Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen said he ‘couldn’t understand’ why Royal Challengers Bangalore decided to hold AB de Villiers back and send him as low as No.6 in their IPL 2020 match against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah.
“I couldn’t understand it (the decision to hold back de Villiers). On a wicket like this, you’d like to have your best players to face as many deliveries as possible. The guy’s in form and he is one of the best players of the world,” Pietersen said in the mid-match show in Star Sports.
RCB promoted left-handers Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube ahead of de Villiers but the move didn’t quite go according to plan as neither of them could manage a significant score and when de Villiers finally came out to bat he had no option but to go for big shits without getting his eye in.
Pietersen added had de Villiers faced the balls of Dube and Sundar then he could have hit the ball of Mohammed Shami in which he was out for a huge six out of the stadium.
“I can sort of understand wanting the left-handers in there to disrupt the leg-spinners but de Villiers has done that against every single bowler, all around the world for the last 15 years and he is such a fabulous player that want him facing as many deliveries as possible.
“I think about 25-30 balls were played by Sundar and Dube faced and when you put those together and see the nature of de Villiers’ dismissal… If Ab de Villiers had faced those 25 deliveries, the ball he got out to would be on its way to Dubai,” Pietersen added.
RCB were beaten by KXIP by 8 wickets.
Kohli said the move did not yield the desired result but his bowlers should have been able to defend 171 against Punjab on Thursday. They lost by eight wickets.
“We had a chat, a message from outside about left-right combination and we wanted to go with it because they had two leggies. Sometimes things don’t come off. We’re pretty happy with the decisions we took, but it didn’t come off,” Kohli said after the match.