Like every South African batsmen, AB de Villiers also has played only in very few finals. One of the best batsmen in the world, De Villiers said he feels “honoured and privileged” to be featuring in the IPL final after his stunning performance guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to a four-wicket win over Gujarat Lions in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
De Villiers played a match-winning knock of an unbeaten 79 against the Lions in the semifinals to pilot the RCB into the IPL summit clash on Sunday.
“To be in IPL final means much to me and I have not played in a lot of finals throughout my career. Having played for RCB for six years have not seen playing in finals. It is a great honour and privilege to be in the finals with this great franchise which has looked after me and the team over the years,” de Villiers said at the post-match press conference. “Lot of people were saying we were under performing but moments like this makes things worthwhile. We had a great team spirit for some years now, and have played some good cricket”.
Chasing 159 for a win, RCB looked down and out at 29 for five wickets, with Dhawal Kulkarni sliced through the RCB top order scalping four wickets, before de Villiers smashed 79 not out off 47 balls to script a sensational comeback and take the team home in 18.2 overs.
De Villiers praised the performance of Kulkarni, “He bowled a fantastic spell and lots of credit is going to go to him. He basically had the game in their (Lions’) pockets.”
“They almost won the game in powerplay and we just kept fighting, kept fighting,” he said.
Asked if would rate his 79 not out as one of the best innings of his IPL career, de Villiers said he gives a damn about statistics but only concerned about helping the team to race past the winning post.
“I always said it. I honestly give a damn about any stats. I don’t think anything about my hundreds or fifties. It was special for me to cross the line for the team and win a game. That is why I play this game,” he said.
De Villiers said the Chinnaswamy wicket played funny and anything about 160 runs to chase would have spelt trouble for his team. “Yes, it was funny kind of a wicket. While we were bowling, I thought anything above 160 we will be in trouble.
The wicket didn’t seem like a wicket we can go and score out there,” he said.