Bengaluru, May 25 (IANS) When AB de Villers and Iqbal Abdullah of Royal Challengers Bangalore overpowered Gujarat Lions on Tuesday in the first play-off of IPL-9, a packed Chinnaswamy stadium rocked, with about 35,000 frenzied fans roaring and dancing to celebrate an exciting victory.
Though the Lions were on prowl in the first 10 overs and hunted down the Royals to 68 for 6 wickets, a defiant AB and a cautious Abdullah reined them on their home turf in 8.2 overs to vanquish the debutants and take RCB to the finals.
Stepping onto the crease after RCB’s in-form skipper Virat Kohli was bowled first time in this IPL for a duck in second over and despite running out of five partners, the South African tamed the Lions to emerge victorious, with an unbeaten 79 of 47 balls, hitting five mighty sixes and five boundaries.
The Mumbai-lad Abdullah, at the other end, played a cameo knock of 33 not out in 25 balls six to maul the Lions and win the match for RCB by four wickets.
Snatching a dramatic victory from jaws of a near defeat, man of the match AB and Abdullah posted an unbeaten 91-run seventh wicket partnership in 52 balls.
With die-hard fans rooting for RCB and screaming ‘AB, AB’ across stands, the stadium erupted in joy when Abdullah scored the winning run and their team mates, led by an ecstatic and relieved Kohli ran to the middle and hugged both.