IPL 2018 | AB gives us plenty of reasons to smile, says Virat Kohli

IPL 2018 | AB gives us plenty of reasons to smile, says Virat Kohli

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RCB skipper, Virat Kohli, believes that AB de Villiers, who is like a hero to the franchise, gives them plenty of reasons to smile. De Villiers played a blistering knock of 90 runs from just 39 balls, which lifted the crowd of Chinnaswamy and got them the much- needed victory over Delhi Daredevils.

One could not help but feel for the Delhi Daredevils’ bowlers, who were being taken for a ride on almost every delivery by Mr. 360 degree on Saturday. After posting a healthy total on the board and picking up early wickets of the RCB openers, DD had surely felt that they had the match in their control. However, de Villiers had different plans. He bludgeoned the DD bowlers right from the start and ensured a six-wicket win for the hosts with two overs to go.

The South African scored an unbeaten 39-ball 90, which also happened to be his highest score in an IPL chase. DD had a glimpse of a comeback amidst the onslaught when Kohli was dismissed for 30 runs, thanks to a breathtaking catch by Trent Boult, but the South African maestro ensured that the pressure remained on Delhi’s bowlers.

“To be honest, I didn’t decide it (to play aggressively). I wanted to put the spinners under pressure because there was a bit of turn with the new ball. I didn’t want to get out in soft ways, I just wanted to try and transfer a little bit of pressure. From there in it just kept going, I kept feeling good at the wicket, kept seeing the ball, kept hitting it well and never decided to be aggressive. Just those little moments in the game that I felt I needed to capitalise on,” said De Villiers later to Gary Kirsten after the game.

On the well-executed sweep shots off Nadeem’s bowling, de Villiers pointed out that he didn’t play them as good as he would have liked them to be, but was lucky to get the better of the Delhi bowler.

“I didn’t go as low as I wanted to, which I normally would do,” de Villiers said of the well-swept fours against Nadeem. “He got the better of me, but luckily I was in, and was quick enough to get under it.”

The spin-friendly turf didn’t hinder de Villers in any way whatsoever, who looked like a man of a mission.  His aggressive batting even forced an in-form Virat Kohli to play the second fiddle, which has hardly been a common sight. Kohli later revealed that his brilliant understanding with AB has always helped him batting alongside him. 

“The guy (AB) in our team gives us plenty of reasons to smile,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation. “We understand situations, understand each other’s games well. He started off in a great way, my job then became to stick it out, string in a 65-70 run partnership. And then the opposition know they have to protect the game, rather than going for a win.”

RCB has rarely needed further support whenever de Villiers has performed. While Corey Anderson remained a mere spectator in their 29 balls 56 runs stand, the final 28 runs came off the partnership of de Villiers and Mandeep Singh, who hit a boundary and a six in his 9-ball 17. 

“I just feel lucky and blessed to be playing alongside him and witnessing one of his best innings. He keeps doing such stuff every third or fourth day. When he is batting at the other end, it makes our jobs easier as he know how much capability he has. Honestly, when I bat with him, I just try to rotate the strike and just give it to him. But it is also crucial to realise that he too isn’t under too much pressure,” said Mandeep Singh.

Speaking about his breath-taking performance, de Villiers said, “I spoke about being a black mamba earlier. And today I wanted to be that.” He, certainly, was the black mamba on the ground and left Gambhir and boys stunned.

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