Harshal Patel, the Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer, said the Bengaluru side has a strong batting attack, and that helped it register an empathic eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, chasing down a mammoth 187 runs target.
“We were pretty confident at the halfway mark given the kind of batting power we have till No.7 even though the pitch was on the slower side,” said Harshal on Thursday night.
“Even after Klaasen’s brilliant knock, we feel that we held them back pretty well in the death overs. It was a par score on this pitch,” he added.
Reflecting on his own bowling, Harshal said he has been doing it (bowling in the death overs) for almost three years now. “Kind of getting used to it. It is important to be clear at the top of the mark, not to worry about what the batters are trying to do but what delivery I am going to bowl. If you are in that mode, focussing to do things needed, the pressure part becomes inconsequential,” he explained.
Praising Kohli for sticking to the copy-book style and not playing any improvised shots during his 63-ball hundred, Harshal said, “Playing cricketing shots and not doing anything fancy, the way he (Virat) takes on the bowlers, kind of shots he plays, kind of sixes he hits, not power-hitting but timing part is so incredible.”
“His ability to keep going for 20 overs without getting tired, taking so many twos, even in the field before that, he was running long-on to long-off in the last five overs, his energy and commitment to the game, skills remarkable to watch,” he added.
The win kept RCB at fourth on the points table with 14 points in 13 matches.
“Well, the mood has always been positive, not just after this game. As a team we always wanted to play the best cricket, stay positive, and show intent,” Harshal said.
Lara praises Kohli, Du Plessis
For his part, Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach Brian Lara said they came up against Kohli at his best who had done a tremendous job for RCB through this season.
“Well, two class players (the other being captain Faf du Plessis) at the crease and still to lose the match in the 20th over was a great effort,” he said.
Lara said he was getting a feel of the things as head coach and it had been a wonderful experience.
“We have a very young squad, with more experience you can see better performances. Truly tough season for the players, support staff and everyone involved with us,” Lara said.
On Klaasen’s ton, Lara said he showed his class, and commitment, he played his heart out right through the season. “You are going to see him for a very, very long time,” he added.
“Yes, we got to use matches at home, the facilities, conditions. In Hyderabad, they were very fair with the better team on the day winning it. I must congratulate the ground staff for producing these kinds of tracks. Certainly, one win in seven games at home we don’t expect. We need to start preparing from now for the next season,” Lara said.
“It it is important to pay attention to our team not just for this season, months before what the players are doing, in form or not. We do have special young players and don’t like them to disappear from Hyderabad,” he said.
“When I was playing at 22, I was amongst some of the greatest cricketers like Gordon Greenidge. I was in that environment for 12 months. So, this young talent needs to be among elite cricketers,” he said.
Assistant coach Simon Helmot said it was unbelievable cricket with two wonderful individual performances. “Well, if only we had won those games which we lost by close margins, things would have been different,” he said.
“When you defend a score where you can win on a good track, you need to make sure things go your way. I think young Nitish Reddy was ready, terrific and he was up against two of the best players in IPL,” Helmot said.
“We have to move on with confidence and win against Mumbai.”
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