Royal Challengers Bangalore endured yet another season when the Indian Premier League (IPL) title was not in their hands at the end of the near-two month extravaganza. The Bangalore-based franchise was one of the favorites going into this year's IPL according to most cricket betting sites. However, the dream diminished for AB De Villiers and his teammates as Mumbai Indians were eventually crowned IPL 2020 champions in yet another one-sided IPL final.
First IPL Playoffs in four years
For the first time in four years, the Virat Kohli-led side made it to the IPL Playoffs before they bowed out against a resilient Sunrisers Hyderabad outfit in the Eliminator. There were numerous questions raised post the defeat, among which was whether AB de Villiers – one half of the RCB talisman duo alongside Kohli – would ever win the coveted IPL trophy with this franchise.
The former South African batsman was once again a star performer for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2020. Such was his performance that he had a much greater impact in RCB wins this season that it outweighed Kohli's effectiveness and the match-winning capability. However, the lack of firepower in the lower-order proved to be a major disadvantage for the ‘Men in Red'.
T20 cricket is such a format where age can play a massive factor in a cricketer's longevity in a highly competitive environment such as the IPL. On most occasions, it can expose a player's fading qualities. However, it isn't true for De Villiers, who, despite not getting any younger, looks far more equipped than a lot of youngsters in the T20 format.
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What lies ahead for AB De Villiers?
The South African maestro turns 37 next February. After bidding adieu to the international sport in 2018, he does not ply his trade for many T20 franchises across the globe. Despite that fact, he didn't look any short of match practice coming into this IPL season as he amassed 454 runs in 15 matches at a strike-rate of 158.54. But that could possibly be the last bit of competitive cricket he plays before the next year's IPL in 2021.
As a result, de Villiers is likely to arrive in IPL 2021 with a lot more uncertainty surrounding his form and batting rhythm next year. The lack of cricket for the 36-year old before any IPL season could instill seeds of doubt in the RCB management group. Being one of the most dependable players in their entire setup, the franchise would hope that he can continue his rich vein of form even in the upcoming years in the IPL.
However, a mediocre IPL outing might even raise uncertainty around his spot in the playing XI, especially at this stage of his career. The 2021 IPL is most likely to be staged during the Indian summer in 2021. As a result, the 2021 season could be one final time when De Villiers gets an opportunity to lay his hands on the elusive IPL trophy for RCB.
Will he be able to turn the tables with RCB, is the big question?