ABD, who normally bats at no.4, was sent to bat below Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube and that too at the same ground where he smashed 73 off 33 balls in RCB’s previous game against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Only thrice has the Proteas legend batted at six (or below) in IPL and the move surely backfired this time as de Villiers came to bat in the 16th over of the game and couldn’t repeat even half of his last performance as he went back to the pavilion after scoring just two runs off five deliveries.
Meanwhile, cricket pundits and fans were shocked to see ABD coming so late to bat.
“AB De Villiers has been playing cricket for 15 years, has faced all kinds of bowlers. Your best batsman should be facing the maximum deliveries if he had faced 25 balls, the ball he got out to would’ve travelled over the ground,” remarked former England batsman Kevin Pietersen on commentary.
IPL 2020 : Why AB De Villiers batted at No. 6 ? Virat Kohli explains, why
Captain Virat Kohli described it as one of those decisions that didn’t come off, while explaining that they wanted to send left-hand batsmen against Kings XI’s leg spinners. However, de Villiers was dismissed for 2 off five deliveries when he later came out to bat at 127 for 4.
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“We had a chat,” Kohli explained at the presentation, “There was a message from outside about left hand-right hand [combination] and we had a discussion about it and we wanted to go ahead with it because they had two leggies (Ravi Bishnoi and M Ashwin) and that could have kept them out of the game.”
So Washington Sundar was promoted to No. 4. and Shivam Dube was sent up at No. 5.
“That’s the idea,” Kohli said of Sundar and Dube batting ahead of de Villiers. “Get your eye in and start hitting but I think they bowled decently well. The pitch didn’t allow us to hit those big shots and we were not able to put them under pressure. Sometimes you have to take those calls and they don’t come off.”
In the end, de Villiers, who could have come in the seventh or 11th over of the innings, ended up marking his guard only in the 17th before being dismissed while trying to attack Mohammed Shami that ended in a catch at extra cover.
“Look sometimes decisions that you take don’t come off,” Kohli said. “This was one of those nights. But look, we’re pretty happy with the decisions we took, especially in the batting innings, but they just didn’t come off. Having said that, I think 170-plus was a decent score on that pitch. Had we hit decent areas on the pitch, then we would have been in the game much more than we did.”