In Stats: Unravelling AB de Villiers’ Indian Success Story
During his 105-ball at the crease, there were 9 instances when AB followed up a dot ball with a scoring stroke.
The South Africans have batted thrice so far in the Test series against India and the only batsman in their lineup who has looked comfortable at the crease has been AB de Villiers.
At the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday, only de Villiers could tame the Indian spinners who walked away with eight scalps bowling 34 overs altogether.
As he stepped out to bat in the afternoon, there was a lot riding on de Villiers’ shoulders – he was playing his 100th Test match and that milestone always comes with a certain degree of pressure. His team was trailing 1-0 in the series, and the top-order had caved in cheaply yet again.
The 31-year-old however didn’t seem to be affected by all the external pressures and forced his way to 85 without too much difficulty.
The numbers illustrate that de Villiers was comfortable against both pace and spin alike; he only played 16 false shots in his 105-ball innings and scored fairly quickly against both type of bowlers.
A study of de Villiers’ innings reveals there has been a method to his success and his teammates would do well to learn from his knock. de Villiers batted for a period of 37 overs, and during his stay in the middle there were only three instances when he batted out an entire over. In comparison, there were 17 instances where the rest of the batsmen faced all six deliveries in an over.
Bowlers – especially spinners - like to settle into a rhythm and have the opportunity to bowl six consecutive deliveries at a particular batsman so they can plan a dismissal and work towards it. de Villiers has denied the Indian bowlers by churning the strike over at every possible opportunity.
An analysis of the pattern of dot balls also reveals how de Villiers has generally been on the lookout for scoring opportunities. During his 105-ball at the crease today, there were nine instances when he followed up a dot ball with a scoring stroke, eight instances when he batted two successive balls without scoring a run but followed it up with a scoring stroke, and six other instances when he scored a run after batting out three dot balls in a row.
Not getting the opportunity to work on a batsman for six balls in a row is among the most frustrating things for a bowler. AB de Villiers appears to have a good understanding of that theory and is applying that to good use to deny the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja.
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