Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman AB de Villiers has revealed he always had the belief that his side could reach the Indian Premier League final despite the task seemed impossible and ‘a huge mountain to climb’ at one stage.
Chasing a target of 159, the Royal Challengers endured a horror start and were reduced to 68 for six in the 10th over before de Villiers single-handedly lifted his side from the jaws of defeat with a stellar knock.
The South African swashbuckling batsman smashed 79 not out and in the process stitched an unbeaten 91-run partnership with Iqbal Abdullah (33) to beat Gujarat Lions by four wickets in the first Qualifier at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.
“To be honest with you, I am just humbled. I didn’t think it was possible to win from there when I started batting and when we were five or six down. I thought ‘Oh, we are in trouble,’ and it was a big mountain to climb from there on. Dhawal Kulkarni bowled a fantastic spell. He almost won the game for them, but it is never over until the last ball is bowled,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by iplt20.com
“I tried to break it down into small targets. I wanted to focus on each ball and enjoy it even though we were down and out. I always had a bit of belief in the back of my mind. Such games just tell you that you are never out of the game. It is a funny old game – cricket. I am so delighted to have an impact in us crossing the line tonight. We played a really good game of cricket,” the 32-year-old said.
Earlier, batting first, Gujarat relied on West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith’s 41-ball 73 to post a respectable 158 all out in their stipulated 20 overs.
The Suresh Raina-led Gujarat, however will have another chance of securing a final berth when they meet the winner of the Eliminator in the second Qualifier in New Delhi on Friday.