Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had an off day at work as they lost to KL Rahul-led Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by a margin of 8-wickets in Sharjah on Thursday. This was their third loss of the season and second defeat against the Punjab-based franchise in IPL 2020 underway in UAE. RCB skipper Virat Kohli felt that it was a nail-biting encounter as the outcome could have gone in either team’s favor till the final delivery was bowled.
“It was quite surprising because it went down to the wire. A bit of pressure can confuse you, it was a good performance by Kings XI in the end,” said Kohli in the post-match interview.
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In the batting department, Virat Kohli was the highest run-getter with a score of 48. Openers Devdutt Padikkal (18) and Aaron Finch (20) were dismissed in the fourth and seventh overs respectively.
We were not able to put them under pressure: Virat Kohli
One of the decisions that surprised many cricket fanatics and experts was to send AB de Villiers at No.6.
Washington Sundar (13, 9b) and Shivam Dube (23, 19b) came out to bat before the Protea cricketer, leaving just 4 overs for the 36-year-old. Coming onto the crease, de Villiers was dismissed by pacer Mohammed Shami after scoring a couple of runs. It wasn’t until the cameos from Isuru Udana (10*, 5b) and Chris Morris (25*, 8b) that RCB got past the 170-run mark.
Kohli highlighted that the decision to promote Sundar and Dube was to maintain a left-hand right-hand batting combination as he himself was batting alongside them. The skipper forged a 24-run stand with Sundar followed by a 41-run partnership with Dube for the 4th wicket.
“We had a chat, it was a message about the left-hand, right-hand combination. Sometimes, these decisions you take don’t come off. But I think 170 was a decent score,” said the Delhi-born cricketer.
Kohli, who scored 39-ball 48 with 3 fours, added that they wanted to capitalize on the hitting ability of Sundar and Dube and to put pressure on KXIP’s leg-spinners, unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“That’s the idea, get your eye in, and start hitting. But we were not able to put them under pressure.”
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When asked about the performance of the bowling department, especially Navdeep Saini (0/22) and Chris Morris (0/21), who bowled tight line and lengths at Sharjah which is known as the graveyard for bowlers, Kohli mentioned that they, as a team, take pride in their bowling attack and the duo’s performance was a big positive in the concluded game.
“We take a lot of pride as a bowling side, but tonight was one of those nights, as it didn’t come off. A few positives from the game,” Kohli said.
The likes of Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar remained wicketless and gave away over 35 runs in their overs. Isuru Udana, who bowled merely two overs, was bowling at the right spots and conceded just 14 runs.
The 32-year-old made a bold decision to bowl leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the final over when KXIP required merely 2 runs. With just a sole run coming off the first four deliveries followed by Chris Gayle’s run-out, the Punjab based franchise now needed a run of the final ball to win the match else it would have been another super-over. However, Nicholas Pooran, who came out to bat, came down the mark and struck six of the last ball to win the game for KXIP.
Chahal, on the other hand, finished with figures of 3-0-35-1 with the crucial wicket of Mayank Agarwal (45) in the 8th over.
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Kohli didn’t have any chat with Chahal other than what to bowl in the final delivery but Pooran took them by surprise. But, he did mention that KXIP allowed them to bounce back in the later stages considering the match should have been finished by the 18th over.
“There was no conversation between Yuzi and me, to be honest. Things became interesting, to be honest. They kind of let us come back in the game because I think it should have ended by the 18th over,” said the RCB skipper.
RCB will next face seventh-placed Rajasthan Royals (RR) on October 17 in Dubai. The Men in Red had defeated the Steven Smith-led side by 8 wickets in their earlier faceoff and would be raring to exhibit a similar show in the upcoming duel.