IPL 2014: Dear RCB, don't overthink... just let AB de Villiers open

Just try it because this isn’t something you want to regret later. To have so much power waste away in the dug-out is almost criminal.

Ashish Magotra May 05, 2014 12:18:45 IST
IPL 2014: Dear RCB, don't overthink... just let AB de Villiers open

At a certain point in ODI cricket, all teams were looking to have their best batsmen open the innings.

The logic then was that given how short the 50-over format is – you have to give your best batsman as much time in the middle as possible and with the field restrictions in place, there are more gaps for the batsmen to exploit as well.

Now, if that worked for ODIs – and it did work for sure then why can’t the same tactic work for T20 cricket as well?

Last night, AB de Villiers played a brilliant innings (89 off 41 balls) to help Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Sunrisers Hyderabad. He hit 8 sixes and 6 fours in his knock. It really was a one-man show – the next highest score by a RCB batsman was Chris Gayle with 27.

Only, it wasn’t a rare occurrence. We have seen de Villiers do it before to Dale Steyn in the IPL and to South Africa’s opponents in international cricket as well. He has been referred to by many as the best T20 cricketer on the planet – he merges orthodox with unorthodox seamlessly (shuffling at the crease, reverse sweeps, scoops, cover drives, off drives, slogs) and it often leaves opposition bowling attacks in disarray.

IPL 2014 Dear RCB dont overthink just let AB de Villiers open

RCB need de Villiers at the top of the order. BCCI

So then why is de Villiers being wasted down the order by RCB? Why not have him open the innings. Chris Gayle hasn’t been in the best of form but given his track record you have to persist with him. Parthiv Patel has had a few good knocks but AB would definitely be more dangerous. And it will also give RCB a right hand-left hand opening pair – once again not good news for the opposition.

If you can trust Parthiv to open the innings, then you can trust him to bat lower down the order too. And he will certainly be more dangerous than 24-year-old Rilee Rossouw who batted ahead of him last night.

At a certain level, you can understand why a Kieron Pollard or Mahendra Singh Dhoni don’t want to open the innings – they are impaired by bad technique. AB de Villiers, however, doesn’t have that problem. The South African averages 51.94 in Test cricket and 49.46 in ODIs – you can’t put up those numbers without a good technique. He is a class act and surely, RCB need to learn how to use him better.

If RCB think that he is their finisher then perhaps they need to have him float – open the innings, if they are batting first and lower down the order if they are chasing. Any which way if he gets going at the top of the order, the chase won’t be very close. Also as a finisher, RCB also have Yuvraj Singh now.

After the match, RCB skipper Virat Kohli said: “The belief with which AB was hitting the ball - it was one of the best T20 innings I’ve ever seen.”

So don’t you want to see more of the same, Virat? The moment you have de Villiers come down the order, you give him less of a chance of making an impact which in turn means that RCB’s chances of winning a match lessen as well.

Just try it because this isn’t something you want to regret later. To have so much power waste away in the dug-out is almost criminal.

When told that his South African compatriot Dale Steyn (0/39) whom he destroyed today described his innings as a “different class”, de Villiers said, “He (Steyn) won the first set and I won the second. I would have loved to have a third set against him.”

Well, we would have all loved to have that third set. If de Villiers does open the innings, we can be sure, we will have plenty of those.

Updated Date:

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