Walking in at the fall of Virat Kohli's wicket, de Villiers was determined to play the anchor role much like he did in the earlier match RCB played against Mumbai Indians in the season. Though they finished agonisingly short then, de Villiers was determined to ensure the first innings at Wankhede on Monday, wouldn't see them concede the game without a fight.
De Villiers was on 31 off 29 balls when Lasith Malinga came back into the attack for a second over. He took nine from the over and went on to target the Sri Lankan seamer right through the innings. The eight balls he faced from Malinga, de Villiers stroked 23 runs at a strike rate of 287.50.
The South African has had the wood over Malinga in the past. In the previous fixture this year against Mumbai, de Villiers had taken Malinga for 25 in seven balls. He has only ever lost his wicket to Malinga once in T20s while scoring at a rate of 194.73.
This is perhaps another factor behind his success against Mumbai Indians. De Villiers has over 600 runs against Mumbai Indians in the IPL, the most against any team. He averages in excess of 40 and seems to reserve special treatment for them every time.
The signs are ominous for RCB regarding de Villiers’ form. He has made 307 runs in the year at an average of 51.16 and a strike rate of 154.27. After a mini-slump in the 2017 season, de Villiers has owned the IPL in the last two years despite RCB's poor form.
Last year, he had made 480 runs at an average of 53.33. In 2016, he plundered 687 runs at 52.84. In 2017, his average dipped to 27 but this year, de Villiers seems to be on a roll once again. RCB will hope his terrific form can help them stay afloat in the competition.
First Published: April 16, 2019, 12:15 AM IST