Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore went past the finish line after a minor wobble in the IPL 2021 season opener against the Mumbai Indians in Chennai. AB De Villiers top-scored with 48 to shape the Royal Challengers’ victory by two wickets in the last ball, overcoming a spirited Mumbai side. Virat Kohli remarked that the pitch was a tricky one, but every player contributed to the triumph, seeing it as a positive one.
After winning the toss, Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli sent the Mumbai Indians into bowl first. Following Rohit Sharma’s early departure, Chris Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav stitched a 70-run stand to keep Mumbai on track for a massive total. But after the pair’s departure, the defending champions could not find the required gear as Kieron Pollard, Ishan Kishan, and Hardik Pandya failed to get the timing right. Harshal Patel ran through the lower order to end up with a maiden fifer to keep the opposition to 159.
Washington Sundar and Virat Kohli provided a sedate start to the Royal Challengers in pursuit of 160 before the former perished. Rajat Patidar played some eye-catching shots before Trent Boult got the better of him. Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell joined hands to stitch a 52-run stand. As the pair went back to the pavilion, none could support AB De Villiers, who waged a lone war against Mumbai’s elite bowling attack. The drama extended to the final over when De Villiers found himself short of the crease at the striker’s end while running the second. With a single required off the last ball, Mohammed Siraj scored the winning run.
To be honest, the pitch was looking decent in the first half: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli conceded that they had to play against the strongest opposition in the tournament to test their depth and felt delighted that everyone came to the party. Kohli, who made a vital contribution, remarked that the pitch looked decent in the first half; however, the deck slowed in the second innings and hitting through the line was not an option. Kohli praised the death-overs bowling performance and praised Harshal Patel, who he claimed is relishing his role within the side. The right-handed batsman went on to admire Rajat Patidar for his brief classy knock and Glenn Maxwell, who he appreciated for changing the momentum in the middle overs. Finally, he glorified AB De Villiers for his versatility and the depth in the batting order for crafting the win.
“Last time we won the first game we played as well. It was important to play agains the strongest opposition to test the depth of your team. Everyone got involved, everyone’s got game time. Lot of options in the kitty which helped bring the game back. To be honest, the pitch was looking decent in the first half. I thought the dew might help, but as the ball got slower the ball got slower and the length ball got difficult to get away. That’s why all those partnerships were crucial. It’s not a ground where you can hit through the line unless the situation demands it. It’s not going to be that momentum that you see in the IPL. especially in Chennai. The shot that Pollard got out to, invariably in Wankhede and a couple of other stadiums that’s sailing into the stands. Those last six overs for us with the ball were probably the best we’ve ever had.
Harshal is relishing the role. He is going to be our designated death bowler. Very confident about what he wants to bring to the table and as a captain you want someone with that clarity. In T20 cricket that’s all you ask from the bowler. And the wickets that he got weren’t fluke wickets. He actually wanted the guys to hit the ball where he wanted them caught. Maxi we wanted him to bat at 4. Rajat he’s solid, an exciting prospect, plays spin well. We want Maxi to come in after a nice set u, but even if we lose early wickets he becomes a different player. You saw today, he’s a different player with 10-15 balls behind him. Changed the momentum for us in the middle overs. It’s a difficult one, AB is probably the only player who’s so versatile and can do what he did on slow pitches today, so we have to understand. If there’s a partnership on, you might see a totally different order. But in a tricky chase you want some options in the back end, where the opposition thinks it’s not over till he gets out,” Virat Kohli told in the post-match presentation.