Srikar Bharat revelled in the joy of winning Royal Challengers Bangalore a thrilling match against the Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Friday, October 8. Bharat stroked 78* off 52, which was concluded with a last-ball six off Avesh Khan with five needed, to guide RCB to their ninth win of the season.
Srikar Bharat walked in at the fall of Devdutt Padikkal’s wicket in the first over, and Virat Kohli fell soon after during Royal Challengers Bangalore’s chase of 165. He anchored the innings for a major part alongside AB de Villiers (26) and Glenn Maxwell (51*), with timely boundaries all through, before sealing the game with a towering hit over long-on.
The wicket-keeper batsman reflected on a game-defining innings.
"It was great winning on the last ball. It was an incredible feeling to finish it off,” said Bharat as he received the Player of the Match award. “Maxwell and I were communicating in the centre well. At any point, I wasn't nervous at all. Tried to stay in the present and was looking for the opportunity in the last ball after the wide. I work on my batting against spinners. I don't believe in anything coming for free, so I work hard for it."
Earlier, RCB bowlers held back DC in the latter half of their innings, after Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan added 88 in 10.1 overs for the first wicket. Kohli acknowledged the brilliance of his bowlers, and lauded Maxwell and Bharat for their exploits during the chase.
"Unbelievable. It was a game we had nothing to lose but still to lose early wickets and do well against a team at the top of the table is good. We've beaten them twice this season,” said Kohli.
“We knew the bowlers had potential to keep things under control. The way AB and KS first batted was good. And then the partnership between Maxi and KS was amazing. We knew the reality of making second was a 163-run win, so we chose to field first.
“Pulling off a chase gives you a different kind of confidence going into a playoff. And we haven't chased much in the tournament, so it's also important to do well batting second. You should be able to pull out anything you need on the day of the game.
“No. 3 hasn't been an issue at all. We wanted to give Christian some time with the bat. He was batting very well in the nets, but that's how T20 cricket goes. We took that chance, it didn't come off, but we had no issues. Bharat has given some good knocks and we knew he can step in at No. 3, bat well against spin too.
“I definitely think we need to be sharper in the field. We need to take the 50-50 opportunities in our way. Those runs are crucial in big games. When it comes to the playoffs, no team will give you a second chance."
RCB will play Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator in Sharjah on Monday, October 11.