Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli was full of praise for his young opening partner, Devdutt Padikkal, who smoked his maiden IPL ton which paved way for a thumping 10-wicket win for the franchise.
Padikkal, who was RCB’s stand-out batsman last year, had a difficult time in the first two games that he played on sluggish Chepauk tracks but on Thursday night, batting on a placid Wankhede track, the southpaw batted like an absolute dream.
Kohli reckoned that the conditions were tailor-made for Devdutt and the southpaw made sure that he made full use of it. Virat Kohli himself did not look in the best of touch during the initial part of his innings but he ensured he rotated the strike regularly to allow Padikkal to take a full toll on the Royals’ bowling unit.
Kohli did play some cracking strokes during the second half of his innings and at one stage, he had the opportunity to finish off the game with a big shot.
But the RCB skipper ensured that his young partner got enough opportunities to get past his maiden IPL ton, which he did with a blistering cover drive.
Kohli revealed in the presentation that Devdutt had urged him to finish off the game with a boundary but the skipper said that the southpaw deserved to get past his 100 and that’s why he ensured that he gave him enough runs to complete the milestone.
”It was an outstanding innings. He batted really well for his first season last time. There was a lot of talk about him not accelerating after getting to 30s. He’s put all that to rest. It was a good pitch to bat on to be honest, and him being tall meant that bowlers struggled with their lengths. T20 cricket is always about partnership cricket. You can’t always go big from the word go. When one guy is going well, it’s important for me to ensure that I don’t lose my wicket. It can change on other days. We spoke about it (on the 100). He told me to finish it off, I told him to get to it first. He said many will come, I said yea you can say that after you get to the landmark. He deserved to get the three-figure mark,” said Virat Kohli.
The cornerstone for RCB’s 10-wicket win though was set up by their bowling unit. Mohammed Siraj led the way with a brilliant spell in the powerplay in which he removed the likes of Jos Buttler and David Miller while Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, and Kane Richardson also chipped in with crucial wickets.
And, skipper Virat Kohli was full of praise for his bowling unit.
”We don’t have standout names (in bowling) but we have effective ones. We have depth in our bowling. They are professionals. We have taken the most wickets in the death overs this season so far and it’s something we take pride in. Dev’s innings was a great one but I’d also like to credit the bowlers for setting it up. (to the fans) I’d say don’t be overexcited. We’re being professional. We’re moving in the right direction,” said Virat Kohli.
Thanks to tonight’s ten-wicket-win, RCB have now racked up four wins on the bounce and they are sitting pretty at the top of the table.