IPL 2020: AB de Villiers masterclass helps Bangalore overpower Rajasthan
Unbeaten fifty secures seven-wicket win for Royal Challengers in Dubai
Superman. Mr 360. A freak. The greatest of all time. The most impactful player in the IPL.
AB de Villiers blew out the upper register for superlatives a long time ago, so his teammates and opponents could not really find much to adequately describe his latest match-winning salvo in Dubai.
After seeing him snatch a game that had appeared to be squarely in his side’s grasp, the opposition captain Steve Smith simply said: “We were ABed.”
The South African great hit 55 not out from 22 balls, which included a six off Jofra Archer as Bangalore reached victory with seven wickets and three balls to spare against Rajasthan Royals.
Simon Katich, the Bangalore head coach, termed it a “masterclass”, and suggested De Villiers had won the game single-handedly.
“He is a freak, the greatest of all time,” Katich said.
“What we saw today was another masterclass. We have seen a number of them already this tournament, with one against Mumbai that was magnificent, and 73 off 33 the other day [against Kolkata Knight Riders] as well.
“We certainly made sure he batted in his right position today. We have learnt from that mistake.
“He was wonderful, the main reason we won the game today. We had a number of crucial performances from other guys, but AB basically won us that game single-handedly.
“Rajasthan looked like they deserved to win, but we got out of jail, really.”
Smith had top scored with 57 as Rajasthan had posted what seemed like a challenging total of 177-6 from their 20 overs.
Bangalore had wickets in tact but struggled to up the scoring rate in reply.
Then De Villiers hit the first three balls of the penultimate over from Jaydev Unadkat to the long leg-side boundary for six, and the game was as good as won.
“I didn’t hit even one of them off the middle,” De Villiers said.
“When Unadkat was bowling, I was looking leg side but to be honest I was nervous because I knew I had to hit it well.
“Luckily I got a few away. We’ve had some good games, and we’ve had some average games as well, let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a reason we’re not at the top of the table.”
Virat Kohli, the Bangalore captain, was happy to eulogise about his long time colleague.
“It doesn't matter who the bowler is, he does what he does,” Kohli said of De Villiers.
“AB is always been someone who's been ready to look at the situation and adapt his game accordingly.
“In my eyes he's the most impactful player in the IPL. If he goes, the opposition know they have a slim chance and there's a good reason for that.
“It’s purely because of the presence of someone like him that teams feel we are never out of the [chase].”
Smith said he would have altered his gameplan with the benefit of hindsight, and bowled Archer instead of Unadkat for the 19th over of the run chase.
The over went for 25 in total, leaving Bangalore with 10 to get off Archer’s final over – but Smith refused to blame his bowler.
“It was a tough one,” Smith said.
“JD [Unadkat] bowls his cutters into the wicket, and bowls really well normally to the long boundary to the leg side.
“It wasn’t an awful over. It was pretty serious batting, to be honest. There are not too many guys who can hit the ball like he did, under pressure, to a long boundary, and clear the fence pretty easily.
“Knowing the result, yes, I’d have gone the other way and maybe backed Jofra to get him out, or bowl a better over, and JD bowl the last one. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.”
Updated: October 17, 2020 07:43 PM