Head coach Simon Katich describes AB de Villiers, who highhandedly won Royal Challengers Bangalore the IPL game against Rajasthan Royals, in Dubai on Saturday, as a “freak”.
De Villiers (55 off 22) smashed six sixes to help the Royal Challengers register a seven-wicket win over the Royals after all seemed lost following the dismissal of skipper Virat Kohli (43) in the 14th over.
“He is a freak, isn’t he? That’s why he is the greatest of all time. What we saw was another masterclass; we have seen a number of them already in this tournament.
“He had one here against Mumbai, and, obviously, the other day he got 73 off 33,” Katich said during the press conference after the match.
The RCB coach also said they learned from their mistake in the last game and ensured that de Villiers batted at his usual number four spot. The South African star had come in at number six against Kings XI Punjab.
“We certainly made sure that he bats in his right position today. We certainly learned from our mistake and he was wonderful.
“The reason we won was, I think he was magnificent. Chris Morris was brilliant, (Yuzvendra) Chahal got us back in the game with his two wickets. We had a number of crucial performances but AB basically won us the game single-handedly.
“Looked like Rajasthan deserved to win and we got out of jail really.”
It was the 19th over when de Villiers exploded, smashing three successive sixes off Jaydev Unadkat, who ended up conceding 25 runs, which changed the complexion of the match.
Royals captain Steve Smith said it was just “serious batting” by de Villiers, who made the penultimate over look so “awful”.
“In hindsight and now in the result, yeah absolutely,” Smith said when asked if he should have bowled Jofra Archer in the 19th over.
“But look, it is a tough one. I thought Jaydev bowls his cutters and stuff into the wicket and bowls really well normally to a long boundary at the leg side. It wasn’t an awful over; it was some pretty serious batting to be honest.
“There are not too many guys who can hit the ball the way AB did, under pressure, to a big side and clear the fence very easily… But hindsights are a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
The defeat was Rajasthan Royals’s sixth in nine games and Smith said it did hurt to lose from a winning position.
“In the last two games, we got ourselves to two positions to win the game but we were not able to do that, and that hurts. For us it is pretty clear cut now. We need to win our last five games to have a chance to make the play-offs,” he said.