Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) registered a much-needed win in IPL 2018 with a 14-run victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) on Tuesday night. Following the win, skipper Kohli made a grand gesture to wife Anushka Sharma. Speaking in the post-match presentation, Kohli said RCB’s win over MI was a ‘little’ birthday gift for his wife. The Bollywood actress has been an ever-present presence during RCB’s home matches at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru and was again in the stands as RCB got the better of Rohit Sharma’s team. “We had good intent, results are around the corner. The result went our way. We should take this confidence forward. My wife is here and it’s her birthday. This was a little gift for her. It was very important to achieve this two points in front of her,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
The win was crucial to RCB’s cause and their hopes of reaching the playoffs. The victory over Mumbai helped Kohli’s team register their third win in eight games but more importantly saw them climb to fifth place in the IPL 2018 points table.
It was a complete team effort and finally the RCB bowlers came to the party after letting the team down at crucial junctures during the tournament.
Put into bat, Manan Vohra gave RCB a dream start, scoring a 31-ball 45 including four sixes and two fours. Vohra’s innings helped RCB put pressure on Mumbai bowlers especially with Quinton de Kock failing to make a meaningful contribution and AB de Villiers not part of the playing XI.
Vohra was given good support by former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who dropped to 1-down from his usual opening position. After Vohra’s dismissal, McCullum and Kohli carried the team forward with a 60-run partnership for the third wicket.
However, in a bid to up the ante, RCB lost a string of wickets, including those of McCullum, Kohli and Mandeep Singh as Mumbai sniffed a chance for restricting the hosts.
To a large extent Mumbai managed to do that but Mitchell McClenaghan’s 20th over was taken for 20 runs by Colin de Grandhomme, which spoilt the script for the visitors.
Mumbai got off to a disastrous start, losing three wickets inside the powerplay overs. Kieron Pollard once again failed with the bat while JP Duminy’s sluggisg innings put further pressure on Mumbai’s chase.
With Mumbai 84 for five in 12 overs, Kohli would have been hoping for a comfortable finish but Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, had other ideas.
Hardik (50) and Krunal (23) added 56 runs for the sixth wicket to revive MI’s hopes.
Needing 35 off the final three overs, Mumbai were still harbouring hopes of a win, especially considering RCB’s past death-over experiences this tournament.
However, Tim Southee and Mohammed Siraj showcased some brilliant death bowling to restrict MI to 20 off the last three overs.