The sight of a ferocious predator devouring its prey evokes a sense of pity. The laws of the jungle must be obeyed, but the imminent, savage death of an inferior being does make the stomach churn.
The Gujarat Lionsowling unit met with a similarly gruesome end, taken apart limb by limb by the pair of A.B. de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Even as the pacers and spinners marked the start of their run-up, there was a chilling conviction among those present at the Chinnaswamy Stadium that the entire process was futile.
Regardless of what was hurled at them, the batsmen had a destructive response. RCB skipper Kohli (109, 55b, 5x4, 8x6) and de Villiers (129 n.o., 52b, 10x4, 12x6) showed no mercy. While the final 11 overs went at a run-rate of nearly 17, the last 18 deliveries cost a whopping 75 runs.
Kohli notched his third hundred of the tournament, and watched in glee as his partner recorded the highest IPL score of the season. The 229-run second-wicket stand, which came off 97 balls, took RCB to an astronomical 248 for two in 19.5 overs. And then, Shane Watson got out off the last ball. In reply, Gujarat was bowled out for 104, leaving RCB victor by a record margin of 144 runs. English speedster Chris Jordan picked up four, and leggie Yuzvendra Chahal finished with figures of three for 19.
This match, however, was all about the RCB innings. It marked the first time — in the history of this event — that two batters from the same side posted a century. The nightmare just did not end for the visitors — if de Villiers didn't get you, Kohli would.
Sixty runs off two overs
Nothing exemplified this better than the 18th and 19th overs, bowled by medium-pacer Dwayne Bravo and chinaman exponent Shivil Kaushik respectively. Bravo and Kaushik were hammered for 30 runs each, leaving Gujarat captain Brendon McCullum resigned to a horror fate.
A short while earlier, he could do nothing to prevent de Villiers from taking 23 runs off Praveen Kumar — an incredible sequence which included a paddle-sweep which landed on the stadium roof.
And to think, the home side had put on just 42 runs in the PowerPlay, with Chris Gayle having been dismissed for his fifth-straight single-digit score. For Gujarat, though, the light at the end of the tunnel would soon turn black.