Sharjah, October 12: Check this stat. Virat Kohli: 28 runs. 33 balls. The Royal Challengers Bangalore captain needed to wait till 25th ball to get his first boundary, the lone four too, of his innings. It was struggle all around for batsmen on the Sharjah pitch that remained sluggish throughout the match. But one batsman stood out from the rest: AB de Villiers.
AB smoked 73 off 33 balls with 5 fours and 6 sixes, and his 11 boundary shots equalled whole of Royal Challengers batsmen and were one more than managed by all Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen.
It was display of pure genius. The KKR bowlers cut down the speed to make shot making all the more difficult on an already tough pitch to score. But AB had his plans in place, wait for the ball in his crease and then dispatch it to the stands rather than rushing to the ball.
It was no wonder Kohli called him a superhuman. "This pitch was drier. The day was pleasant so we thought there would be no dew. But barring one superhuman, every batsman struggled on the pitch. The talk was around getting 165, but we got 195 you know exactly why. It was unbelievable," said Kohli in the post-match presentation.
While the Mr 360 was busy at the other end putting the bowling through the wringer, Kohli watched from his end with awe.
"I thought I had a few balls under my belt, and I might start striking. He just came in and struck the third ball, and said he felt good. I said you might see a lot of people do what is done in other games, but only AB can do what he did. It was a fabulous knock. We were looking at 160-165, and it was only thanks to his genius we got to 195. I was happy we could string together a partnership, and mine was the best seat to watch from,' said Kohli.
So how did the Superhuman manage to tame KKR bowlers and a lame pitch? "I felt that energy in the bus already. In fact, I surprised myself today. I want to be the best that there is," he said.
"I am very happy with my performance. That's all I can say. I got a duck last game, that is a terrible feeling. I am very happy that I contributed. We were headed towards 140-150, and I thought I might try for 160-165, but I was surprised we reached 195. The margins are very small when Cummins and Russell are running in, and you need to use every bit of energy in you to keep the momentum going," he said.
"It is a tremendous win against a very strong side. Heading into a busy week for us, it was important to start off well. The bowling unit looks that much more potent with Chris Morris coming back. We were very happy with the total.