28 runs needed off 12 balls. IPL 7. Royal Challengers Bangalore chasing, at home, against Sunrisers Hyderabad. AB de Villiers at the crease. Sunrisers captain Shikhar Dhawan gives the ball to Dale Steyn. One of world's best limited-overs batsman against arguably world's best fast bowler - both from South Africa. A perfect script that ended on a perfect note - as the 'freak' in De Villiers rose to the occasion.
The UAE kept waiting for De Villiers to wake up. For five matches in a row in the Emirates, the South African woke up rubbing his eyes, only to fall back asleep again. But back in India, in RCB's first home game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, De Villiers made even Steyn applaud to his stroke-play.
De Villiers took his countryman apart taking him for 24 runs in the penultimate over of RCB's run-chase, which led to maddening celebrations in the stands. 6-6-1-1-4-6 is how Steyn's over read. The equation came down to just four runs off the last over, and it took De Villiers just one ball to finish it off with a boundary off Irfan Pathan.
Photo credit: BCCI.
And quite rightly, De Villiers' RCB team-mate Harshal Patel called him a 'freak' during his interview with iplt20.com.
"What do I say! AB [de Villiers] is a freak, man. What he can do on the cricket field, I don't think anyone else can do that. I have no words to describe his brilliance," Patel said after watching a breathtaking batting display from the best seat in the house - the non-striker's end.
"I think he is the most difficult batsman to bowl to. To good batsmen, if you bowl decent yorkers or good deliveries, you can get away. But to AB, if you bowl a perfect yorker, you can still go for six. You are never sure where to bowl to him. You can only bowl and hope for the best," he added.
It was RCB's first match of Season 7 at Bangalore, and Patel said the team could smell a win as soon as it entered the dressing room.
"As soon as we walked into this dressing room, the feeling was fantastic. We have won some great games in this particular ground and those memories were fresh in our minds. The crowd, the vibe and the whole aura of the venue is radiant. As soon as you step on this field, you feel you are on cloud nine. The chants of 'RCB, RCB' get the players going," he said.