Ecstatic after their emphatic win over five-time champions Mumbai Indians in their IPL opener, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting mainstay Virat Kohli on Sunday hoped that the team will keep the focus and execute things properly to maintain the momentum.
Kohli (82 not out off 49 balls) and skipper Faf du Plesiss (73 off 43 balls) struck fiery fifties to fire RCB to an eight-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Sunday.
“Phenomenal win. Homecoming after so many years. Credit to their batters for getting to that score. Tilak (Varma) batted well. We kept backing ourselves. Faf went first, and I joined later. I am very happy with how things went today,” said Kohli after the match.
“Apart from Mumbai winning five times and Chennai four times, we have qualified the most number of times, so we do play consistent cricket. It’s just about staying focused, and just try to be the best balanced team. We need to play on this momentum. We just need to execute better.” Mohammed Siraj set the tone with figures of 3-0-5-1 after three overs to leave MI at 20 for three in 5.2 overs.
“The new ball was a bit tricky, but we shifted the momentum by taking them down with the new ball. We nullified all their intensity. The wicket was quite a nice one. We hit good areas and kept putting pressure on the bowlers,” Kohli said.
Karn Sharma produced a good spell, picking up two wickets from his four overs.
“He (Karn) was phenomenal, when he got that left-hander out, that was great bowling. He was bowling so well last year. He was ready to play. Even in the nets, he was not getting hit for sixes.
“He put us on the front foot right away. The first game of the IPL, and to perform like that was great.” RCB captain and player of the match Faf Du Plessis credited the bowlers for setting up the game but admitted that they need to improve in the slog overs after conceding 48 in last 17 balls.
“Nice to start the way we did. In the powerplay, Siraj had the tail up and he set the tone. Right through the innings, our bowlers stuck to the plans.
“Obviously last 2-3 overs something to improve on. If you took pace off the ball, it wasn’t too easy to play and there was something in it for the spinners,” he said.
Kohli and du Plessis gave an exhibition of strokeplay as they shared a 148-run partnership after opening the chase.
“My first time playing here as a home player and it’s a special player, especially batting with Virat Kohli. Energy bounces off him.”
MI skipper Rohit Sharma rued that they were 30-40 runs short on this track and also blamed the bowlers for failing to execute the plans.
“Didn’t have a great start with the bat in the first six overs. But, it was a really good effort from Tilak and a few other batters. But, we didn’t execute well with the ball. It was a good pitch to bat on,” Rohit said.
“We didn’t set any target but we didn’t even bat to half of our potential and we got to 170. Probably 30-40 runs more would have been ideal.”
MI reached a competitive 171 for two, primarily due to the sensational knock of 84 by Tilak Varma and Rohit doffed his hat to the young left-handed batter.
“He is a positive person, quite talented as well. Some of the shots he played, showed a lot of courage. Hats off to Tilak to get us to a competitive total.”
MI missed the services of injured pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
“From the last six to eight months I am used to playing without Jasprit Bumrah. Of course this is a different setup but someone needs to put their hand up and step up. We can’t keep dwelling on it. Injuries are not in our control.”