IPL 2021: 'He is better than genius' - Sanjay Manjrekar's ultimate praise for RCB batsman AB de Villiers
Former India batsman and now a renowned commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar reserved praise of the highest order for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman AB de Villiers after he rolled back the clock to score a masterful 48, helping RCB chase down the 160-run target set by defending champions Mumbai Indians to start their IPL 2021 campaign on a winning note.
De Villiers, who scored 48 off 27 balls with two sixes and four fours, was run out in the last over with RCB needing 2 off 2 balls but all-rounder Harshal Patel showed nerves of steel to hit the winning runs off the last ball of MI pacer Marco Jansen to seal the victory for the Virat Kohli-led side.
Manjrekar said if there is any adjective better than ‘genius’ then that should be reserved for AB de Villiers.
“English not my strong suit. What’s the adjective for ‘better than genius’? That’s what AB is! Really!” Manjrekar tweeted after AB’s heroics with the bat on Friday in Chennai.
De Villiers, who changed the script in a space of two overs by attacking the two MI spinners Rahul Chahar (0/43) and Krunal Pandya (1/25).
His attack prompted Rohit Sharma to finish his best bowler Jasprit Bumrah's spell (2/26 in 4 overs) before the final over, from which seven runs were required.
RCB were in control when Glenn Maxwell (39 off 28 balls) came in and upset leg-spinner Chahar's line with a reverse-pull boundary. He repeated the shot off the same bowler for a six and got another maximum off Krunal Pandya over long-on.
Skipper Virat Kohli (33 off 29 balls), who had launched into an experienced Marco Jansen in his first over, got a bit bogged down as the innings progressed. However, Maxwell's attack meant that Kohli could take his time.
It was MI's strike bowler Bumrah, who came back for his second spell at the back-10 and removed the Indian captain with an angular delivery.
If that wasn't enough, Jansen, the 6 feet 8 inch youngster, banged one short that ended Maxwell's potentially dangerous innings as the 'Big Show' once again promised a lot but delivered little.
After Jansen removed Shahbaz Ahmed, de Villiers announced his arrival with a six and a boundary off Chahar.
Earlier, Harshal produced a death over masterclass, which kept the MI total under check (159/5).
He picked up three wickets in his final over for a run and also became the first bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians.
(With PTI inputs)