Cricket 'superman': 'What are you made of?'

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AB de Villiers. Photo / Getty Images.

Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and South African batsman Hashim Amla guided Kings XI Punjab to an eight-wicket IPL win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, but a losing player was the real star of the show.

AB de Villiers, making his first appearance in the T20 tournament after recovering from a back injury, hit a brilliant 89 off 46 balls for Bangalore but it wasn't enough to set an imposing score for the hosts, who chased down their target of 149 in 14.3 overs.

Kings XI, who defeated Rising Pune Supergiant in its opening match two days ago, made Royal Challengers struggle for runs until the South African gun, replacing Chris Gayle, exploded in the last four overs.

Royal Challengers had lost three wickets inside the batting powerplay due to some classy bowling from left-arm spinner Axar Patel. He dismissed captain Shane Watson in the first over and medium pacer Sandeep Sharma (1/26) conceded just seven runs in his first three overs.

De Villiers then upped the scoring rate appreciably, smashing seven of his nine sixes in the last four overs.

Some of his shot-making was out of this world. There were stand-and-deliver blows straight down the ground and massive strikes over the leg side off good length deliveries,

"He plays these shots with amazing ease, it's unbelievable," Laxman Sivaramakrishnan said in commentary after one of his maximums. "He's in a different league altogether."

At one stage the right-hander dropped to one knee and swept a full toss well outside off stump (it would have been called a wide under normal circumstances had de Villiers let it go), sending it out of the stadium.

"AB de Villers, what are you made of?" Sanjay Manjrekar said.

"You should get 10 for that, that is huge," Michael Clarke added.

But his best was yet to come.

In the final over de Villiers advanced to paceman Mohit Sharma and stepped away slightly to the leg side, but the bowler thought he had his measure. He bowled a slower ball wide of off stump that would have befuddled most batsmen.

Continued below.

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But de Villiers has an answer to everything. He adjusted by rocking back, planting his right knee on the ground and extending his arms through the ball to hit it over long off for six. It was ridiculous.

And to finish things off, he hit the final ball of the innings out of the stadium for a second time.

"AB de Villers has once again shown he's the Superman of this game," Manjrekar said.

De Villiers hit nine sixes and three fours in his innings, which comprised more than 60 per cent of his team's total.

The 31-year-old admitted he was surprised with how cleanly he struck the ball given he'd spent time out with injury.

"I did surprise myself and played a few good shots," de Villiers said while wearing a microphone in the field during the Kings XI innings. "It's more of a mental thing than anything else.

"It's not like you become a bad player overnight, the rustiness is more self-doubt. (That self-doubt) was there the last few days, I must admit."

"AB de Villers, what are you made of?" Sanjay Manjrekar said.

But his heroics were ultimately in vain as Kings skipper Maxwell smashed an unbeaten 43 from just 22 balls while Amla scored 58 from 38 deliveries to pilot their side to the eight-wicket win.

"We didn't start well with the bat and I'm certainly to blame, getting out in the first over," Shane Watson said.

"We didn't even execute nicely with the ball. There was a little bit more dew than I thought there would be and it was skidding along more in the second innings."

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