Virat Kohli has said that he felt very good after Royal Challengers Bangalore’s ten-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The RCB unit missed the services of experienced batsman AB de Villiers but the presence of pacer Dale Steyn did wonders for the team.
Royal Challengers Bangalore had just one win in eight matches before Friday’s encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders, but a phenomenal batting display by skipper Virat Kohli and Moeen Ali, coupled with some decent bowling, ensured they get their second win of this year’s Indian Premier League. The skipper was delighted with the win, especially after the dismal run last year, where RCB finished sixth on the points table.
“Felt really good after what happened last year. Was important to have a win under our belt,” expressed Kohli, at the post-match presentation ceremony, reported PTI.
RCB were put to bat first by KKR and Kohli ensured that the Dinesh Karthik-led side regret their decision. RCB did not have the best of starts, as they lost Parthiv Patel for 11 in the fourth over itself and Akshdeep Nath tried to hold on to his wicket but perished for 13 in the ninth over. They did seem to miss the experience of AB de Villiers but the skipper and Moeen Ali stepped up their game from there.
Kohli was chugging along and reached his fifty in 40 balls but the English all-rounder seemed to start from where he left in the previous match, as he had scored 40 in just 22 balls. However, the duo, helped by a small cameo from Marcus Stoinis, hammered the KKR bowlers in the last five overs for 93 runs to take the total to 213. Kohli ended up with a hundred of 68 balls and Ali with 66 of 28 balls. Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna had a horrible outing as they gave away 59 and 52 runs respectively. The skipper credited Moeen for his blitzkrieg while sharing their strategy for the death overs.
“Our communication during second time-out was to get 170-175, we didn't think we could get 200-plus. It was difficult to put the length balls away. Moeen changed the game completely and that allowed me to play my game. Moeen said I am going to go now and I asked him to go for it. He targeted the small boundaries and changed the game in those few overs,” explained the 30-year-old.
AB de Villiers had to miss this game as he was unwell and his fellow countryman Heinrich Klaasen was drafted in his place. The skipper reckoned as to how important it was for him to bat throughout the innings in De Villiers’ absence.
“It was important to bat along when AB is not here, as a senior player. AB was disappointed for not making it for the game tonight and I told him that I'll give him a hug if we win tonight,” he said.
"Before leaving, I told AB I will get a hundred for you, so he must be pretty happy," the RCB skipper told the broadcasters after the match.
“Having Dale with his kind of experience, gave bowlers like Saini some kind of confidence. Steyn getting those crucial wickets was important for us. I think picking wickets in the powerplay is crucial as it sets the tone for the rest of the innings,” stated the India captain.
Credit to some fantastic bowling by RCB, KKR were reeling at 79-4, in the fifth ball of the 12th over. The match was in the hands of the Gary Kirsten-coached side, but an unreal partnership between Nitish Rana, who scored 85 off 46, and Andre Russell, who scored 65 off 25, took the two-time champions’ total to 190 by the 19th over. Moeen Ali bowled the penultimate over and managed to defend 24 for his side.
"There's no point in panicking in these types of situations, you got to leave it to the bowlers to decide what they want to do. Few good decisions by Stoinis and then Moeen in the end. I think the way Stoinis bowled those two-three dot balls, it was very crucial. They both showed composure and that's what you expect from your team mates,” asserted the number one ranked batsman in the world.
“In the end death overs are going to be difficult with this kind of ground, where the outfield is lightning quick. Credit to Russell for setting up those kind of games."
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