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Dale Steyn is X-factor, Yuzvendra Chahal special: AB de Villiers

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NEW DELHI: With three wins in the last four matches of their floundering Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have some renewed energy to keep working hard, even many still don’t give them a chance to reach the playoffs after their campaign began with six consecutive defeats.

In their last match, the Challengers survived an onslaught from MS Dhoni to win by just one run against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

“Everybody at RCB is pulling together and fighting hard to stay in this tournament; and we were satisfied when, sent in to bat, we posted 161 (against CSK). We then survived an epic late onslaught by MS Dhoni, and scrambled home by the smallest possible margin,” AB de Villiers wrote in his column for The Times of India on Tuesday.

“Our fielding has improved significantly, we are performing better under pressure and the little moments are just starting to go our way, which was rarely the case in our first six matches,” the South African added.

The retired Proteas batsman reserved special praise for his former South African team-mate Dale Steyn, who was added just recently to the RCB squad, and leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

“Our bowlers deserve great credit, specifically Dale Steyn and Yuzvendra Chahal,” he further wrote. “Dale has brought pedigree power to our Powerplay, and his early dismissals of (Shane) Watson and (Suresh) Raina were hugely significant. He has brought X-factor to our attack, and our other seamers seem to feed off him, taking heart and confidence from his example.”

De Villiers credited Chahal’s thinking and planning as a bowler to the leggie’s stint as a former international chess player.

“Yuzi is a special cricketer. He represented India in the world youth chess championship, so it’s no surprise that he brings meticulous plans and strategies to his leg-break bowling. His spell was magnificent on Sunday, as, giving the batsmen no flight at all, he conceded only 18 runs off 23 balls until MS launched his very last delivery over long-off,” the former South Africa captain added.

And he concluded by admitting that Dhoni can upset calculations in the final overs of a run-chase like none other.

“CSK needed 26 from the final over, and the statisticians were saying the visitors had less than one percent chance of winning. Their algorithms may not yet fully appreciate the MS factor, and his power hitting in that final over was awesome but, with two needed from the last ball, Parthiv Patel stayed ice-cool and, amid bedlam, executed the crucial run-out.”

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