Kings XI Punjab v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Indore April 10, 2017

Rampaging de Villiers stands alone

Returning from a back injury, AB de Villiers single-handedly revived a sinking Royal Challengers Bangalore innings with a stunning 89 not out off 46 balls

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Star of the Match - AB de Villiers

Star turn

Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Shane Watson had fallen in the first over and the crowd at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, a home venue for Kings XI Punjab, welcomed the No.3 playing his first game of the season with rousing chants of "AB, AB, AB."

AB de Villiers was slow to get going, but not because he was returning from a back injury. He was fluent from the outset but deprived of the strike as his team-mates plodded along and fell, unable to cope with the pace of the pitch and the accuracy of the Kings XI attack. After six overs, RCB were 23 for 3, their fifth-lowest Powerplay score in the IPL.

By the end of the 15th over, Royal Challengers had scored only 71 - their second-lowest at that stage - and de Villiers had faced only 28 balls. His strike rate, however, was already over a run a ball, a pace no other RCB batsman managed. And then he revved it up to astonishing levels.

The rest of de Villiers' innings was genius. He carted Varun Aaron over mid-off for six, Marcus Stoinis disappeared over deep midwicket, and he ended the 17th over with another six that brought up his fifty. And then he went into overdrive.

Where the other RCB batsmen had allowed the Kings XI bowlers to bowl the lengths they wanted, de Villiers threw them off by moving around the crease, stepping down the track, and expertly piercing the gaps. And he did all that with perfect balance and a still head. On the rare occasion that he was not in the best position to hit the ball, he still managed to reach out for it and launch it over the cover boundary. A couple of other deliveries landed on the roof over the midwicket boundary.

By the time de Villiers was finished, Royal Challengers had more than doubled their 15-over score. Of the 77 runs they scored in the last five overs, de Villiers made 51.

AB de Villiers' staggering numbers in the IPL © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The wow moment

De Villiers favoured the midwicket and square-leg region; one four and six of his nine sixes came in that area. Earlier in the innings, Mandeep Singh had hit the side of the roof; De Villiers put two balls over it.

The first was off Sandeep Sharma, who was slanting the ball across the right-hander. De Villiers walked towards the off side and met the low full toss with a full swing of the bat, sending the ball high into the night sky. And then off the final ball of the innings, de Villiers walked across his stumps to a length ball from Mohit Sharma, got under it, and made the cleanest contact you could hope to see, hitting the ball squarer this time.

The numbers

  • In the 2016 IPL, de Villiers hit a four or a six every three balls on average after the 16th over - striking at 215. Today, he faced 16 balls in the last four overs, and hit seven sixes and a four.

  • De Villiers' strike rate of 219.34 is the highest in the last five overs of the IPL among batsmen to have faced a minimum of 50 balls. He has 1202 runs from 548 balls batting in the last five overs in the IPL.

  • In today's innings, de Villiers scored only 3 off five deliveries from left-arm spinner Axar Patel. He scored 86 off 41 balls against the fast bowlers.

What they said

"He is just so versatile and just so good with his hands. The second-last six he hit was just unbelievable. You have to keep it simple against him and he just played an excellent innings today."
Varun Aaron

"I did surprise myself with a few good shots."
AB de Villiers

Akshay Gopalakrishnan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VEERASENAREDDY on April 12, 2017, 4:39 GMT

    40 percent balls are used by ABD and made 60 percent of total runs. Rest of the team used 60 percent of the balls and made 40 percent of the runs. That is the difference between other players and ABD.

  • Harish on April 12, 2017, 3:43 GMT

    ABdV is special as always. But questions need to asked of RCB management. Poor team selction, poor strike rotation, poor use of Mills and Chahal. Even a brilliant ABdV cannot salvage a shoddy thought process.

  • chris on April 11, 2017, 7:44 GMT

    ab is magic. pity he isn't playing tests for a while

  •   Cricinfouser on April 11, 2017, 6:22 GMT

    ABD in this format is a cut above the rest by some distance!!!

  • pk411g8637086 on April 11, 2017, 4:37 GMT

    N when it seems we have seen every shot that can be played, this man AB proves us wrong. What a player!

  • VEERASENAREDDY on April 11, 2017, 4:25 GMT

    ABD should get more balls to face. Fortunately ABD came to the crease in 1st over itself. When Kohli and Gayle were there, they used to give more strike to ABD. In this match they play four or five balls and take single for the last ball. Otherwise 40 more runs would have come easily with ABD in the crease. RCB team members are not having common sense.

  • Nish on April 11, 2017, 3:05 GMT

    ABD's genius makes some of his team mates look even more mediocre than they really are!

  • Jose on April 11, 2017, 0:32 GMT

    "By the end of the 15th over, Royal Challengers had scored only 71 - their second-lowest at that stage - and de Villiers had faced only 28 balls."

    Not half of the 90 balls. Not even one-third! Utter ineptitude of the team.

  • raymon7266823 on April 10, 2017, 21:31 GMT

    Virat needs to come back soon, Gayle should play in the coming games as well, RCB needs to fire hard if we gonna defend totals. As for AB, am speechless, I've seen him bat many times but I can't stop being astonished everytime he bats. Very intelligent and brutal batsman. Kudos to u sir

  • Hello on April 10, 2017, 19:32 GMT

    why on earth was watson captain with ABD in the side? absolute trash move batting first when even watson himself is much better in chases than batting first. in the end ABD is just heads and shoulders above the rest but without VK actually being at the other end rotating strike and making sure they minimize dot balls mandeep singh and binny eat up balls and then take singles off the last ball of the over. i mean ABD only facded 46 of the 114 balls bowled when he was in the middle which is all on the others for taking up so many balls for nothing.

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