The first qualifier in the Indian Premier League saw a team on red hot winning streak Royal Challengers come up against Gujarat Lions played at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore.
AB de Villiers came up with a top notch performance under pressure alongside Iqbal Abdulla to take his side to victory by four wickets against Gujarat Lions. Royal Challengers Bangalore did accomplish the target in 18th over to win the game against Gujarat Lions. Royal Challengers Bangalore started on a jittery note as opening bowler Dhawal Kulkarni was potent with his opening spell to decimate top order consisting of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. He took four wickets as Royal Challengers reeling at 29 for 5 after 6 overs. The side was placed at 68 for 6 after ten overs.
AB de Villiers did not give up as he scored a splendid innings of 79 runs and remained unbeaten as he put on a 90 run partnership with Iqbal Abdullah to seal off an improbable victory against Gujarat Lions. He struck five fours and sixes in his innings to catapult his side Royal Challengers to the final of Indian Premier League 2016. The duo of de Villiers and Abdullah took 16 runs in the 15th over and 15 runs in 16th over to reduce the equation down to a reasonable with 32 run required off 23 balls. Dhawal Kulkarni finished with best bowling figures of 4 wickets for 14 runs for Gujarat Lions while Ravendra Jadeja also bowled well with 2 wickets.
Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli won the toss for Royal Challengers Bangalore and elected to field first on uncharacteristic dry surface prepared at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium. Gujarat Lions started woefully as they lost top three wickets for just 9 runs including the captain Suresh Raina. Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Smith came together and led the revival as they put on a partnership of 85 runs to stabilize the innings. Dinesh Karthik was dismissed after doing all the hard work for his 26 runs but Dwayne Smith played an audacious knock of 73 runs off 41 balls and struck five fours and six sixes in his innings to help his side post 158 runs on the board. Shane Watson was the pick of the bowler with 4 wickets while Chris Jordan and Iqbal Abdullah picked up two wickets apiece.
AB De Villiers was named the man of the match for his scintillating innings when Royal Challengers were under the pump to seal an improbable win from the hands of Gujarat Lions.The next two games in the Indian Premier League will ultimately decide as to which team will face Royal Challengers in the Final played at Bangalore on 29th May 2016.