After Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Punjab Kings by six runs and became the third team qualify for the playoffs, Virat Kohli said that his team would now be aiming for a top-two finish. The 32-year-old also praised the bowling unit for defending 165, despite a solid start by PBKS openers.
KL Rahul (39) and Mayank Agarwal (57) partnered for 91 runs in just 10.5 overs. but the Punjab outfit collapsed thereafter, losing wickets at regular intervals to lose the match by six runs.
RCB captain Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation ceremony said that he always knew that his team was just two wickets away from making inroads in the match against PBKS. Kohli also expressed delight for having qualified to the playoffs with two league matches remaining.
"Feels amazing. After 2011, we haven't done it with games to spare. Eight wins out of 12 games is a great campaign. We have two more opportunities to finish in the top two. Should give us motivation to play even more fearlessly. When you don't have any wickets on the scoreboard, you can take more risks. Which myself and Dev [Padikkal] have to. 15-20 runs on this ground can be crucial. We have to plug those areas. As a side, we have had an endeavour to improve, whether in losses or wins. We knew the wicket would get slower and slower. KL and Mayank batted really well, but we knew we were just two wickets from coming back into the game. (On the bowlers) The resurgence of Siraj, ever since he has done well in Test cricket. Harshal's inclusion has been outstanding. Yuzi has chipped in, as has Shahbaz. Garton has come in. If the players don't step up, then the campaign goes off track," Kohli said after the match.
Earlier, in the first innings, Devdutt Padikkal played another handy knock of 38-ball 40 to give RCB a good start with his captain Virat Kohli (25). Later, Glenn Maxwell (57) hit his fifth fifty of the season to help his team post 164/7 in 20 overs - an effort that fetched him Player of the Match award.
The hard-hitting Australian credited RCB for specifying his role, which has helped him to perform the job efficiently for the team. The 32-year-old called Sharjah wicket the most difficult to adjust in the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
"Came in at a nice time to bat. Lucky to hit the first couple of risks out of the middle. I feel like the last two years of IPL I have batted nicely. To have it set up by the openers today gave us some time to get an idea of the wicket. Coming into RCB they wanted me to do the exact same role (as with Australia). This (Sharjah) is probably the most difficult to adjust to. The spinners get it to skid on which means you have to be sharper at the start of your innings," he said.
RCB next face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, October 6.