After Royal Challengers Bangalore’s four-wicket defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday (April 8), Virat Kohli rued his turtle-paced innings and said that they were 15 runs short with the bat.
Playing his first competitive match after the second T20I against South Africa on February 21, Kohli found it difficult to get going as he took 33 balls to score his 31 runs.
"I think we were 15 short with the bat. I played too many dot balls and couldn't get any momentum going. Me and AB getting out in 2 balls to a part-timer was a game-changing event," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
After a blazing start from Brendon McCullum (43 runs off 27 balls) followed by a rapid 64 runs partnership between skipper Virat and batting maverick AB de Villiers (44 off 23 balls), RCB were looking all set for a 200+ total on the board. However, part-time spinner Nitish Rana had a different plan in mind as he removed both the RCB stalwarts in successive deliveries. A bit of flourish at the end of the innings from Mandeep Singh (37 runs off 18 balls) propelled Bangalore to a competitive total of 176/7 in 20 overs.
In reply, KKR suffered a big blow upfront as Chris Woakes removed the swashbuckling opener Chris Lynn for just 5. Lynn’s opening partner Sunil Narine though was in his zone and he punished the RCB bowlers to all parts of the ground to notch up his second IPL fifty in just 19 balls.
Kohli also praised Man of the Match Narine for taking the game away from them with his blazing knock.
"Sunil took the game away from us with the way he batted. If you are giving 13 an over in the first overs on that sort of a wicket, it's very difficult to comeback. It's difficult for the spinners to bowl on this pitch, the fast bowlers get some purchase and you can score runs as well. It has become a really good cricket wicket over the last couple of years. We made a pretty good game out of it, to drag it till the 19th over and take those wickets was a big positive," Virat asserted.
After Narine’s dismissal, KKR lost their experienced campaigner Robin Uthappa for only 13, but young Nitish Rana and skipper Dinesh Karthik’s 54-run stand for the fourth wicket almost sealed the deal. Rana got out for 34 in the 15th over, but Karthik (35 off 29 balls) remained unbeaten to see his side home with 7 balls to spare.
Speaking after the match, Karthik said: "Feels very good. Good to get off to a good start, everybody needs it and I'm no different. I just felt at that point [during the powerplay] of time it was coming out too well for the fast bowlers, so I thought I will try wrist spin and bring little bit of risk so that it will take a little bit of time for them to play the shots."
"When AB and Virat were playing it was tough, they were too good and they are two great players. Just wished for their wickets after they got starts and we got lucky I guess. We just prayed to God that he [Narine] plays a few balls - I mean he has been doing that pretty well. It's very important that he gets us off to a good start. We all play for the crowd and they came in big numbers. We would love to play for a team like this and a crowd like this," he added.
KKR will now play their next game against CSK on Tuesday (April 10) while RCB will face Kings XI Punjab on Friday (April 13).