It is a fruitless exercise to even try and imitate the kind of shots AB de Villiers plays, says his young Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Mandeep Singh.
“You can try to match him but it’s not possible, at least not without practice. I tried it once this season and was clean bowled! It’s impossible to stop him in full flow. It inspires youngsters like us in the squad, but one has to remember that it’s not just mindless hitting. There is method to it,” the 23-year-old Punjab batsman said on Tuesday, on the eve of the match at his home ground against Kings XI Punjab.
As playoffs approach, RCB’s fortunes will hinge on the trio of Chris Gayle, de Villiers and skipper Virat Kohli. As of now, it looks like a four-way tussle between RCB, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians for the last two knockout spots. RCB know one slip and the perennial underachievers will again be left high and dry.
De Villiers was instrumental for Bangalore hammering Mumbai Indians into submission in the previous game. His breathless 133 not out off 59 balls left MI with too much to chase. Ever since his promotion to No 3, de Villiers has scores of 47 no, 57, 2, 21, 47 no and the unbeaten century.
“I have spoken to AB on a number of occasions and he insists that we should play conventional cricket and try and settle down before opening up. If you see his innings (against MI) he didn’t take risks till late in the innings. He also tries to place the ball, but to do it under pressure, you have to be mentally tough,” Mandeep added.
Scurrying for cover
The twin threat of Gayle and de Villiers is enough to send any team scurrying for cover. And having defeated KXIP by 138 runs in their previous meeting, RCB will fancy their chances. Punjab provide an easy target, especially without the likes of Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson. The bowling is weak with domestic pacers leading the way and can crack under pressure.
A win will brighten Bangalore’s chances for qualifying while bottom-placed Punjab will look to salvage pride and shake off the effects of the hiding they received in the last game at the hands of Gayle.