s wicket.
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