Recently AB De Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of the game. The 36o batter has been a legend throughout the Cricketing World. The IPL, in particular, is a place in which AB De Villiers has contributed heavily. Playing the tournament from the very first season, De Villiers is one of the best batters in the tournament, if not the best, and fights with the likes of David Warner and Virat Kohli for the greatest players in the tournament. Below are five innings of his that stand out. They may not be his best, and there will be knocks greater than those mentioned, but the five given will still be ones that are memorable and entertaining.
105 off 54 balls Vs Chennai Super Kings, 2009
IPL 2008 was a rather silent one for AB De Villiers. With international commitments and a star-studded franchise, De Villiers couldn’t make much of an impact up until game nine of IPL 2009. Facing CSK, who had a good bowling attack at the time, De Villiers walked in during the second over. Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag were out early, but De Villiers managed to find a way to stand out in a line-up that had the likes of Dilshan and Karthik behind him.
He flayed the Chennai attack, batted through the innings, and finished with 105. His knock included five sixes and helped him announce his entry into the league. De Villiers took Delhi to 189, and the score was enough for them to win, as they won by nine runs.
89 off 41 Vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2014
By 2014, Ab De Villiers became a core member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, along with Virat Kohli, and Chris Gayle. Together the three of them intimidated bowling attacks. All three could take the game away from their opposition single-handedly, and AB De Villiers showed that all is not lost if the other two don’t perform.
Chasing a target of 155, Bangalore lost Gayle and Kohli early. Rilee Rossouw and Yuvraj Singh managed to hang around, but neither could get the scoreboard moving. With bleak support at the other end, AB De Villiers calculated the chase nicely but had the Dale Steyn threat to deal with. Both players are fiery performers and fierce competitors. They faced each other in 2012 as well, and on that occasion, AB De Villiers got the better of Dale Steyn.
This time around, Dale Steyn had 28 to defend in twelve balls, but AB De Villiers got a hold of him again. He took Steyn for 24 runs and managed to finish the game with ease, despite a lot of pressure during the chase.
133 off 59 Vs Mumbai Indians, 2015
In 2015, Mumbai Indians were on the wrong side of an RCB onslaught, which saw everything go Bangalore’s way. Losing Gayle in the fourth over, Virat Kohli, and AB De Villiers put together one of many brilliant partnerships. They put together a 215 run partnership and were unbeaten at the end of the innings. Bowlers like Bumrah and Harbhajan Singh were taken apart, and AB De Villiers hit 19 fours and four sixes in his knock. He dominated the partnership, despite the presence of Virat Kohli, and helped stitch a massive victory.
129 off 52 Vs Gujarat Lions, 2016
The 2015 onslaught was not the only time RCB managed to put up an incredible partnership. With a side consisting of three of the best players in the World, RCB showed that a perfect game could blow away any opposition. Gujarat Lions came into the fixture with a good run of results behind them and were going well in the tournament. They didn’t have Raina for the fixture, but Brendan McCullum took up the role as skipper, which is not a bad substitute at all.
Despite having a decent line-up, the Gujarat Lions had no answer for RCBs best. Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers put together a 227-run partnership, taking Bangalore to a score of 248. Unlike their partnership in 2015, this time both Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers managed to get centuries, which is a very rare incident in T20 Cricket. Both batters were absolutely explosive, and De Villiers in particular was demoralizing. He hit twelve sixes in the innings and finished with 129 off just 52 balls.
79 off 47 Vs Gujarat Lions, 2016
While AB De Villiers may not have won an ICC event, he showed that he could handle pressure to a fair extent. He has some good knocks in international Cricket, at the back end of various tournaments, but the one against Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 2 is a stand-out performance, that is often forgotten.
Chasing 159, RCB was in a big hole. They lost five wickets in the powerplay, and Stuart Binny was dismissed in the 10th over. De Villiers was the only one standing, and he played a team-saving innings. Like his knock in 2014, De Villiers soaked in the pressure and analyzed the chase well. He took the game deep and gave Iqbal Abdulla the license to play his strokes. In the end, AB De Villiers managed to steer the chase rather easily as Bangalore won in the 19th over. The knock is one of his best in the IPL, and Virat Kohli termed Ab De Villiers as the best batter in the World after the performance.