There can be no substitute for experience and class as A B de Villiers proved during the IPL game against the Kings XI Punjab in Bengaluru on Wednesday, April 24.
De Villiers, who retired from international cricket last year, took time to get going in the first few games of IPL-12, with just one 50 from his first 4 games. Thereafter, he has been back to his dominating self with the bat.
The South African genius made the difference with the bat against KXI with a whirlwind 82 not out from just 44 balls, laced with 7 fours and 3 sixes, to power Royal Challengers Bangalore to their third victory in a row.
RCB, who started the tournament with 6 straight losses, have now won 4 of their last 5 games.
Put into bat, RCB didn't get off to a good start. Captain Virat Kohli (13) perished early, but Parthiv Patel's attack in the early overs helped the hosts maintain a good scoring rate.
But his wicket in the 7th over saw Punjab seize the intiative courtesy of their two spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Murugan Ashwin. RCB lost 3 wickets for 10 runs in 16 balls.
From the 7th over till the 14th over, RCB didn't manage a single boundary. Then Marcus Stoinis broke the shackles with a 6 off M Ashwin.
De Villiers pulled Ankit Rajpoot for a 6 and a boundary to score a 50 off 34 balls. It was mayhem in the final overs.
Fellow South African Hardus Viljoen gave away 16 runs as de Villiers hit him for a 4 and a 6.
In the next over, India pacer Mohammed Shami was taken to the cleaners by de Villiers who slammed him for a hat-trick of sixes.
The third six was especially sensational as de Villiers, despite taking evasive action to a high full toss, swatted the ball over square leg for a maximum.
He continued his assault in the final over as Viljoen was despatched over midwicket for another 6. Stoinis was inspired to take the same route and the Australian hit the last 4 balls for 2 fours and 2 sixes.
Courtesy of de Villiers's late blitz, RCB smashed 64 runs from the last 3 overs to finish on a huge 202/3.
That assault proved crucial as KXI lost by 17 runs, finishing on 185/6 in their 20 overs.