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May 7, 2012
Royal Challengers Bangalore needed 39 to win off 18 balls against Deccan Chargers, as AB de Villiers prepared to face Dale Steyn, who had two overs remaining. The first delivery of the 18th over disappeared for a flat six over midwicket, the beginning of 23 game-changing runs in Steyn's over. De Villiers said, after Royal Challengers won with seven balls to spare, he had read the situation to "perfection".
"I guess we know each other pretty well," de Villiers said of his battle against Steyn. "I can't take anything away from Dale, he could have knocked me over with any of those balls, unfortunately for him I read it well, it was just my night.
"I thought I saw him whispering to Sanga [Kumar Sangakkara]. I think they took the fine leg back. I was quite lucky, I saw them communicating about where to bowl and I saw Sanga saying short of a length and I was expecting the short delivery upfront. From there on I knew he was going to go full. I just nominated that over well, on another day he might knock me over."
De Villiers began his innings when Royal Challengers needed 76 off 37 balls, and he finished unbeaten on 47 off 17 deliveries. His awareness of the situation was so complete that, after taking 22 off the first five balls of that Steyn over, de Villiers intentionally steered the final delivery to third man to keep strike for the penultimate over. He then hit the first three balls of the 19th over from Anand Rajan to the boundary as well.
"I enjoyed the situation tonight, I came in [with] 80 [to get] off 40-odd balls. I knew what was required and played to that kind of game plan and, like I said before, my game plan paid off tonight. On another night it might not, so I took full advantage tonight.
"I won't say I'm a finisher of the game. I'd like to think of myself as a guy who can play anywhere, that's something I've worked on in my whole career. I'd like to be a guy that can adjust to certain situations and that's something I strive for. I can even get better hopefully as there's lots of room for improvement."
While de Villiers provided the finish, Royal Challengers had significant contributions from other batsmen as well. Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 71 off 54 balls, while Chris Gayle adapted to playing second fiddle during a 91-run opening stand. "I thought Dilshan played an amazing knock, and even Chris, it was a much-needed foundation we needed," de Villiers said. "We've collapsed a few times in the IPL before, so we needed that foundation to finish it off well at the end, and luckily for me I was in that kind of situation to do so."
And before de Villiers launched his attack on Steyn, Mayank Agarwal had given Royal Challengers valuable propulsion by hitting 18 off the six balls he faced. It was overshadowed by the extraordinary flurry of boundaries that followed, but de Villiers acknowledged the importance of Agarwal's contribution.
"Some of the guys around me played amazing knocks. Mayank Agarwal took a lot of pressure off me with those boundaries he hit," de Villiers said. "It was either him or me who had to take a lot of risks, and he did it before I did. So he played a very important hand tonight and set it up well for me. I could just go and play the situation at the end."
The win helped Royal Challengers move to fifth spot in the league, overtaking Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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