Royal Challengers Bangalore ended their 3-year wait for a win in the opener of the Indian Premier League with a 10-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Monday. RCB got off their IPL 2020 with 2 points, courtesy of a massive collapse triggered by Yuzvendra Chahal.

However, as usual, it was AB de Villiers’ special that helped Royal Challengers Bangalore post an above-par total of 163 for 5 in 20 overs. The South African star, who retired from international cricket in 2018, smashed 51 from just 30 balls to give RCB the much-needed momentum after Virat Kohli failed to convert his start into a big knock.

AB de Villiers looked like he was never away from the game during the enforced break due to the novel coronavirus pandemic as he sent the ball flying into the stands at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. With 2 sixes and 4 boundaries, de Villiers did the demolition job, like he has done so many times for the franchise in red.

While it was no surprise for many, AB de Villiers said his knocked came as a surprise to him. De Villiers did not play much since his Big Bash League appearance in January but smashed a 61 off 24 balls in the inaugural edition of South Africa’s 3T Cricket in July.

“Big surprise for me. Very happy. We worked very hard for that win. For a change, we’re on the right side of the result in the opening match. Hopefully, it’s a good sign of things to come. I surprised myself, to be honest,” AB de Villiers said, after RCB’s win.

“As a 36-year-old, you doubt yourself. We had a competitive match in South Africa, which was very important. Had some confidence before coming here. We worked really hard over the last four weeks, as a team and individually to get some form.”

Meanwhile, AB de Villiers was all praise for youngsters in the RCB team, one of whom took the stage by storm. Devdutt Padikkal hit a 41-ball 56 on his IPL debut to set up a big platform for the big guns to ride on in the end overs.

Right from the word go, Padikkal looked like he belonged to the stage. Having topped the charts in the limited-overs domestic tournaments last season, the left-hander got an opportunity to represent his home franchise on Monday at IPL 2020 and he made full use of it.

“Very competitive, the young players coming and looking like international players is really exciting to watch. I have taken Josh (Phillippe) under my wing as Mark Boucher took me under his wing. Padikkal is a shy and quiet guy but I don’t have to say much really, he looks like a really good talent,” de Villiers said.

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