Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman AB de Villiers felt delighted after his team's first win of the ongoing Indian Premier League on Saturday (April 13) against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. RCB finally broke its disappointing run of losses, after having faced six consecutive defeats in the tournament.
"RCB found mercy in Mohali," wrote AB in his exclusive column for Times of India. "Kings XI Punjab had won their last seven IPL home matches and we were facing a seventh successive defeat... and yet, against the odds, finally, we were the team smiling after yet another nerve-wracking last over finish."
"Make no mistake, this 2019 IPL is unfolding as an amazing tournament. Stadiums across this great country are packed with passion and excitement, day and night, and eight competitive teams ensure anybody can beat anybody on any given day."
It was a rare complete performance from RCB, whose bowling restricted Punjab to a first innings total of just 173/4 on a flat pitch, despite Chris Gayle smashing away a knock of 99 runs off 64 balls. Navdeep Saini (0/23), Moeen Ali (1/19) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/33) delivered three fine spells.
In the run-chase, the visitors lost Parthiv Patel (19) early, but then skipper Virat Kohli (67) and De Villiers (59*) himself batted magnificently well. They stitched together a second-wicket partnership of 85 runs, before Marcus Stoinis (28*) and AB finished off the proceedings in the 20th over with still eight wickets and four balls left in the innings.
"In 20/20 cricket at this level, with so many great players in action, the difference between winning and losing is often tiny; just one dropped catch, or one improvised six, or one scorching yorker can tip the balance between victory and defeat," De Villiers added.
"Sure, RCB lost six in a row, but the truth is we might easily have won three of those matches if, in a handful of crucial moments, the game had turned in our favour. Similarly, in Mohali, we took the two points... but, in reality, KXIP were competing strongly and backing themselves deep into the 19th over of our chase."