IPL 2021: 'He is an asset for us,' Virat Kohli hails AB de Villiers after RCB's 1-run win over DC
Virat Kohli once again heaped praise on AB de Villiers, calling the Proteas batsman an "asset" for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Tuesday.
De Villiers scored an unbeaten 75 off 42 balls to help RCB post 171 for 5 in 20 overs against Delhi Capitals (DC) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. The match went down to the last ball but RCB held their nerves to secure a one-run win. With their fifth win in six matches, RCB returned to the top of the IPL 2021 table.
After winning their opening four matches, RCB suffered a setback against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) last week. However, thanks to de Villiers' Player of the Match performance on Tuesday in Ahmedabad, RCB returned to winning ways.
In the post-match interview, Kohli revealed that de Villiers does not like being praised about still being in great form despite not playing international cricket anymore.
"At one stage I thought it was getting away, but Siraj's final over gave us confidence and we thought he would manage a professional and clinical job. If there weren't fielding lapses it wasn't going to go this far anyway. We lost wickets but AB went berserk and then in the last few overs while bowling Hetmyer got hold of a few, otherwise, we were in control. There was no dew tonight thanks to that sandstorm, and we bowled with a dry ball, so that made a difference.
Maxi is still not bowling, he's the 7th option, so we have enough options to do the job for us. We always had batting depth, but now we have a lot of bowling options too. I choose to be optimistic, but captaining for too long does make you nervous. I invariably go with the gut feel of the bowler. AB doesn't like me saying this, but he hasn't played competitive cricket for 5 months, but if you look at him bat it doesn't feel like he doesn't play international cricket anymore. Hats off to him, keeps doing it again and again for us. Such an asset for us. I'll say this again (smiles). He hasn't played for five months, just watch that innings," added Kohli in the interview after RCB's win at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Tuesday.
During the knock of 75, which was de Villiers' 40th half-century in the IPL, the former South Africa skipper became only the second overseas player to reach 5,000 runs in the IPL after Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain David Warner. Overall, de Villiers was the sixth player to achieve the feat after Kohli, Suresh Raina (CSK), Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians), Shikhar Dhawan (Delhi Capitals), and Warner (SRH).
Reacting to his sensational innings on Tuesday, de Villiers said his shot over the midwicket off compatriot Kagiso Rabada was the best one of the day, according to him.
"The shot over extra cover was certainly one of the best shots, but the one over midwicket off KG was my best one. I don't often get him away, but I'm happy I managed to get him away for that one. It's important to be fresh for every game. I worked out at home and during the quarantine in the hotel room, and now it's just about managing ourselves throughout the tournament and being fresh when we go out there to play.
We have some experienced heads and some young Indian bowlers who have done well internationally recently. They come in with a lot of confidence. Myself, Virat and Maxi chip in with some help when we can too. I forced myself to say a bit more behind the stumps, thanks to Yuzi who urged me to do it," added de Villiers in the post-match interview.
RCB have a two-day break before their next IPL 2021 fixture, which is against Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Friday (April 30) in Ahmedabad.