Having been inflicted with their seventh loss in eight matches of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), Royal Challengers Bangalore are riling in pressure but skipper Virat Kohli believes his side needs to keep a calm head during pressure situations and take on the half chances to secure victory.
Lasith Malinga delivered a sensational spell of fast bowling on his comeback to the Indian Premier League 2019 as he played a crucial role in Mumbai Indians clinical win over Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets. After Malinga’s brilliant four-for, Hardik Pandya smashed an unbeaten 37 off 16 balls as Mumbai romped to the 172-run target with six balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
Chasing a challenging total, skipper Rohit Sharma and opener Quinton de Kock powered Mumbai to a blazing start as the duo knitted an important stand of 70 runs in 7 overs. After a bit of stutter in the middle, Hardik played a brilliant cameo to win it for the hosts. Courtesy this victory, Mumbai have now won 5 out of their 8 matches and are currently placed at the third spot in the table. While Bangalore have lost 7 out of their 8 games and continue to languish at the bottom of the table.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Kohli rued the fact that his bowlers didn’t perform well in the first six overs. “We played a pretty good game I guess. With the ball, we weren’t that great in the first six overs but the guys fought hard in the middle overs and came back well.”
RCB pacers once again came with a below-par performance. In fact such was their performance that spinner Pawan Negi was preferred over the likes of Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini, to bowl the penultimate over of the match with MI needing 22 runs of the last two overs.
However, the ploy didn’t work for the RCB as the left-arm spinner was taken for a toll with star all-rounder Hardik Pandya collecting two sixes and two fours to win the match for his team.
Kohli though backed his decision to hand the ball to Negi in the penultimate over. “At the end, we had to take the risk with the left-arm spinner, with two right-handed batsmen. Giving pace was risky, especially with a bit of dew. Unfortunately, it didn’t come off.”
The RCB skipper was also full of praise for England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who along with AB de Villiers (75 off 51), scored a superb fifty to propel the team to 171/7. Ali also picked up two wickets and kept his side in the hunt to secure their second win of the season.
“He’s (Moeen) been outstanding. Striking the ball well and bowling with a lot of heart. It’s good to see a senior player taking responsibility and he deserves all the credit,” said Kohli.
Kohli’s men have seven losses in eight matches this season and now face the demanding equation of having to win their remaining six matches to provide themselves with a chance of making to the playoffs.
“We just have to enjoy ourselves, play the way we did in the last two games. We need to keep our composure under pressure,” he said.
RCB will now take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday at the Eden Gardens.