I told AB ‘I will give you a hug if we win tonight’, says Kohli

Andre Russell (65 off 25) and Nitish Rana (85 not out off 46) almost got Kolkata Knight Riders over the line but Moeen Ali defended 24 in the final over to give Royal Challengers Bangalore a second win of the season.

Published : Apr 20, 2019 11:20 IST , Kolkata

Kohli smashed a hundred off 58 balls against KKR.
Kohli smashed a hundred off 58 balls against KKR.

Kohli smashed a hundred off 58 balls against KKR.

Virat Kohli has said the onus was only on him to bat through the innings in the absence of AB de Villiers and the RCB skipper lived up to the expectations with a 58-ball 100 for his first century of IPL 2019.

RCB eked out a 10-run win over KKR for only its second success of the season after Andre Russell and Nitish Rana nearly pulled off the impossible. De Villiers was under the weather before the start of the game and Kohli decided to rest him.

READ | I am not afraid to get out, says Andre Russell

“It was important to bat long when AB is not here. AB was disappointed for not making it for the game tonight and I told him that I’ll give him a hug if we win tonight,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation on Friday.

RCB finally managed to defend a total after posting 213 for four at the Eden Gardens.

Needing 113 runs off the last six overs, Russell (65 off 25) and Rana (85 not out off 46) almost got KKR over the line but Moeen Ali defended 24 in the final over.

“There’s no point in panicking in these types of situations, you got to leave it to the bowlers to decide what he wants to do. They (Moeen Ali and Marcus Stoinis) both showed composure and that’s what you expect from your team-mates. I think the way Stoinis bowled those two-three dot balls, it was very crucial,” Kohli said of Stoinis' penultimate over.

Familiar sight: Russell's 65 nearly took KKR home. PHOTO: K.R. Deepak

Talking about his innings, Kohli said: “It was difficult to put away the length balls. Our communication during the second time-out was to get 170-175, we didn’t think we could get 200-plus. Moeen changed the game completely and that allowed me to play my game. Moeen said I am going to go now and I backed him. He targeted the small boundaries and changed the game in those few overs."

Kohli also praised Russell and Rana for taking the game deep.

READ | Bangalore seals win despite Russell, Rana scare

“In the end, death overs are going to be difficult, where the outfield is lightning quick. Credit to Russell for setting up those kind of games. Having Dale (Steyn) with his kind of experience gave bowlers like (Navdeep) Saini confidence. Steyn getting those crucial overs was important for us. I think, picking wickets in the powerplay is crucial as it sets the tone for the rest of the innings,” he said.

Playing his first game of the season after having come in as a replacement, Steyn removed Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill to leave KKR reeling at 33 for three in five overs.

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