Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on his bowlers, terming them as the single biggest reason behind the side winning each of their first three games. Kohli reserved special praise for Mohammed Siraj, who bowled a remarkably good 19th over to seal the game for RCB.
Royal Challengers Bangalore entered Sunday’s clash versus Kolkata Knight Riders as the only unbeaten side left in the competition, and they ensured that they kept the record intact as the Reds swept aside an indolent KKR side by 38 runs to retain top spot in the IPL 2021 table. RCB accumulated 204 on a surprisingly flat Chepauk wicket, but it was the bowlers who displayed nerves of steel to take the side home.
After being taken apart in the first six overs, the trio of Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj and Harshal Patel bounced back in imperial fashion at the death to seal victory for the side. The RCB seamers conceded just 20 runs off the final three overs, and the picture-perfect display at the death saw the Reds stomp KKR to make it 3 wins in 3 games.
This exceptional showing at the death from the bowlers pleased skipper Virat Kohli, who, in the post match presentation, expressed pride over the performance of his bowlers. Kohli claimed that it’s the bowlers who have won matches for the side, and reserved special praise for Mohammed Siraj, who conceded just 1 run to Andre Russell in the 19th over.
“Especially Siraj's over to Russell [was good] - he has had some history against Russell. He's a different bowler after the Australia tour and he shut the game out. Harshal has so much clarity in the end and I think Jamieson also bowled well. That's the reason why we have three out of three,” Kohli said in the post match presentation.
“To be fair, on a pitch like Chennai, you probably have a bit more space to make an error on the longer boundary. It has to be on the off side and not on side. Siraj did miss on the full-toss, but he has two men on the boundary. The execution was spot-on. We played in Wankhede, Kolkata and Ahmedabad where the margin of error keeps getting smaller.”
Though the RCB bowlers did well to close out the game, it was the batsmen who set-up the match for the side by propelling the score past 200. Glenn Maxwell scored his second consecutive fifty to put RCB on the front-foot, while AB de Villiers took the game away from KKR through a blistering 76, which came off just 34 balls. Kohli was full of praise for both the overseas stars, who according to him were the difference today.
“Well, I said at the halfway mark we have 200 because of two genius innings back-to-back. Maxwell was outstanding and AB to follow. When he gets in with that kind of form and flow, it's impossible to stop him. We got 40 extra runs on that pitch which slowed down. Maxi has taken to this team like duck to water. AB loves the team and they were the difference today.”
With 3 wins in 3 games, RCB are currently top of the table and are favorites to seal a spot in the playoffs. However, wary of how unpredictable IPL seasons can be, Kohli insisted that he and his teammates will not get carried away with the start.
“There are areas we can work on. We're not getting ahead of ourselves and not getting over-excited.”