Chris Gayle went berserk against Pune Warriors. It was his day and nothing he did could go wrong. 175 of 66 balls is a score many would find tough to emulate even in the online cricket games. With a strike rate of 265.15, one would expect it to be the highest scoring rate in that match. But it wasn't.
Amidst the macabre from Gayle, there was one little gem of an innings from none other than AB De Villiers. He faced just 8 balls, but took 31 runs of them scoring at 387.50. For a couple of minutes, it looked like another record might be broken. Yuvi's fastest half-century of 12 balls. A lot has been written and spoken about Gayle's manic innings, deservedly so. But here I will run you through De Villiers' onslaught and why it was special.
De Villiers has been the most consistent RCB batsman along with Virat Kohli. He has provided the finishing impetus each and every time. In yesterday's match, De Villiers came to the wicket in the 17th over after Kohli was run-out by some brilliant piece of fielding by Dinda of his own bowling. The first ball he played was a bouncer that was a bit too high. And then started the carnage. Unlike Gayle, this one was more innovative and audacious. Less of Power.
The next ball from Dinda was an attempted yorker. AB moved across his stumps, took it on the full-toss and swept it all along the ground to deep midwicket for four. The next ball was a regulation pitched up ball, which AB duly deposited in the stands over long off. Calling it sensational would be an understatement.
Next over, he faced a couple of balls from Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. One was scorched to the extra cover boundary as Bhuvi pitched it outside off and the next one was single to long on. De Villers' magic was yet to come.
The next over was bowled by Mitchell Marsh who had already been dismissed for 38 runs in his first two overs. With De Villiers in the sort of mood he was in, Marsh couldn't afford to err even a wee bit. Err he did, and this was what happened.
The first ball was a low full toss, outside off stump. De Villiers moved across again and swept him to the deep Square Leg boundary. AB makes this shot look much more easier than it actually is. Next one was a a De Villiers special. Another attempted yorker metamorphosing into a full toss, De Villiers on his knees, scoops it over the short fine leg fielder all the way for six. Douglas Marillier might have won a match for Zimbabwe with this shot, Dilshan might have reintroduced this shot to the cricketing world, but its De Villiers who plays this better than anyone else in the world. Dilscoop should be rechristined as the ABScoop.
The next ball was a length ball. The PWI bowlers had not learned their lessons at all. De Villiers would be the last person not to cash in on it. He was on his knees again, as he thrashed this one way back into the stands in the midwicket region. Few seasons back, this was the Ross Taylor corner in the Chinnaswamy Stadium. AB might have something to say about it. The next ball was another full-toss. A mis-hit led to Manhas taking a smart catch at deep point. De Villiers was gone after a manic innings of 31 from just 8 deliveries. None of his shots were brute force or slogs. They were all calculated, methodical dissection of the bowlers and the fielders. The versatility and the range of shots he has shown this season, and over the last couple of years across all formats of the game, De Villiers is easily the most exciting batsman in World Cricket today.
Yuvi's record of 51 from 12 balls has stood for about 6 years, With De Villiers on 31 of 7 balls, the record was in serious jeopardy for the first time. Yuvi's team was at the receiving end of this onslaught and he might have witnessed his record being broken right in front of his own eyes. However, that was not to be and the record lives on. With the kind of form the RCB batsmen have showcased this season, it looks like a matter of time before one of Gayle or De Villiers manage to make of mockery of all T20 batting records. Or will it be India's very own Kohli? Time will tell.