BANGALORE: Virat Kohli has declared AB de Villiers the best batsman in the world after the South African single-handedly steered his Indian Premier League side into this season’s cricket final.
Captain Kohli, whose rare batting failure on Tuesday put Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a tight spot in their 159-run chase, saw De Villiers turn things around with his unbeaten 79-run blitz in Qualifier 1.
RCB were in a precarious position at 68 for six before De Villiers stitched an unbeaten 91-run seventh wicket stand with Iqbal Abdulla to stun table-toppers Gujarat Lions.
“Unbelievable, can’t believe I’m the winning captain,” Kohli, who leads the run chart with a record 919 in 15 games this season, said after the match.
“That should end a lot of debates as to who is the best going around. No question about it,” added Kohli, who has been dubbed the new king of cricket by Indian media.
RCB faced a hostile spell of bowling from Gujarat medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (4-14) to lose their openers early in Kohli and Chris Gayle (9) in front of a raucous home crowd.
De Villiers, who has been involved in an all-time record breaking 229-run stand with Kohli in this edition, then rose to the occasion to smash five fours and as many sixes in 47 balls to snatch victory.
“Come the big game, the big man stands up. I just bow down to him, that was probably one of the best knocks under pressure I’ve seen,” said Kohli.
Bangalore will now face the winner of Qualifier 2 in the title clash on Sunday at the same venue.