Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli revealed that the thought process behind sending AB de Villiers at No.6 was maintaining a left-right combination, owing to the fact KXIP operated with two leggies. The decision backfired as AB, after walking to bat in the 16th over, scored just 2 runs.
After a string of dominant wins, Royal Challengers Bangalore were handed their second defeat of the season by a familiar foe, one that had beaten them already once earlier in the tournament. Having won convincingly in Sharjah a few days ago versus the Knight Riders, and having won the toss and batted first, the Reds were once again expected to dominate proceedings but their plan was disrupted by a disciplined performance by the bowlers of KXIP, who stuck to their plans.
However, on top of KXIP being clinical with the ball, RCB made it even harder for themselves through their decision-making. With Finch departing in the seventh over, Kohli & Co, bizarrely promoted left-handers Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube ahead of AB de Villiers and the decision backfired as on top of both the soutpaws failing, AB, too, only managed to score a five-ball two.
Speaking post-match, Kohli revealed that the thought process behind the same was to maintain a left-right combination, as Punjab were operating with two leg-spinners.
“We had a chat, a message from outside about left-right combination and we wanted to go with it because they had two leggies. Sometimes things don't come off. We're pretty happy with the decisions we took, but it didn't come off. Having 170 was a decent score. The idea was to let them [Dube and Sundar] to get their eye in. They bowled well,” Kohli said of the decision to demote de Villiers to No.6.
In response to a target of 172, the Kings XI Punjab openers fired once again, and with Universe Boss Chris Gayle also bringing up a century, the game looked like it was headed for an early finish. However, Punjab almost pulled off yet another choke for the ages, as requiring 2 off the final over bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal, the chasing side took it to the very last ball before Pooran hit a six to seal the deal. Kohli revealed that he was ‘surprised’ that the game went that close and credited the batsman, Pooran, for holding his nerve.
“It was quite surprising, we thought the game might finish in the 18th. A bit of pressure at the back end can confuse you, anything can happen in this game. There was no conversation with Chahal to be honest. The only conversation was with the last ball, we wanted him to push it away. Credit to Nicholas.”
The RCB skipper further credited KXIP for their clinical display, which saw the bottom-placed team register a 8-wicket win.
“Good performance by KXIP, we were not in the game tonight,” Kohli concluded.