AB De Villiers does the magic at number three

Pepsi IPL 2014 - Match 24 RCB v SRH


By Gaurav Joshi

If there ever was a lesson from the AB De Villiers’ onslaught on the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium, it was that the best batsman in the team should get maximum time at the crease.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore provided a classic example. The Virat Kohli-led franchise started the season with three loses in the first four games before deciding to promote their prime batsmen AB De Villiers at number three.

The move paid immediate dividends as in his first attempt at batting at number three in IPL 2015, De Villiers orchestrated a chase with Kohli to kick start the Royal Challengers campaign. Since De Villiers promotion Bangalore has lost only a solitary match.

In the past few season of the IPL, De Villiers has never threatened to win the IPL. This year all of a sudden, AB De Villiers appears in the leading run scorers list and his team is in red hot form.

Playing for his national team, De Villiers has also often neglected a chance to bat higher in the order, stating that there are better options and he likes to finish games. At the national level he is the captain and can make his own decision but at the RCB, the think tank led by Kohli has pressured him to do the job from the start to the end.

At the Wankhede stadium against Mumbai Indians, De Villiers entered the arena in the 4th over and set about the business by watching the first few balls into middle of his bat before ensuring the next 40 odd balls hit the middle. They were so sweetly timed that they either crashed into the ropes or cleared it.

One of the reasons De Villiers is so difficult to bowl to is because of his ability to nullify the yorker.   Often the past players keep mentioning that the yorker is the best ball to deliver but when De Villiers can take two steps down and make them into full toss to sweep or reverse sweep them, it makes the bowler revert to different strategies.

As a batsman, half of the battle is won when you make the bowler hesitate or put the bowler in self doubt. AB De Villiers is the best in the business especially when he has been batting for a very long time.

Batting at no. 3 against Mumbai Indians on May 10, he played a glorious innings of 133 not out off only 59 balls, smashing 19 fours and four sixes adding 215 runs for the unbroken second wicket with Kohli. This partnership is the highest by any pair in T20 history.

Also de Villiers’ unbeaten 133 is the highest score in IPL 2015 so far.

His vigorous but calculated attack was a master stroke from a batsman who should always bat higher in the batting order.


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