Bangalore, April 9 (IANS) A hurricane knock of 93 runs in 47 balls by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli in the Indian Premier League match took away the game from Sunrises Hyderabad at the Chinnaswamy stadium here late Tuesday.
“Virat batted really well. He is the best batsman in RCB. He took away the game from us and that’s why we lost,” admitted Sunrisers’ all-rounder Thisara Perera at a post-match press conference here.
Chasing a 162-run target, man of the match Kholi carried the RCB’s innings from sixth over when he came to bat after the fall of opener Mayank Agarwal (29) to finish off the match on a winning note in the 18th over with 1.2 overs to spare.
“We planned to first get Gayle out and we got him luckily. But Virat batted so well and was in good touch. That’s why we couldn’t get him out,” Perara recalled.
Playing back-to-back games, RCB won by seven wickets by scoring 162 for three wickets in response to 161 for six wickets by Sunrisers and avenged their defeat in Hyderabad late Sunday in a super over after both the teams were tied at 130 runs in an exciting contest.
Besides being involved in two partnerships – 49 runs with AB de Villiers for the third wicket and 66-run with Moises Henriques for the fourth wicket – Kohli hit four mighty sixes and smashed 11 boundaries in his breezy knock.
Noting that his team was short of 20-25 runs to put up a defendable target, Perera said 162 was a gettable total on a good batting wicket like here.
“We should have done better than that (161). I think we were short of 20-25 runs and 180 would have been a good score to defend. We had a target of 180 but when I got out in 18th over, we couldn’t get to that figure,” Perera lamented.
Asked why speedster Dale Steyn was brought in midway to bowl than in slog overs, the Sri Lankan player said the plan was to get Virat’s wicket early though they couldn’t succeed.
“As we needed Virat’s wicket, Dale was asked to bowl early but we couldn’t get him out as he was in full flow, although Dale bowled very well and conceded only 16 runs in four overs,” Perera pointed out.
“It is disappointing to lose the game as a team,” Perera added.
Lauding Kohli for carrying the match single-handedly and finishing off on a winning note in style, RCB speedster R.P. Singh said the captain had demonstrated that the hosts had plenty of batsmen to rise to the occasion.
“I think it is his best innings in the IPL tournament. He planned it so well and finished it in style. I rate it highly as he could do with an over to spare,” Singh told reporters at a post-match press conference.
“When people think of RCB, they generally think of Chris Gayle though we have plenty of batsmen like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Arun Karthick to play equally well and win games,” Singh asserted.
Clarifying that Gayle alone could not win all the matches while batting first or chasing later, Singh said Virat had also been in form and contributed valuable runs in the last two games against Mumbai Indians here (April 4) and Sunrisers in Hyderabad late Sunday (April 7).
“So, we can’t say Gayle alone will win all the matches, while chasing or batting first. As I said, we have plenty of batting strength and am sure each player will contribute as the occasion requires,” Singh asserted.
Admitting that in back-to-back games, the teams would know better how they would play with the knowledge of what happened in their last match, Singh said they would be able to plan accordingly to face each other.
“We do plan for all matches. But strategy on that day depends on how the wicket behaves, the team we are playing and if we have to bat first or chase later. Without planning, it will be difficult to play in this shorter version of the game and win,” Singh observed.
Noting that the emphatic win over Sunrisers would give the team a lot of confidence to face title-holders Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) Thursday, Singh said RCB would go all-out to maintain consistency and win as many games.
“It’s all about team combination, on what wicket we are playing and against whom. It was a perfect combination for this match. Next match, may be some other changes depending on wicket and team we will be facing,” he added.