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Shirin Sadikot in Ranchi

Indian crowds get me going: AB

Titans batting star promises his team’s strong comeback in the tournament

The Ranchi crowd had flocked the JSCA International Stadium in the anticipation of their favourite son sending the cricket ball flying their way. But they got their money’s worth much before MS Dhoni walked in with the bat.

When AB de Villiers was producing one of his inimitable batting gems, was, perhaps, the only time the spectators cheered for the Titans. Thanks to his magical innings in the IPL, astoundingly talented South African has become one of the few foreign cricketers the Indian cricket fans celebrate as their own.

It was de Villiers’s 77 off 36 balls (three 4s, seven 6s) that got the Ranchi crowd going and also set the tone for a thoroughly entertaining game.

In a post-match chat with clt20.com, de Villiers sounded pleased with the fight the Titans put until the end, although they lost by four wickets. He spoke about how the Indian crowds get him going and promised a strong comeback from the Titans.

Excerpts from his interview:

This is the first time that the Titans played against CSK. Was there a sense of excitement or nervousness ahead of the match?

It was a bit of a mixture of everything. The guys were very excited and also a bit nervous. They know that the Chennai Super Kings have performed consistently well in the IPL over the years. But the Titans have done the same back home. This was an away game for us in India and it was a great experience for some of the younger guys. This was an unforgettable learning curve that they went through. Congratulations to CSK – they played better cricket today and were the deserved winners – but we’ll definitely work hard from tomorrow and try to win our next game.

There’s not much you can do when your best bowler goes for 24 runs in an over. Everything went haywire after that fourth over, from Morne Morkel?

The field was quite wet and so the ball got wet very early on, which meant it skidded on and made it easier for the batsmen. Our bowlers tried everything they could – all the variations – but nothing worked. The great thing was that we really fought right till the end with the ball and in the field. That was the sign of a winning team. So, I’m pretty sure that we will bounce back from this loss.

The Titans gave away 24 runs in wides!

The guys tried to bowl with a very attacking mindset – a straight line, trying to get them out – but the wet ball made it very difficult.

The team sure lost but you were the star again for the crowd. You just come to India and keep producing such gems, whether it’s the IPL or CLT20.

I love playing in this country. The Indian crowds are very loud and it’s nice to give them some entertainment and something to cheer about. These big crowds really get me going as well. I love playing in Ranchi; I was here during the IPL and had a great experience. I look forward to coming here again.

MS Dhoni is a local boy here and the crowd was deafening in their support for his team. Is that a bit overwhelming for the opposition?

It is; there’s no doubt about it. Playing in front of your home crowd is the home advantage you get because it’s intimidating for the opposition. The good thing was that it didn’t intimidate our bowlers and they kept on trying right till the end. It was quite funny though when we got Dwayne Bravo out, a big cheer went up. We thought they were cheering us on for the wicket but they were actually rooting for MS who was coming at the crease.

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