Captain Virat Kohli was a relieved man after the Royal Challengers Bangalore rode his magnificent 100 and Moeen Ali’s scintillating 28-ball 66 to record a 10-run win over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Friday’s IPL XII clash at the Eden.
This was also the Royal Challengers’ second victory in the ongoing edition, which helps to keep their play-offs chances alive.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Kohli said: “Felt really good to win this game especially after what happened last year… It was crucial for us to come here and get a win. So yeah, it certainly is a crucial victory.
“Besides, not walking to an interview straight after the game is definitely a bit of a relief.”
Taking good advantage of the Knight Riders’ sloppy fielding, Kohli and Moeen stitched 90 for the third wicket that laid the platform for the Royal Challengers to finish with a flourish. Moeen was more aggressive of the two batsmen and allowed Kohli to settle in.
After the England all-rounder’s dismissal, Kohli took up the job of acceleration and along with Marcus Stoinis (17 not out), helped the Royal Challengers set up an imposing target of 214 for the Knight Riders.
Talking about his partnership with Moeen, the skipper said: “Our communication during second time-out was to get 170-175, we didn’t think we could get 200-plus.
“It was difficult to put away the length balls. But Moeen changed the game completely and that allowed me to settle in and play my game. Moeen said, ‘I am going to go now’ and I asked him to go for it.
“He targeted the small boundaries and changed the game in those few overs. That made my task easier. I would otherwise have had to accelerate earlier…
“It was important to bat along especially when a senior player like AB (De Villiers) wasn’t playing.”
Adding on the unwell De Villiers’s absence, Kohli said: “Before leaving, I told AB I will get a hundred for you, so he must be pretty happy.”
Nitish Rana and the mighty Andre Russell took the Knight Riders perilously close from a hopeless position, evoking the scenes of the first-leg game between the two teams at the Chinnaswamy when the Jamaican single-handedly took the game away from Kohli’s team.
However, Stoinis bowled three dot balls in the penultimate over that made things tougher for the Knight Riders, while Moeen too kept his calm in the final over.
“You have to leave it to the bowler in those (death-over) situations. I think the way Stoinis bowled that 19th over was very good.”