Against Punjab Kings, Dewald Brevis took nine balls to get off the mark. It was a back of length delivery from Arshdeep Singh which Brevis managed to cream through the heavily guarded off side. When Arshdeep went full on the next ball, Brevis drilled down the ground for another boundary.

But intermittent boundaries were not going to help Mumbai Indians, who had already fallen far behind in terms of the asking rate. With both Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan back in the pavilion, the onus was on Dewald Brevis and Tilak Verma to put the chase back on track.

In the next few minutes, Brevis did something that justified the moniker (Baby AB ) he earned in his nascent cricketing career. His early shuffles to disrupt the bowler’s rhythm, the way he commits to the shots, his inventive approach to manoeuvre the field — Brevis’ batting, at times, looks eerily similar to AB de Villiers.

Soon after the Powerplay, Punjab decided to unleash Rahul Chahar. With Brevis gaining a foothold in middle overs, employing a leg-spinner to a right-handed batter seem to be quite a logical move. This is what conventional wisdom says. Except it didn’t work out this time.

Despite a negative match-up, Brevis didn’t hold himself and smoked four back-to-back sixes to send Punjab’s plan awry. It was the cleanest of a strike from an 18-year-old, with each stroke coming from the middle of his willow, as fielders stood and watched the ball flying high into the night sky.

Who is Dewald Brevis?

Brevis shot to the limelight after finishing as the leading run-getter of the ICC U-19 World Cup 2022. With 506 runs at an astonishing average of 84.33, Brevis surpassed Shikhar Dhawan’s record of amassing the most runs in an edition. He also claimed seven wickets with his off-spin, and was adjudged as Player of the Tournament. He reached the triple-digit figure twice in the tournament, and on the other two occasions he got out on 96 and 97.

While South Africa was unable to win the title, Brevis’ hitting prowess earned him wide recognition. In the mega auction, Mumbai Indians acquire him for INR 3 crores.

“Dewald Brevis is a player who’s on everyone’s lips. He’s AB de Villers 2.0,” proclaimed South Africa U-19 coach Shukri Conrad.

Brevis adores AB de Villiers, and he often reaches out to him for advice.

“During lockdown, I contacted him and I asked him for some advice and he always made time to reply to me,” Brevis said. “I like the way he explains cricket. He keeps it simple.”