Bangalore: A witness to AB de Villiers' exploits from close quarters against Sunrisers Hyderabad, young Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer Harshal Patel termed his South African team-mate as a "freak man" who is difficult to bowl at. De Villiers produced one of the most devastating Twenty20 innings as he smashed an unbeaten 89 from just 42 balls to single-handedly power RCB to a sensational four-wicket victory over the Hyderabad outfit on Sunday.
RCB needed 28 runs runs off last two overs and de Villiers came into the act and hammered Steyn for 24 runs in the 19th over with three scintillating sixes and a four, which turned the tables against Hyderabad, leaving the home side just four runs to score in the last over bowled by Irfan Pathan.
"What do I say! AB is a freak, man. What he can do on the cricket field, I don't think anyone else can do that. I have no words to describe his brilliance," said Patel, who was at the other end batting with de Villiers in the final over.
"I think he is the most difficult batsman to bowl to. To good batsmen, if you bowl decent yorkers or good deliveries, you can get away. But to AB, if you bowl a perfect yorker, you can still go for six. You are never sure where to bowl to him. You can only bowl and hope for the best," he told IPL's official website.
Patel, who returned with figures of 1/29 from his four overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad, said he didn't feel the pressure while coming out to bat in the final over after Mitchell Starc's dismissal. "To be very honest, I was surprised myself that I was under no pressure. AB was batting so well at the other end, I just had to get a single and get him on strike. All that AB told me in that last over was to be balanced and watch the ball and look for a single and run hard. I was pretty confident that once AB got the strike, the game will be over," Patel said.
He said he was satisfied with his performance in first IPL match for RCB this season. "I was preparing myself all these days and working very hard. I was waiting for that one opportunity to play for RCB this season and I am glad I got my chance tonight. I tried to make the most of it," Patel said.
Patel said he is benefiting a lot from RCB's bowling coach Allan Donald. "I think more than any technical aspects we talk about the mental aspect and the attitude towards a game. We talk about how we approach the game on a given day and how to be aggressive on the field. The best thing about this group is that we all are aggressive on the field. "Allan Donald always emphasises on being aggressive on the field and asks us never to take a backward step even if we bowlers go for runs," he said.
Patel was also full of praise for RCB skipper Virat Kohli. "He (Kohli) is a very calm captain and doesn't put you under pressure. He is very lenient on the field. If you want a field and you want to do something, he will let you do it. He is not someone who will tell you to do something else. He is a fantastic captain."