Ab de Villiers powered the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to the Qualifier 2 with his match-winning knock of 66 runs from 38 balls against the Rajasthan Royals in Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Wednesday.
de Villiers lauded his batting partner -- equally brilliant in setting up this victory -- for helping him gain momentum.
RCB was once reeling at 55 for two when they had already lost their skipper Virat Kohli and the big West Indian Chris Gayle. de Villiers and Mandeep were responsible for a 113 runs-stand to propel RCB to a total of 180 runs. They played some brilliant cricket to outclass the Royals' bowling attack and later demolish the RR batting order in just 109 runs to register a 71 runs victory.
"A lot of credit should go to Mandeep for the way he played. He helped me get a bit of momentum by my side and it paid off," said de Villiers in an interview with the official website of the IPL.
"To be very honest I didn't play very well today. I have to give all credit to Mandeep Singh for the way he played.
"It was not as fluent a knock as I wanted it to be but I guess it all comes with experience. I struggled in the first few overs but I fought it through and I was lucky to be there in the end to express myself," he added.
Whenever de Villiers has come to bat at number three it has given an outright chance to RCB to edge past their opponents during this tournament. He places and shapes his innings so brilliantly that the bowlers later bowl all over the place, as he shifts gears whenever he feels it will be the right time to do so.
"It does give me a chance to pace my innings and build it in cases like the one today. This wasn't an easy wicket to bat on. I wouldn't have been able to get those shots away in the slog overs had I just come in to bat. I tried to do it earlier in my innings but I failed. That is why I say a lot of credit should go to Mandeep. He helped me get a bit of momentum by my side and it paid off," de Villiers said.
Having won the Eliminator against the Royals, RCB will now have to fly to Ranchi to play the Qualifier 2 against the formidable Chennai Super Kings (CSK). It will not be that easy to outplay the most consistent team of the tournament and Ab de Villiers is aware of that fact.
"It is going to be a very difficult match. We know that CSK are a very good and tough team to beat. We would love to go to Ranchi and beat them. It would be amazing if we can then go a step further and win the trophy. Right now we have to take it step by step," Ab concluded.