AB de Villiers, the mainstay of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batting unit, shined with the willow against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the opening game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
The spinal column of RCB had held the ship for his franchise during their chase of 160 in the Friday night fixture played at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. RCB were at a comfortable position at 98-2 before losing few wickets in quick successions and reduced to 122/6.
RCB still needed 38 runs to win from 21 balls, and the likes of Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell were already dismissed. Nevertheless, the former South African skipper remained firm at his end and took the game deep into the final over.
With 7 required off the last over, the Challengers were in a comfortable position to register a victory. However, De Villiers got run out on the fourth delivery. The RCB’s crisis man ran hard for a double but failed to cover the distance and missed out on his 39th half-century in the cash-rich league by two runs.
After the match, De Villiers opened up on his run-out and said: “I worked hard during the soft-season on the treadmill, but it’s just not the same. I was running in quicksand in the last 10 meters (laughs).”
“I don’t know what happened. It was an easy two, in my opinion, but as I tapped in and started going for the second, it felt like I was running backwards. At that point, I knew it was going to be tight if it was a good throw. Krunal got it spot-on with the throw,” he added.
Despite losing their star stroke maker in the final over, RCB managed to win the contest as Harshal Patel hit the winning run on the last ball. Eventually, Harshal was named ‘Player of the Match’ for his remarkable bowling. He picked up five wickets for 27 runs in his quota of 4 overs, which included 12 dot-balls as well.
The next game in the ongoing tournament will be played between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and last year’s runners-up Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday (April 10) at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.