AB de Villiers is timeless: Lara, Hayden laud RCB star after match-winning 48 vs MI in IPL 2021 opener

1 month ago 16

Legendary batsman and former West Indies captain Brian Lara said AB de Villiers’s ability to control the game and accelerate when needed helped Royal Challengers Bangalore gun down 160 on a tricky pitch in Chennai against Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2021 opener on Friday.

Heaping rich praise of the South Africa star, who has retired from international cricket, Brain Lara said AB de Villiers is timeless. Since retiring from international cricket in May 2018, the former South Africa captain has only played franchise-based T20 tournaments.

In the lead up to IPL 2021, AB de Villiers did not have any competitive action with his last outing being the IPL 2020 play-offs in the UAE last year. However, de Villiers looked in auto-pilot mode from the word go.

Coming into bat after Virat Kohli’s exit in the chase of 160, AB de Villiers took after the Mumbai Indians bowling attack. He smashed the likes of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah, taking 12 runs from the penultimate over from the leading India pacer to help the Bangalore side go past the finish line.

De Villiers hit 48 from just 27 balls, smashing 4 boundaries and 2 sixes in a special knock in Chennai.

“He is timeless. 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 you lost Virat Kohli, RCB needed him to come good. He was explosive at the right time, he controls the game. He came in after Glenn Maxwell as well, he controlled the game and got them home,” Lara told Star Sports.

‘De Villiers’s assault against Bumrah sealed the deal for RCB’

RCB were cruising towards the target when Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell, who batted ahead of de Villiers at No. 4, stitched a 52-run stand. However, RCB went from 98 for 2 to 122 for 6 in a span of 4 overs.

De Villiers held his composure and took on the best death bowlers in the business to help RCB open their account in IPL 2021 as early as the opening day.

Matthew Hayden pointed out that AB de Villiers’s calculated assault against Jasprit Bumrah turned the game on its head for Royal Challengers Bangalore when they needed 19 runs from their last 2 overs.

“Absolutely remarkable performance from ABD. To just have the presence of mind, when to go and when to hold back... the rotation of strike 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 sometime in this tournament. But ABD went straight after him, straight on the front shoe and those 12 runs in the 19th over is where Mumbai Indians came short,” he added.