Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli, whose side posted just 35/4 at the death whilst batting, described the final phase of RCB’s innings as ‘strange’ and claimed that his side were 20 runs short. Despite Mumbai walking away with victory, Kohli lauded the efforts of his bowlers.
Needing to win at least one of the last three games to ensure qualification, Royal Challengers Bangalore entered the Mumbai encounter under significant pressure but looked like they were up for the challenge. Youngsters Devdutt Padikkal and Josh Philippe got the team off to a rollicking start and placed at 129/2 at the 15-over mark, the Reds looked poised to post a formidable total.
However, what followed was an utterly bizarre final phase as RCB, courtesy a ruthless Bumrah spell, failed to up the ante and finished with just 35 off their final five overs. It ended up costing the side as Mumbai, eventually, chased down a target of 165 with relative comfort.
Speaking post-match, Kohli admitted that the final phase of RCB’s innings was strange. He further lauded the bowlers for taking the game till the very last over, despite not having enough runs to defend.
“It was a strange phase of batting (the last five overs of the RCB innings). Everything went to the fielders and these kind of things happen. They bowled in good areas in the last 5 overs and stopped us 20 runs short,” Kohli said post-match.
“We were in the game until the 17th over and that was a decent effort by our bowlers. It's basically up to the gut of the captain and the conditions, we thought Dale and Morris for initial swing and Washy in the powerplay. We needed a few wickets there, but their batsmen did a good job.”
Despite having notched up 7 wins as early as the half-way mark, RCB still find themselves in a precarious position, needing to win at least one of their final two games to ensure qualification. Kohli admitted that such is the nature of the IPL and stated that it would be naive to expect teams to fade away in the second half of the season.
“This is always going to happen - some teams peak early and some do better later. As we can see, the teams in the lower half are turning out some really good performances now. When it's a top-two clash, it will always be intense and in a competition like the IPL, you can't expect any team to back down and be blown away.”
RCB’s next game will be against SRH, who are coming fresh off a Delhi thrashing, in Sharjah on Saturday.