Abu Dhabi, Oct 7 – Though it was an inconsequential match as far as the playoffs position goes, the clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad was still crucial for Royal Challengers Bangalore as victory would have maintained their chances of finishing at the second position in the IPL 2021 points table, giving them a chance to play the Qualifier 1 thus getting another shot at making it to the final.
Victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad would have put RCB level on 18 points with Chennai Super Kings and in a position to claim the second spot. But that was not to be as Susnrisers Hyderabad won by four runs here on Wednesday night. Kohli’s team remained on 16 points and in the third position behind Delhi Capitals (20) and CSK (18).
Though his franchise team lost, India skipper Kohli was happy to see Indian bowlers — Harshal Patel (3/33), Yuzvendra Chahal(1/27), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/25), and newcomer Umran Malik (1/21) doing well in IPL 2021.
Chahal has lost his place in the Indian white-ball squad and the selectors had ignored Chahal for the T20 World Cup starting later this month, Bhuvneshwar is part of the squad, and seeing him bowling well gladdened Kohli’s heart. The Indian skipper was also happy to see Jammu and Kashmir bowler Malik bowling at 150kph regularly and said it augurs well for Indian fast bowling stock.
“Chahal’s bowling pretty well now. Looks like he’s worked on his bowling with all the time off. Him bowling well is a good sign for the team,” Kohli said on Wednesday night after the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
About Malik, Kohli said, “Good to see a guy bowling at 150 clicks. It’s important to understand the progress of individuals from here, how to look after yourself. We’ve got to maximise the potential of our fast bowling stocks.”
While Chahal got his form back in the last few IPL 2021 matches, Kumar kept his nerves to deny AB de Villiers many chances in the final overs of the match and SRH defended a small total of 141/7 and won by four runs.
“It’s fine, I got hit thrice, but it’s okay. If I say there were no nerves, I would be lying. For AB – I was just trying to be full, and nothing else. That was the only plan – I went for six and then I went to wide yorkers. We were thinking 10-15 runs short but the way everyone bowled was tremendous,” said Kumar, who denied RCB the 13 runs they needed in the final over to win.
Kohli also said that his team could have won the match if they had done well in key moments and not taken things to the final over.
“The intent should always be to get it done as soon as possible. We don’t want to stretch things too deep. Dev (Devdutt Padikkal) and Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) set things up but Maxi’s run out was the key moment for us. With AB you’re never out of the game, but it’s also a case of keeping the guy in the flow on strike. Shahbaz (Ahmed) I think played a crucial knock at the stage and pulled us back into the game. It’s a game of small margins. Things could have gone anywhere and Sunrisers held their nerves to not allow us to get away,” said Kohli.