NEW DELHI: Though Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli tersely spoke of the manner in which his team’s batsmen capitulated in their must-win final game of IPL 2018, while hinting at a player shake-up in the off season, AB de Villiersbelieves that RCB have much to look gain from another disappointing season.
RCB’s defeat to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday dashed all hope they had to reaching the play-offs, following a disappointing result for a franchise that includes Kohli and de Villiers, two of the best batsman in the game. RCB needed to beat Rajasthan to stay in contention for the play-offs, but stunningly lost seven wickets for 30 runs to lose by 30 runs.
Writing in his column for TOI, de Villiers recalled watching RCB’s collapse which 75/2 at which point he was dismissed for 53 and went on to speak of the positives the franchise can take into the 2019 edition of the IPL.
“We can have no complaints. It is frustrating to know we would have qualified if we had defeated Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, and at one stage we seemed to be on course for a successful chase, but their spinners halted our march and, in a few hectic overs, our dreams evaporated like the morning mist,” wrote the 34-year-old, who finished the league with 480 runs from 11 innings, second to Kohli’s 530 from 14.
“Too often, in too many matches, we conceded too many runs when it really mattered and we failed to construct partnerships when they were really needed. The margins can be very small in T20 cricket and, too many times, we seemed to fall on the wrong side.”
However, de Villiers was quick to add that the mood in the camp was not entirely disconsolate. “So it’s all doom and gloom in Bengaluru? No, not at all,” he wrote. “We are extremely disappointed to have won only six of our 14 matches, but it is often said that sports teams must lose together before they can win together, and I do believe that, amid our underperformance in 2018, we have laid a solid foundation for 2019.
“I have been fortunate to participate in every IPL since the tournament started in 2008 and, in many respects, for me, the 2018 event has been the most enjoyable. The spirit within the RCB squad has been outstanding. In the good moments, and also the difficult moments, players, coaches and staff have stuck together and backed each other, and we have developed a collective will that augurs well for next season.”
Looking at the play-offs that start today with the top two teams, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings contesting the first Qualifier, the South African superstar tipped CSK to win the IPL pennant.
“The IPL remains brilliantly unpredictable. However, if forced to make a prediction, I would not be surprised to see SRH, brilliantly led by Kane Williamson, play CSK in the final, and then for yet one more burst of MS Dhoni magic to propel the team in yellow to the title,” wrote de Villiers.