During the IPL clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday (April 24), cricket fans witnessed a fierce on-field rivalry between Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli. Both of the team were quite animated in their celebrations, with the RCB skipper also giving a fiery send-off to his KXIP counterpart.
With 27 runs needed from the final over, Ashwin smashed the first ball for a six. But Umesh Yadav got rid of him in the very next delivery, courtesy a brilliant catch at the long-on boundary by Kohli. After completing the grab, Virat celebrated in his typical usual self, using a few derogatory words in anger. Ashwin, on his part, was also seen throwing gloves in the dugout after getting out.
Addressing the media after the match, Ashwin defended the animated reactions of him and his opposite number, saying that they both are passionate players.
“I just played with passion, so does he [Virat]. That’s it. As simple as that,” Ashwin told reporters.
Coming to the match, RCB put on a complete performance to register a convincing 17-run victory over KXIP at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Put into bat first, the home team rode on AB de Villiers’ whirlwind 44-ball 82* to pile up 202/4 on the board. While defending the total, RCB’s fast bowlers and spinners’ combined effort restricted KXIP to 185/7 in 20 overs.
Reflecting on the loss, the KXIP skipper said his team failed to come good during crunch situations.
“Three overs for 60 odd runs wasn’t desirable, but we were in the chase all along and I thought we couldn’t finish it off in crunch situation. That is what you back the senior players to do. Didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted. That is exactly how that is gone for us the entire tournament.
“Whenever we played those crucial moments, we won, and whenever we haven’t, we have lost it, because the games are really really tight for us,” Ashwin remarked.
Needing 98 off 59 balls, Nicholas Pooran launched an attack on RCB bowlers. The West Indies wicketkeeper batsman scored 46 runs off 28 balls and shared a 68-run stand with David Miller to give KXIP some hope. However, Ashwin feels they lost the plot in the middle overs.
“When you chase down 200, you ideally like one of your batsmen to make 70-80. We were not in it. We were 105 in 10 overs or something like that. We lost momentum similar to what RCB did in middle overs, but I thought Nicholos Pooran played really well and he got us back into the game.
“I thought we were cruising at 4 overs 45 or 46 needed. From there on, it is quite disappointing that we could not finish the game on this ground.”
Ashwin felt it was important to restrain AB de Villiers, who along with Marcus Stoinis (46* off 34 balls) accumulated 64 runs from the last three overs.
“I think (Marcus) Stoinis was 26 off 30 balls before the last over started. So I don’t think that was quite the parameter. I think AB de Villiers is someone who definitely makes a difference in those end overs. It is very important we curtail him. Like I said our execution was all over the place towards the last two-three overs,” he said.
On winning three out of their remaining games now, Ashwin said it is important to take one game at a time.
“I think we have a couple of more players who get fit by the time we go to Hyderabad which will be a good boost for us. You can look at it as three out of three now, but it is very important to see that we have to win one at a time. The last two games are home games for us where we played reasonably well,” the KXIP captain stated.
“We have played some good cricket to actually end up only winning five games in the season. It is not quite pleasing that way, but going into the next three games, I am pretty confident that we can turn it around,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)