'He does it on slow wickets what not many can do': Virat Kohli says 'opposition gets nervous' about AB de Villiers
The first match of the 14th edition of Indian Premier League was a cliffhanger as it went right down to the last ball to determine the winner of the game. It was Royal Challengers Bangalore who held onto their nerves as they defeated Mumbai Indians by two wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. During the run-chase, the onus again fell on AB de Villiers to rescue RCB and take his side to victory.
On a slow Chennai track, de Villiers was taking the bowlers to the cleaners as he smashed 48 runs off 27 balls against the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
Talking about de Villiers' match-winning innings, RCB skipper Virat Kohli said that the South African still intimidates the opposition.
"The opposition gets nervous about AB. We have depth in the batting which we want to utilize. AB is probably the only one in the team who is so versatile. And he does it on slow wickets what not many can do."
Kohli was also all praise for Harshal Patel's bowling performance on Friday, terming him their designated death bowler in this edition of the IPL.
Harshal's 5 for 27 was the reason RCB were able to restrict MI to 159 for nine in the IPL opener, which is something that even losing captain Rohit Sharma admitted.
"We brought Harshal in a trade from Delhi. He is relishing the responsibility and is clear with his plans. He was the difference today. He is going to be our death bowler. As a captain you want players with clarity, and he has that," Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
MI captain Rohit wouldn't mind losing another opening game as long as his team goes on to win the tournament, but admitted that they were 20 runs short.
"Winning the championship is important, I guess, not the first game. It was a great fight and we didn't let it go easily. Although the score wasn't something we were happy with. We were 20 short," Rohit said after his team's ninth opening round loss.
"We made some mistakes, those are bound to happen. We need to move on. When you look at the situation with four overs left they had AB and Christian, that's why we went with Bumrah and Boult to try and get them out.
"Definitely not an easy pitch to bat on, the odd ball was gripping," he said.
The MI captain was all praise for de Villiers.
"De Villiers batted really well and got them home. We haven't had much time together as a group and it was totally opposite in Dubai, where we began preparations a month before," Rohit said.
The MI skipper didn't want to give any excuses for the defeat.
"... But that's how the IPL has been played over the years, you just got to get in the game as quickly as possible. It can be difficult for teams that have great home records, but that is what sport is, you've got to go away and win. We are fortunate that we're even on the park."
De Villiers, whose exploits won the game for RCB, was also very pleased with his effort.
"It was an incredible game of cricket, always seems to be against Mumbai. We obviously came in knowing it wasn't going to be easy. I knew halfway it was going to get tough, it's one of those pitches that gets harder as the game goes on," de Villiers said.
(with PTI inputs)