Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli paid his teammate AB de Villiers the ultimate compliment by calling him the most impactful player in the IPL. De Villiers snatched an unlikely victory for his team thanks to a scintillating half-century as he remained unbeaten on 55 off 22. Also Read - India's Predicted Squad For England Test Series: Kohli, Ishant Set to Return; Shami, Jadeja And Vihari Unavailable
RCB were chasing 178 against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday and after the fall of their captain Virat Kohli (43) in the 14th over, the contest was quickly slipping out of their hand. And then, De Villiers blasted six sixes including three successive in an over of Jaydev Unadkat as RCB overhauled the target with a two delivery to spare. Also Read - India vs Australia: Return to Test Captaincy is Steve Smith's 'Chance For Redemption'
“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,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation ceremony. “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 game.” Also Read - AUS vs IND 4th Test: Ricky Ponting Feels Drawn Test Series Will be Worse Result Than Loss on 2018-19 Tour
He continued, “To be honest, you’re always tense in chase because you’re not sure how many balls AB is going to get. Credit to Gurkeerat as well, he stuck with AB, got that important boundary. It doesn’t matter who the bowler is, he does what he does.”
With that victory, RCB have now 12 points? – same as table-toppers Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.
“The individuals are stepping up and we’ve been done that all through the tournament, which is why we have 12 points. Very happy right now because after this we get three days off,” Kohli explained the reason behind RCB’s impressive show so far.
“Our game pattern is very clear. Young Dev (Devdutt Padikkal) has batted beautifully, Finchy (Aaron Finch) has played some impact innings. We understand the dynamics and we’re sticking to our plans. The bowling has really stepped up this season.
“(Chris) Morris has been brilliant, just that energy he brings. (Navdeep) Saini, Washy (Washington Sundar) and Isuru (Udana) as well, the bowling has come together well,” he added.
On his part, the man of the moment De Villiers admitted he was nervous before that fateful 19th over.
“I didn’t hit even one of them (sixes) off the middle. 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,” he revealed.
“I’m very very nervous and erratic (in chase) and I get very stressed like any player. I want to perform for the team and show the owners I’m here for a good reason. And family, fans, and also for myself. Last game I didn’t perform my role as well as I should have, but this time I did. It’s a cat and mouse game, I always respect the bowlers. If they bowl well to me, they’ll have the upper hand,” he added.
RR captain Steve Smith was expectedly disappointed with his team’s sixth defeat in nine matches.
“Sure it is a hard pill to swallow. Just got AB’d there. That’s two in a row we were in the box seat to win but didn’t. Disappointing,” he said.
“I think it was a good score on a slow wicket. I thought we built the pressure pretty well and it took a pretty special innings to take RCB home,” he added.
Explaining why he decided to go with Jaydev Unadkat for the 19th over, the Australian said, “We wanted to use Jaydev to the bigger boundary, he bowls a lot of slower stuff into the wicket. Obviously boundary not big enough for AB.”