It was indeed a “roller-coaster” game as Virat Kohli put it at the post-match presentation. His team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Mumbai Indians (MI) in a thrilling Super Over on Monday in Dubai after the teams finished level on 201 in regular time. Kieron Pollard’s 60 off 24 and Ishan Kishan’s 99 off 58 helped MI take it down to the wire after needing 80 off the last four overs at one stage with Hardik Pandya back in the pavilion. Pollard and Kishan played the waiting game, seeing off the middle overs, and decided to go all out at the death. “I think they played really well and patiently in the middle,” quipped Kohli at MI’s approach.
With the game tied and Navdeep Saini keeping MI to seven runs in the Super Over, RCB had a relatively easy target. The choices were simple, too. AB de Villiers had smashed 55 off 24 earlier in the game and captain Kohli, even though not in the best touch, could be counted on to run between the wickets.
“I thought about who are the best guys to come back for twos and it was me and AB. It was all about stepping onto the field and taking responsibility,” Kohli explained his decision of going out in the Super Over.
On de Villiers’ knock that won the Man of the Match award Kohli said: “He was coming after a long break. The way he batted and some of the shots he played was outstanding.”
“Getting stuck into the bowlers and only he can do that best… He keeps things simple and doesn’t watch a lot of cricket. Enjoys his life and comes out here, backs his ability. He’s relaxed and that’s exactly what we want from him,” Kohli added.
However, it wasn’t a perfect game for RCB. There were dropped catches – three of them – and some efforts in the field that could be termed lazy. Yuzvendra Chahal was lazy to get to a top-edge off Pollard in the 17th over and let slip an opportunity to dismiss the big-hitter after he had taken Adam Zampa for three sixes and a four in the over.
Substitute Pawan Negi took three good catches but dropped one and Gurkeerat Mann saw a ball hit by Kishan burst through his hands and land beyond the ropes.
“Fielding is something we need to work on. If we’d taken our chances, it wouldn’t have been so close,” said Kohli.
There were other positives, too. Kohli tackled Jasprit Bumrah well in the Super Over and Washington Sundar bowled his four overs for just 12 and got Rohit Sharma dismissed.
“It was a good match-up against Jasprit. Top quality cricket and games like these, people would love to watch. The changes that we made, make Washi (Sundar) bowl in the Powerplay paid off,” Kohli said.
For Rohit, it was a case of too close yet too far. “We were not in the game at all when we started off with the bat. Great innings by Ishan there and then Pollard was brilliant as usual for us,” Rohit said after the match.
For all the heroics towards the death by Pollard and Kishan, there was the start that Mumbai got – 35/2 off the first six overs – that acted as the spoiler in retrospect.
“It is just that we couldn’t start well, I thought we could chase 200 with the batting power we have. We didn’t get the momentum in the first 6-7 overs and also lost three wickets,” Rohit rued the slow start.
“With Polly being there anything can happen, Ishan was also hitting it well so we had the belief that we would get there,” he added.
By the time the Super Over came, MI needed swathes of luck to defend seven runs off six balls as Hardik and Pollard failed to tee off. “Hardik is somebody we trust to hit long balls, it is not coming off but we are confident he can pull things off for us,” Rohit said on his choices in the Super Over.
A top edge off de Villiers’ bat that flew past the fine leg boundary for four, with six needed off four, sealed the game for RCB.
“I mean 7 runs you need to have luck on your side, we had to get wickets but there was also an unfortunate boundary. We came back really well and a lot of positives to take away from this game,” Rohit said.
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