While Sharjah started as a hunting ground for the batsman, it has gotten slower and more challenging to bat on.
Last night’s game between Bangalore and Kolkata can conclude two things. The first is the Sharjah pitch getting slower, while the second is Ab De Villiers is still a monster and can do things on his terms.
He came into bat in the 13th over after Finch’s wicket. Finch himself started nicely in the powerplay, but he and the other Bangalore batsmen struggled once the powerplay was done. Finch stated after the innings that the ball was not coming onto the bat after going soft.
Along with Finch, Virat Kohli as well struggled to get going. He was rotating the strike beautifully, not playing too many dots, but could not find the boundary. He eventually found the boundary of an edge in the 19th over.
The Knight Riders batsmen found it even tougher to get going, with both openers starting slow on a pitch that kept getting slower.
A total of 218 runs was made off 207 balls after removing Ab de Villiers’s performance.
Despite the struggle faced by batsmen of both sides, one man found it easy to get things moving.
De Villiers took time to get his first ten runs and got hit on the thigh trying to slog a slower one from Nagarkoti. Up and till then, it looked like RCB would struggle to reach 160.
Despite a slow start from De Villiers, he rotated the strike well with Kohli and found a boundary in his extraordinary style. He hit the ball onto the non-strikers stump, which then darts to the boundary.
It was in the 16th over where the show started. Ab De Villiers launched an attack on Nagarkoti, who was doing well with his slower deliveries and cutters. The cutters which had been successful up to the 16th over where now being waited on by De Villiers.
There was no shuffle around the wicket as usual. Instead, De Villiers just hung back and slogged Nagarkoti over the leg side, hitting a car with one of his big hits as well.
He then took apart one of the world’s best, Pat Cummins, getting 19 off the over, while using his special shuffle across the wicket on a few occasions.
180+ was an apparent possibility at this point as he went after Russel and had a great contest with him.
While Russel missed his yorker and was hit for ten in his first two deliveries, Russel fought back well, and this was followed by a good over from Prasidh Krishna.
The final over was again a good contest between two great finishers.
On a slow pitch, Ab De Villiers provided the onslaught that got them to 194. He finished with 73 off 33 scorings 5 boundaries and 6 sixes. He spared no bowler and just went in his own extraordinary style.
While everyone was struggling to play the slower deliveries, De Villiers had waited for those and played them smartly, utilizing the short boundaries well.
With all the new stars coming in he showed how he is still relevant in the cricket world.
Kohli’s statement of only AB being able to do what he did was a statement meant for yesterday’s performance showing why Ab De Villiers is arguable the best.