AB de Villiers also scored a century against Gujarat Lions in a group stage match © AFP
AB de Villiers also scored a century against Gujarat Lions in a group stage match © AFP

After his match-winning unbeaten knock of 79 against Gujarat Lions (GL) in Qualifier 1, AB de Villiers has rated the knock even better than his century in IPL 2016. With his side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)  five down for 29 after six overs, the target of 159 seemed improbable to chase. But despite seeing the complete top order falter into pieces, the ‘Superman’ did not lose confidence, and guided his team to a win which sees them one step closer to the elusive IPL trophy. He was well supported by Stuart Binny and Iqbal Abdulla, with them scoring quickfire 21 and 33 respectively. Full Cricket Scorecard: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2016 Qualifier 1 at Bengaluru

De Villiers is having his best season in IPL till date, and has now scored 682 runs this season. This was his 6th half century in IPL 2016, along with a century he scored against Gujarat Lions in group stage. He is also second in the list of Orange Cap, with team-mate and skipper Virat Kohli leading the charts with 919 runs. The South African spoke to iplt20.com after his heroics.

De Villiers felt it was impossible to win against GL, “To be honest with you, I am just humbled. I didn’t think it was possible to win from there when I started batting and when we were five or six down. I thought ‘Oh, we are in trouble,’ and it was a big mountain to climb from there on. Dhawal Kulkarni bowled a fantastic spell. He almost won the game for them, but it is never over until the last ball is bowled. I tried to break it down into small targets. I wanted to focus on each ball and enjoy it even though we were down and out. I always had a bit of belief in the back of my mind. Such games just tell you that you are never out of the game. It is a funny old game – cricket. I am so delighted to have an impact in us crossing the line tonight. We played a really good game of cricket.”

De Villiers enjoyed his time with Abdulla and felt calm playing with him, “It doesn’t really matter who you bat with. It is really important to start a partnership and sort of understand each other. The minute he walked to the crease, I could just see the calmness about him. His eyes were open; he understood what I was telling and he played a fantastic knock and supported me well. He has been in pressure situations before. I don’t follow a lot of domestic cricket in India but I am pretty sure that he is one of those guys who will always stick it out there till the end for the team. He straightaway hit me as a guy, as one of those characters.

De Villiers was also asked whether he chose any particular moment to cut loose and attack GL, “It was in that Dwayne Smith over in the 15th. Virat sent a message out saying there is a bit of bad weather around and it was probably the best time to try and get up with the run-rate again. So, I decided to have a go in that over to see where it takes us. That got us going so well and the crowd got behind us. It just didn’t stop from there. We always believed we could get to the target and that is the kind of character we have in the side. We never gave up. But it looked highly unlikely to make the knockouts, never mind the final. But here we are, just humbled and very happy and hopefully we can entertain the crowd on Sunday.”

When asked about his knock against GL to be the best, after a century to his name, de Villiers replied back saying, “This is a million times better than any hundred I have scored. I have said it so many times before that I don’t look at stats. I don’t look at hundreds or two hundreds or all of that nonsense. I just want to cross the line for the boys. Tonight was a prime example of that. I have failed so many times in the past in pressure situations like that, but tonight my experience helped me. The amazing support here in M Chinnaswamy Stadium helped me to cross that line. Let’s not forget about Iqbal Abdullah who played really well there. Our bowlers too performed really well tonight.”