Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) batting great AB de Villiers was absolutely magnificent on the night of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 opener this Friday (April 9).
De Villiers’ stellar knock of 48 from just 27 balls helped RCB achieve the 160-run target in a close-fought encounter with defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on a traditionally slow Chennai track.
The innings was so good it left two of the game’s greats Matthew Hayden and Brian Lara mighty impressed. During the post-match show on Star Sports following RCB’s two-wicket victory, Hayden and Lara called AB de Villiers, the former South African cricketer, “timeless” for just good he remains.
“He (De Villiers) is timeless,” said Lara, the West Indies legend. “He has got the experience. IPL is the only form of cricket he is playing at the moment. I suppose he is keeping fit and ready for it.”
“At this stage, when they lost Virat Kohli, RCB needed him to come good. He was explosive at the right time; he controlled the game. He came in after Glenn Maxwell as well; he controlled the game and got them home.”
“He Is Timeless”, Matthew Hayden, Brian Lara Heap Rich Praise on AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers, 37, retired from international cricket back in 2018 and hasn’t had much cricket in-between his IPL stints, but has hardly shown any signs of wear and tear in his batsmanship.
In the last year’s edition of the IPL as well, De Villiers was at his fluent best and made 454 runs at a strike-rate of 158.74 while averaging 45.40. He made five half-centuries from his 15 innings and played his part in taking RCB to the IPL 2020 playoffs.
“Absolutely remarkable performance from ABD,” said Hayden. “No question. He had that presence of mind, just knowing when to go and when to hold back. But that most important thing is that rotation of strike that we saw and clean striking of the ball.”
“The mark of a great player is how they take on other great players. Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best death bowlers; he has been for quite some time in this tournament. But ABD went straight after him, straight on the front foot and those 12 runs in the 19th over is where Mumbai Indians came short,” he added.
After an impressive win over MI, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) next play Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on April 14 in Chennai.