Abraham Benjamin de Villiers!! Feared by his opponents and trusted by his teammates. How often has this superhuman transcend expectations for the Royal Challengers Bangalore? How often has he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat? And how often has he achieved the seemingly impossible?
On a wicket that only made it difficult to bat on with time and against an opponent that literally cruised along with some magnificent bowling, it only took ABD one over and three balls to turn the match on its head. With 35 needed of the last two overs and with a certain Gurkeerat Mann suffering a struggling existence, AB de Villiers took the onus upon himself. His eyes lit up even further when he saw Jaidev Unadkut take the ball in the penultimate over. While Steve Smith’s plan behind the move is still largely unknown, the situation just set up well for the South African. He went ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ off the first three balls pulling handsomely for consecutive sixes on the legside. It was rather logical of Unadkat to bowl short considering the longer end, but his pace served a platter and even De Villiers was too determined to miss out on those. Later in the presentation, ABD modestly confessed that two of those three massive sixes didn’t even come off the middle of his bat. One can only imagine the distance they’d travel if they did!
Other than AB’s mayhem in the 19th, it was the last over of the first innings by Chris Morris that was the turning point afterall. Rajasthan Royals had scored 34 of the 18th and the 19th over and were set to go beyond 180, possibly even 190. However, the last over from Chris Morris that went for only 4 with even a couple of wickets in the process changed the course of the game. Despite what seemed to be an above-par score, it was those 5-10 less runs that cost Rajasthan dear. Chris Morris on the other hand, has been a revelation for the RCB. Overcoming injury, he has completed the jigsaw of RCB’s bowling worries, both at the top as well as the death. Wouldn’t be unfair to say, if bowlers are to win matches moving forward, courtesy of the slow pitches, RCB are well capable of springing in a surprise.
The loss for Rajasthan now leaves them with 5 do-or-die matches on the trot. Needless to say, it is imperative for Rajasthan to find the right balance and combination at the earliest. The form of Uthappa and Smith is a certain positive for the team to gain but the absence of finishing abilities and the frequent fluctuations at the top are even more grave concerns, after today. The foreigners ought to step up, the Indians ought to create an impact and if Rajasthan are to come any close to qualification, the team ought to start winning. Meanwhile for Bangalore, it is a similar struggle but more so for that Top 2 spot than qualification.
IPL nonetheless is only spicing up more. Two weeks of exhilarating excitement and anxiousness await!