Terming Sunrisers Hyderabad as one of the “most balanced sides” of this year’s tournament, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli said that he expected anything but a one-sided affair on Sunday.
“I can assure you it will be a good quality match,” Kohli said on the eve of the IPL final. “Both sides have players who will not give up, no matter what. Even they have explosive power. We both have reached the final in a similar way. ABD (AB de Villiers) for us, (David) Warner for them.”
Kohli noted that his counterpart Warner was a much-evolved person on the field.
“He’s not been so expressive with his emotions on the field. It’s a great thing to see his development as a person. You can see the hunger he has. As a captain or leader, you try to execute first what you ask from your team-mates. Warner and I think on similar lines. It’s been wonderful to see how he has led his team. Especially when there are seniors like Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh), (Ashish) Nehra and youngsters like Mustafizur (Rahman) in the squad — handling all of them at the same time. It’s great to see a guy who has kept his team together and deservedly made the final.”
In the lead-up to the final, much has been written about Sunrisers’ bowling and Royal Challengers’ batting as being their respective strengths, but Kohli said that both disciplines had to come together at some stage.
“You can’t just bat well for 20 overs and reach the final,” he said. “If you want to win six games in a row, it has to be a joint effort. Just four-five batsmen cannot push you through to the final. Their bowlers can restrict teams for 150. But their batsmen have to get the runs. It takes contributions from everyone.”
For every Kohli, who has dealt with high-pressure situations such as this, there is a Yuzvendra Chahal or a Sachin Baby, for whom it’s the first brush. But Kohli said it was about enjoying the occasion rather than feeling pressured.
“Being under pressure should be a privilege at this level,” he said. “Youngsters have taken that well. Chahal has played four games less than others and is just three wickets off (the Purple Cap). That speaks volumes about him.”
“Whether you win or lose, it’s not going to last forever. You have to be attached, yet detached. You have to win, but you need not curse yourself [if you don’t]. We need to understand that it’s not the end. The juggernaut keeps rolling. Whether we win or lose, we understand that this is the only game of cricket that we have left as a team this season and we would like to enjoy that together. The way we have been able to turn things around, we should be proud of it.”