The wonder that is AB

Category : AB, Featured, News

I was commentating on the game between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Monday when I realised once again what a gifted player AB de Villiers is.

He is the sort of batsman that comes along once every 20 years, and in South Africa we are fortunate to have his abundant talents.

The match was meandering along for the Royal Challengers. All the batsmen were struggling to lift the scoring rate. Even the normally dynamic Tillakaratne Dilshan had problems accelerating on the particular surface on which the match was played. Until De Villiers came to the crease it appeared that the Royal Challengers would be lucky to get to 150.

It was remarkable how De Villiers from the outset took control. He changed the pace of the innings from the word go and dominated the bowlers. He scored on both sides of the wicket and invented some extraordinary strokes. In the end the Rajasthan Royals had no idea where to bowl to him. He took the game away from them over a five-over period.

De Villiers is one of those players who oozes raw talent. There are very few players, if any, in the world who make scoring runs look as easy as AB de Villiers does when he is playing well. The only other player in this category at the moment is maybe Virender Sehwag.

It helps as well that De Villiers is a phenomenal athlete. His energy and enthusiam is infectious and he has a positive effect on any team he plays for. He is maturing all the time and his gesture after the match to share his Man of the Match award with one of the young local players who had a good night with the ball, was a nice touch. This will further endear him to his teammates and fans alike.

It is incredible to think that with all the problems South African cricket has experienced over many years, we continue to produce players of the highest quality. Our domestic system hasn’t always functioned as well as it should due to various circumstances and yet we continue to bring through players of true international quality.

This says a lot for the individual spirit and commitment of some of the players in our system. Despite adversity the players rise to the occasion and do South Africa proud. Long may this dedication and never-say-die approach continue. There are a new crop of young players about to take control of the Proteas under the leadership of AB de Villiers. This is an exciting time for the national team.

If this period doesn’t end up in World Cup success it will be a major surprise. Let’s enjoy the ride. It is going to be spectacular.

Source: SuperSport – April 25, 2012 / KEPLER WESSELS

AB de Villiers shares Man of the Match award with KP Appanna

Category : News

His blistering 23-ball 59 formed the the cornerstone for Royal Challengers Bangalore’s easy win, but AB de Villiers, in a nice gesture, shared his Man-of-the-Match award with K P Appanna, who turned in an impressive performance with the ball.

Appanna picked up four wickets after de Villiers’ heroics as RCB defeated Rajasthan Royals by 46 runs in their Indian Premier League match.

“I had a good game, I enjoyed my batting. I’d like to hand over this award to the man who took four wickets, KP Appanna. I haven’t done this before. It’s a team game,” de Villiers said.

“He (Appanna) took four wickets and it doesn’t happen everytime… that should be the Man-of-the-Match award.”

Appanna thanked the batsmen for posting a solid total.

“On this track, getting to 190 was a great effort, and I got some turn from the track,” Appanna said.

RCB skipper Daniel Vettori was pleased with Appanna’s effort.

“He has come back after playing in one match and offers us a lot more options. Today he has showed what he is capable of,” Vettori said.

“The way Zak (Zaheer Khan), Vinay (Kumar) and Harshal Patel (bowled) was a confidence booster for the side.”

The Kiwi thought the tournament is wide open at this stage. “It’s an exciting tournament. Pretty much every team still has a chance, so we need to keep winning.”

Rajasthan captain Rahul Dravid said his side lost the match in the last five overs, during whcih they conceded over 80 runs. “The last five overs made the difference. Dilshan and AB played really well in that period,” Dravid said.

Dravid was worried about their performance at the death.

“The death bowling has been an area of concern. I am hitting some good shots but its important to get the right result as well. Appanna bowled well, he had the backing of a lot of runs behind him. He spun the ball, it’s good for his confidence.”

Source: Cricket Country – April 24, 2012

AB, Faf light up IPL

Category : News

AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis have enjoyed a stupendous week in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with both men playing pivotal roles in their respective teams going on winning runs.

Du Plessis’ growing maturity on the international stage was evident as he struck two half-centuries for the Chennai Super Kings in consecutive matches as his team moved into fifth position, on eight points, tied with the log-leading Delhi Daredevils but behind on net run-rate.

The 27-year-old Du Plessis struck 58 off 48 balls as the defending champion Chennai beat Pune by 13 runs before he blasted his way to 73 off 53 deliveries in a man-of-the-match performance as the Super Kings beat the Rajasthan Royals by seven-wickets in a last-ball thriller.

What has made Du Plessis’ performances all the more remarkable is that he has been utilised as an opening batsman when South African fans are more used to seeing him bat in the middle-order.

Du Plessis’ move to the top of the order has seen him score 302 runs in seven matches at an average of 43.14.

His strike-rate is a healthy 138.53 and he is the second highest run-scorer in the tournament, an impressive achievement considering that it was felt that he was only playing until Australia’s Mike Hussey joined the team when he finished with his international commitments.

Du Plessis may still be forging his career on the international stage but De Villiers is busy establishing himself as the world’s best batsman. The outrageously talented 28-year-old played a stunning innings as the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Pune Warriors by four wickets in another last ball finish.

Bangalore were chasing 183 to win and Chris Gayle provided the platform with a superb 81 but De Villiers made sure that the Royal Challengers secured the win with an audacious 33 not out off just 14 balls.

His knock included two fours and three sixes and De Villiers has surely made the reverse slog-sweep shot his own. De Villiers followed up his knock against Pune with 52 off 39 balls as Bangalore beat Punjab by five wickets. Despite De Villiers’ heroics Bangalore are second from bottom on the log after three wins and three losses.

David Miller made his IPL debut for Punjab in the game against Bangalore but he had a match to forget as he scored just eight.

Du Plessis and De Villiers may have been setting the world alight with their batting but their Nashua Titans’ team-mate Morne Morkel has been dominating with the ball and his efforts have helped the Delhi Daredevils to the top of the table.

Morkel, with 29 matches of this season’s IPL having been played, is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 15 at an average of 10.8 and, perhaps more importantly, has conceded just 7.04 runs to the over.

Paceman Morkel took 3-23 as Delhi beat Deccan by five wickets. Morkel then took 3-50 against the Pune Warriors but it was not enough to prevent Delhi slipping to a 20-run defeat.

JP Duminy is another South African who enjoyed a good week after he carved his way to 58 off just 26 balls as he made his first appearance of the season for the Deccan Chargers.

Unfortunately for Duminy his innings was not enough to prevent the under-performing Chargers slipping to a last-over defeat at the hands of the Rajasthan Royals.

Source: Sport24 – April 23, 2012

‘AB is different when he’s not playing’

Category : AB, Featured, News

When Royal Challengers Bangalore played their first match this season against the Delhi Daredevils, one could hear the loud cheers that greeted AB de Villiers when he came out to bat. Also cheering alongside was his girlfriend Danielle Swart, who recently flew down from South Africa to watch her man in action.

When Metrolife met up with Danielle on her maiden visit to the country, one could see how overwhelmed she was seeing the crowd at the stadium. While she was aware of the cricket craze in India, this was not something she expected. “I literally got goosebumps when I heard all the cheering. It’s really infectious and really loud,” she explains.

When she decided to come down to India this year, Danielle says that a lot of people told her a lot of different things about the place. “My friends, who have come here before, told me how different the culture is here and even about the various stratas of society that exist here. But I wanted to experience the country in my own way and now I’m waiting to see the various cities and try out different things,” she adds.

Though Danielle has been dating AB for just a year now, she has known him as a friend for over five years. “Our families are really good friends. In fact, I first met AB in my dad’s farm and over the years I really got to know him and respect him a lot,” she says.

After all these years of knowing AB, Danielle describes him as a passionate person. “He is so different when he is not playing. I love his sense of humour and the way he connects with his family. He is a family-oriented man and is very close to them and shares everything with them, which is a rare quality these days,” she adds.

But if there is one thing Danielle has learnt from her man, it’s to follow her dream. “He is one of those few people who had a dream and ensured that it came true. And that’s really something I appreciate about him,” sums up Danielle.

Source: Deccan Herald – April 12, 2012 / MEGHA SHENOY

New spikes for Proteas stars

Category : News

South African cricketers AB de Villiers, Rilee Roussouw (yet to represent the Proteas), Faf du Plessis, Herschelle Gibbs, Albie and Morne Morkel and JP Duminy are sporting PUMA’s latest cricket spike, the Pulse Convertible Spike IPL, at the IPL tournament in India.

This top of the line cricket spike allows the flexibility of interchangeable steel and TPU (Thermal Plastic Unit) spikes to allow the user the freedom and flexibility in their outsole set-up.

It also offers maximum cushioning and support for players looking for the most comfortable ride.

Source: Sport24 – April 12, 2012