On Sunday, RCB conceded 217 against RR and came up 19 runs short, which was their second loss of IPL 11. Looking at the result, de Villiers singled out Samson’s assault on the RCB bowlers at the death; 88 were scored off the last five overs – the second highest in IPL history – with Umesh Yadav conceding 27 off the 20th over.
“Sunday’s defeat at home to RR was disappointing because, in so many ways, we weren’t far away from where we needed to be. The match probably turned when they scored 85 runs from their last four overs, and it was pity that we bowled two no-balls and both the free hits were sent into the stands for six; these are the details that matter,” wrote the 34-year-old, who is RCB’s third-highest run-getter with 2954 from 96 innings, in his column for TOI.
“Sanju Samson played a special innings for RR. I have stayed in contact with him by email for a few years now, and it is great to see an exciting young talent emerging in Indian cricket. How far can he go in the game? Believe me, there is no limit to his potential.”
Getting off the blocks has proven difficult for RCB, despite having purchased batsman like Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock and bowlers such as Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav at this year’s IPL player auction. For de Villiers, the key was stitching together wins to prevent frustration.
“It’s been said before and it will be said again: momentum is the key to success in the IPL. Win one match, and then another and suddenly the challenge seems more straightforward and more fun, and then you win again… and you advance with the magical M-factor,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Lose a match, and then another and suddenly the challenge seems so difficult, and bowlers battle to find their lengths and batsmen somehow find the fielders, and you lose again… and everything slips away. Right now, three games into the tournament, with a win and two defeats, we are working incredibly hard to find momentum taking us in the right direction. If we can get the detail right, if we can match the form being shown by Mandeep Singh and Washington Sundar, then we can realise our potential.”