Gujarat Lions v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2016, Qualifier 1, Bangalore May 25, 2016

De Villiers best current batsman - Kohli

ESPNcricinfo staff
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'Virat is a thinker, I am not' - de Villiers

Virat Kohli has acknowledged AB de Villiers as the best current batsman, and lauded his composure under pressure after the South African's 47-ball 79 helped Royal Challengers Bangalore qualify for their first IPL final since 2011. Royal Challengers had slumped to 68 for 6 in their chase of 159 against Gujarat Lions in the first Qualifier before de Villiers shared an unbroken 91-run stand with Iqbal Abdulla to carry his side home with 10 balls to spare.

"Unbelievable, can't believe I'm the winning captain," Kohli said at the post-match presentation. "That should end a lot of debates as to who is the best going around. No question about it.

"Come the big game, the big man stands up. I just bow down to him, that was probably one of the best knocks under pressure I've seen. So composed, taking Iqbal Abdulla along. He was really motivated to do it for the team. I'm really happy for him, I'm really happy for the whole team. Special credit to Iqbal as well, the way he got stuck with AB, that crucial partnership. That was wonderful composure to see from a young guy."

After having lost five of their first seven games, Royal Challengers were languishing in the bottom half of the table before winning six of their final seven matches, including a knockout game against Delhi Daredevils, to finish second in the league stage.

"We have been playing good cricket coming into the playoffs, the guys wanted the opportunity," Kohli said. "We've been speaking of guys wanting to step up every game. The top order didn't do well. But AB, the class batsman that he is, I could see the opposition was worried about him, they wanted him out pretty badly because they know what he can do."

The first Qualifier was played on an atypical Bangalore pitch with the ball holding up in the surface and assisting the spinners. Kohli said a thin drizzle during the chase also helped Royal Challengers.

"It did play a bit slow in the first half of the first innings. Second half it settled nicely. I wasn't too unhappy about the few showers in between, it settled the wicket. The ball didn't turn so much, it didn't stop in the end. But high pressure game it doesn't matter, you could be playing on a cement wicket. You need composure and that's what AB de Villiers is."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Blessing on May 26, 2016, 19:52 GMT

    The most hilarious thing about the comments section of this article is Aussie and English fans trying their level best to put forward names of their fellow countrymen. I am like, the green eyed monster at its level best once more in a cricinfo article.You just will never get unbaised veiws from us cricket fans on cricinfo threads. PS this article is about Kohli and AB de Villiers...;). Brilliant observation and summary to the article there at @SAFFA79

  • raymon7266823 on May 26, 2016, 19:29 GMT

    A question to put this debate to rest once and for all is: Who do bowlers fear bowling to in any format of the game, AB or Virat?

  •   Lawrence Cesar Engelbrecht on May 26, 2016, 17:29 GMT

    AB thinks Virat is the best batsman going around although he won't come out and say it. Like Sachin he probably doesn't want to get drawn into those kind of conversations. Kohli is a great batsman and for me what is so impressive is that he is consistently getting better. His hunger and drive is very evident by the way he plays the game. Kohli and AB are the 2 best batsmen in the world. Root, Smith, Amla, Williamson are very good players but cant take the game away from the opposition like AB and Kohli can. Warner, de Kock and Sharma are capable of doing so but not quite as good as AB and Kohli. These batsmen are probably the best going around currently.

  • manojg9623067 on May 26, 2016, 16:17 GMT

    Kholi, smith, decock r of same class.. AB is a class apart.. He's uncomparable.. Modern master of cricket..

  • pride.2744262 on May 26, 2016, 14:57 GMT

    I get that kohli is more consistent in Twos but AB is more consistent in tests & ODIs. Kohli is great in chasing? How many times has he chased a total against SA?

  • Benjamin on May 26, 2016, 14:40 GMT

    Again.. A comparison.. It's like comparing north pole with south pole. Both have unique living conditions.. Both regions face different challenges.. Hope you all can understand...

  • Thomas on May 26, 2016, 13:47 GMT

    What makes Virat and AB one of the finest cricketers around is because they can shift gears at will. They are excellent runners in between wickets. They are one of finest fielders in the world today. They collectively save about 10 to 15 runs every match. They hold some of the finest catches that halts the progress of the batting unit.

    RCB with Gayle, Virat, AB, Watson, Rahul, Binny form a very good batting unit. It is very rare that all fail at a time in one match. The test will be how RCB will fare if they chase 190 and have lost Gayle, Virat, AB, within 60 runs in the powerplay overs. Will they still lift the trophy? If so, this team can be considered as invincible.

  • Brijesh on May 26, 2016, 13:24 GMT

    @Dunger.Bob - You're right about the need to measure players based on the way they do their 'job'. By that measure, I'm not sure if Kohli or Warner would come up 1st or 2nd. AB's job is to provide impetus to the innings if Gayle fails and Kohli is still at the crease. If Gayle and Kohli are out, he takes up Kohli's role. To score 700 runs in conditions that are not natural to him and change his task according to the situation puts him at the top of my list. Yes Kohli has done things unheard of - but, he still has a similar job every match. Plus he's playing at home. That's enough of an advantage to stay consistent. He'd still be pretty close to AB, but he's second. As for Warner in T20s, I think his weakness against spin trips him up in the middle overs. We know how good he is against the pacers, but he loses momentum exactly when Kohli and AB start their accelerators. But I guess, he'd still be third, but for want of a better choice. I'd have preferred Smith, who left mid-way injured.

  •   Gitanshu Amola on May 26, 2016, 12:53 GMT

    @CRICINFOUSER: Just add to your fantastic collection, hundred against India while chasing 400+ on 5th day, 30 odd runs on 230 odd deliveries to save a test !! In ODI although there are many, a recent hundred by AB while chasing against England in the series decider, 3 down, ball moving and swinging, he played almost a chance-less innings with 100% orthodox shots to win the game and series for his side. And believe me the conviction that he was showing in the WC semifinal against newzeland, batting on 60 odd with 15 overs to go when rain came, we missed a all time great innings in a WC knockout game :( His 100 against India in chennai on a rank turner is the best I have ever seen by a foreign batsman on a spinning track ! All his 23 hundrerds are scored with a strike rate of more than 100 !!!

    @princeJain: he plays T20 just for fun, as his cricking education do not included T-20 ever !! he is a debutante of 2004-05 when no one was playing T-20 and he is still learning T-20 ;)

  • manojg9623067 on May 26, 2016, 11:58 GMT

    Prince Jain have u ever watched abd's 100 in Perth 438 chasing match or 92 of 51 in 2007 WC against a us or 238 against Ind wen he took d charge from 84 for 4 or 161 in 121 vs eng in bowlers friendly pitch.. Wat hap to vk in eng tour.. Go n watch d matches.. Better know what's going on in cricket then talk.. If u dont like someone just shut it..