Kohli comes out and gives de Villiers a hug. The game was slipping away from RCB there, with 35 needed off the final two overs. And then we saw it again. The magic of AB de Villiers. It took him three balls to flip the game on its head, smashing a hat-trick of sixes off Jaydev Unadkat who didn’t have answers to the greatness in front of him. Maybe Smith could’ve bowled Archer in that penultimate over. But it’s hard to say if it would’ve made a difference. The total from Rajasthan was a very respectable one on a pitch that’s slowing down all the time. It was probably even above par. And the difficulty was certainly reflected from the partnership between Kohli and Padikkal. But de Villiers came to the rescue, transcending conditions again like he did in Sharjah.
Most 50s scored of 25 or fewer balls (IPL):
12 D Warner/ AB de Villiers
7 C Gayle/ K Pollard
6 V Sehwag
Steve Smith: Sure is a tough pill to swallow. It was a pretty special innings on a pretty slow wicket. In a different league. Very disappointing as we played really well for a majority of the game. Two games in a row now that we were in the box seat and had our chances to win. It was a pretty good score on a slowish wicket if we would have squeezed well and would have been able to take wickets. We could have bowled a few dot balls and built the pressure which we did really well till a special innings took it away from us and take RCB home. We wanted to use JD for the bigger boundary as he bowls that slower ball into the wicket. Obviously it wasn’t big enough for AB. We thought of using Jofra but unfortunately it didn’t work as I went the other way. Nice to spend a little bit of time in the middle as I haven’t been able to do that. Hopefully I can keep going on from there.
Kohli: Importance has been getting points on board. You can see the way the team has played so far, it’s all about individuals stepping up when the team needs them the most. We’ve been able to do that in this tournament. Good reason why we sit on 12 points. Was a very important game because it’s three days now till we play again. Very very happy right now. If we have to be honest, you are tense because you’re not sure how many balls he will face (AB). When he’s hitting them so well, things from the other end can be very different. Credit to Gurkeerat too, he struck a very important boundary. Stayed in there with AB. But when he plays like that you want him to face every ball, no offence. Good reason why. You saw what he can do in the end. Doesn’t matter who the bowler is; you can have the best bowlers in the world in the opposition and he does what he does. Always bats by situation. He always looks at the team situation and adapts his game accordingly. In my eyes, he’s the most impactful match-winner in the IPL. When he goes the opposition knows they’ve got a slim chance. Purely because of the presence of that man in the middle the opposition feels we’re not out of the game. I don’t know what’s the talk is on the outside. Our gameplan is pretty clear. We’ve been following a set pattern. If you look at performances from the top four-five batsmen, it’s been a spread of responsibility taken up. Young Dev has come in and has batted beautifully. Finchy has made an impact at the top. Our opening partnership has given us starts. Those things are very crucial. I know people like to look at things in a different light. But within the team environment the dynamics are very different; we understand what we need to do as a side and we stick to those plans. The bowling has stepped up this season. You’re going to be put under pressure. It’s a T20 tournament. Guys have come back strongly when put under pressure. Morris has been outstanding since the time he came in. Just that presence in the field and the confidence he brings. Saini has been brilliant. Chahal. Isuru has bowled well. Washi has been brilliant for us. We’ve been able to strike a nice balance.
AB de Villiers is the man of the match.