AB de Villiers - a name synonymous with 'Superman' in modern day cricket. An excellent amalgamation of elegance, ferocity and wonder, De Villiers is a player who took the entire cricket fraternity by storm from the moment he became a part of it. Moulded by time, he is one of the best batsmen witnessed by the present generation of cricket fans.
The magic he carries in himself is evident from the alteration in the atmosphere of the stadium when he comes out to bat. One of the world’s most loved cricketers, ABD is one of the most celebrated heroes in the Indian Premier League as well.
He started his voyage with the Delhi Daredevils in India’s domestic league and went on to join the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the first three editions. In ten years of this annual cricket festival, ABD (as he is fondly called) delivered numerous excellent performances.
A treat to our eyes, ABD’s best innings demand constant retelling and therefore here are five of his best knock in the IPL.
#5 79* vs Gujarat Lions
His 79* against Gujrat Lions may not seem that significant in terms of figures but it is, undoubtedly, one of the most fabled knocks from AB de Villiers in terms of the playing conditions.
RCB were chasing a meagre total of 159 against the Gujrat Lions when the former's top order fell like a pack of cards.
With RCB at 29/5, the Lions were sure of their victory and the crowd in the Chinnaswamy Stadium rested all of their hopes in the South African. It was ABD who had to deliver and he was not in a mood to disappoint.
His 79 in 47 balls won the match for his team with an entire over left in hand. The reaction by his teammates after RCB sealed the match explained the importance of this win. Virat Kohli and his men came running to the field as the Bangalore-based franchise made it through to the first playoff of the season.
One can watch and read about these brilliant knocks time and again. Yet, they will never fail to amaze as these are the tales of a saga that deserves to be retold.
#4 89* vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Countless adjectives and not a single one of them can describe the perfect blend of aggression and patience that was displayed in this innings. ABD’s unbeaten 89 while chasing a total of 156 unfolded like poetry.
All his previous knocks were magical but there was no pressure on his team as they were the first side to bat. This one, however, had a different story unfolded by the brilliance of a batsman.
RCB was chasing 156 when it lost its crucial wickets shortly after the second innings started. Sunrisers Hyderabad were busy rejoicing the turn of tables in their favour. However, their happiness was not meant to last for long.
In one of the most thrilling encounters of the 9th IPL, ABD scored 89* runs in 41 balls. He scored 72 runs from boundaries alone with the help of 6 fours and eight sixes.
ABD single-handedly chased down the target with one ball to spare. What appeared to be an easy win for Sunrisers Hyderabad was soon stolen from right under their nose by one fierce innings.
#3 105* vs Chennai Super Kings
The third edition of IPL was held in South Africa – homeland of this celebrated Proteas batsman. The only facet different about this knock was that he was donning a different jersey.
Representing the Delhi Daredevils, ABD faced the Chennai Super Kings.
He started off with singles and switched to occasional doubles while batting with Tillakaratne Dilshan. Soon after the latter got out, Dinesh Karthik stepped in. However, Karthik was soon dismissed and De Villiers geared up to play one of the most sophisticated innings in T20 history.
He scored an effortless century which exuded elegance. Ultimately, his 105 off 54 balls won the match for his franchise.
#2 129* vs Gujarat Lions
Mr. 360 degree played an innings so special that it provided entertainment and showcased class in equal proportions. ABD’s 129* against Gujarat Lions was one of the most cherished innings from the 2016 edition of IPL.
RCB’s opening batsman Chris Gayle walked back to the pavilion with only six runs to his name. Following that, all the hopeful eyes turned towards the man donning Jersey No. 17.
Batting at a strike rate of 248.07, ABD scored an unbeaten 129 in 52 balls. The unrivalled fact is that he scored 112 runs from boundaries alone. With the help of ten fours and 12 sixes, ABD showed his brutal side to the bowlers that day.
His splendid knock was soon followed by Virat Kohli’s century as the duo went on to register the highest partnership of 229 runs in IPL history. What else can we ask for?
#1 133* vs Mumbai Indians
Wankhede was painted blue in support of Mumbai Indians. However, an unfamiliar tale was narrated that day when the crowd hailed the flair of a rival batsman. AB de Villers played his historical innings against the former champions while his name echoed from one corner of the ground to the other.
The confidence of bowlers was elevated after the early dismissal of Chris Gayle. Unfortunately, they were unaware of the intentions of the next batsman.
ABD walked into bat and the sight of the entire stadium altered.
He scored an unbeaten 133 with a strike rate of 216.43. He mounted these runs in 59 balls with the help of 19 fours and 4 sixes. RCB went on to register one of the highest totals in the history of the tournament by putting up a total score of 235 on the board.
Most of the balls delivered to ABD were sent beyond the boundary. The brilliance of this knock lies in the fact that the bowling unit boasted the likes of Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh.
Mumbai Indians went on to win the tournament that season but ABD’s roaring bat in that innings will haunt them forever. After all, the entire stadium swayed to the music of the magical knock that day when ABD destroyed Mumbai Indians in their own backyard.