'IPL is the only form of cricket he is playing at the moment': Lara, Hayden praise ABD's knock in IPL 2021 opener
- Legendary cricketers Brian Lara and Matthew Hayden showered praise on the "timeless" ABD, who returned to the professional circuit for the first time since IPL 2020 in the UAE.
Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) AB de Villiers, with his match-winning 27-ball 48 against the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League 2021 (IPL 2021) opener, left cricket stalwarts Matthew Hayden and Brian Lara mighty impressed.
Speaking during the post-match show on Star Sports, the legendary cricketers showered praise on the "timeless" ABD, who returned to the professional circuit for the first time since IPL 2020 in the UAE.
Former West Indies captain Brian Lara lauded ABD's well-gauged innings, saying he came good when his team needed him to.
“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 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,” said Lara.
For former Australia opener Hayden, the standout point of ABD's innings was strike rotation.
"Absolutely remarkable performance from ABD. 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," said Hayden.
He also remarked on where MI came short in their defence.
“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,” Hayden observed.
RCB won the first match of IPL 2021 by two wickets. Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bowl first. MI 159/9 in 20 overs, with RCB's Harshal Patel headlining the innings with an impressive five-wicket haul.
In response, RCB stuttered over the line with a last-ball win. Wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers smashed 48 off 27 to bail his team out of jail. He was run out in the last over but Harshal held his nerve to hit the winning runs.
MI play Kolkata Knight Riders next, while RCB take on Sunrisers Hyderabad.