The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore had to beat the table toppers of the IPL, the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday to remain alive in the competition and they managed to pull off a 14 run win in what was an exciting contest.
Batting first, RCB posted a mammoth 218/6 in 20 overs with South African AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali scoring half centuries. Since then, SRH were always under pressure and they could not close out the match even though they came very close with captain Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey on fire towards the end of their innings. SRH, who could manage only 204/3 fell 14 runs short as Williamson fell for 81 and Pandey stayed unbeaten on 62. With their third win on the bounce, RCB’s points tally moved to 12 as they jumped from seventh to fifth on the IPL table and stayed in contention for a play-off spot.
Speaking on his team’s fantastic performance under pressure, a very happy Kohli said, “I have seen many of these games before. Just had to stay calm at the end of it. After a point of time, you need to understand that the bowlers are in control of what they want to do. We have two games like this. The one against Mumbai was something similar. The wicket was very good and in the second innings, there was a lot of dew. Hats off to the bowlers for maintaining the composure and giving us two points. The last three games have been like this with our backs against the wall.”
Looking ahead, Kohli said, “We head to Rajasthan with momentum on our side. We are pretty comfortable with the side. Hats off to Moeen to perform the way he did. Teams don’t want us to win. We sense fear and pounce.”
The captain also applauded the South African AB De Villiers for his catch and said, “That was spiderman stuff (about ABD’s catch). You don’t do that as normal human beings. I thought it was going for a six but he pulled it off. He can do freakish things but I am used to it now. His fielding I am pretty used to now. Need to thank the crowd as it is our last home game.”