Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli praised his bowlers for their fine comeback to restrict Rajasthan Royals, after their good start, to a manageable total as they coasted to a seven-wicket win in IPL 2021.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell starred for Bangalore on Wednesday’s win. He stitched an important stand with KS Bharat after Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal were dismissed. Bharat got out to Mustafizur Rahman for 44 but Maxwell smashed Chris Morris an unbeated 50 to seal victory.
But things would have looked difficult for RCB if their bowlers had not managed to stop the Rajasthan Royals batters. Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal had raised 56 runs without a loss for RR in the Powerplay and were looking increasingly dangerous. Though Jaiswal got out with the team’s score of 77, Rajasthan were still in a strong position with 100 on the board in 11 overs. But the RCB bowlers came back strongly, allowing their opponents to score only 49 runs in the remaining nine overs, claiming eight wickets in the process.
Medium-pacer Harshal Patel was the star performer taking three wickets for 34 runs but it was the performance by spinners that would have pleased Kohli more. Yuzvendra Chahal took 2/18 while left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed claimed 2/10 off two overs.
In their previous match, RCB had restricted Mumbai Indians from 56/0 in the Powerplay to 111 all out in 18.1 overs.
“We have come back strongly in two games back-to-back with the ball. Which is a great sign. We know if you can hold your nerve with the ball you’re going in the right direction. In both games, the opponents were 56/0 in the powerplay, but in both games, we took wickets to ensure the opposition does not get away,” Kohli said after the match.
“We knew that with the kind of bowling attack we have, things can open up when we take wickets. As batters you can’t take too many risks when you’re searching for two points too, so we went to look for mistakes from their batters. Lewis hit a few sixes and it was courageous from Garton and the others. We’ve got the rewards because we’ve been fearless and confident in the moments that the game can go either way,” said Kohli.
He said that the Red Army is “slowly but surely getting in groove” in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. The win now strengthens Bangalore’s chances of making the IPL 2021 playoffs.
Kohli said a couple of things clicked for his team on Wednesday night and middle-overs bowling was one of them.
“Couple of important things are clicking: middle-overs bowling is one. If you take wickets you can change the game. And batting also, we’ve got a few good opening starts. Devdutt and I have focused on giving the team a good start so that the middle-order with AB, Bharat, and Maxwell can make more. Boys have stepped up, so that’s been key for us.”
The RCB, who had a good first-half of IPL 2021, took time to get going in the UAE leg. “The break was tough as you saw initially. We were blown away in Game 1. That defeat gave us confidence though. In the second game, we were not quite there either, left 25-30 out there with the bat. But last two games we are going in the right direction. Slowly but surely we are getting in the groove,” Kohli added.