The fact that Virat Kohli is an ardent fan of AB de Villiers is not news. On Saturday, de Villiers put on yet another show to help RCB chase down 178 with two balls to spare from a sticky situation against Rajasthan Royals in the 33rd match of the 2020 Indian Premier League.
Kohli was once again full of praises for his teammate, terming him as the most impactful player in the IPL. He said in the post match presentation, “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.
“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.”
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Kohli added, “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.
“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 then went on to talk about how the team has clicked together at the right time. He said, “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.”
Player of The Match AB de Villiers stated that he was actually nervous in the penultimate over before he cleared the boundary thrice in three balls to take his team to the brink of victory.
“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 added, “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.”
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RCB head coach Simon Katich said on de Villiers, “He’s a freak, isn’t he? That’s why he’s the greatest of all time. What we saw today was another masterclass. We’ve seen a number of them already this tournament. There was one against Mumbai which was magnificent and then the other day he got 77 off 33, so we certainly made sure he batted in his right position today. We’ve learnt from our mistake.
“He was wonderful and the prime reason we won the game today. He was magnificent. Both ABD and G Mann (Gurkeerat) held their nerves and got the boundaries at the right time. Credit to them. We had a number of crucial performances today but AB won us the game. Rajasthan deserved to win that game today, we got out of jail really.”