Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - My job at No.3 is to build partnerships: Bharat. Bharat and Maxwell added a steady 69 runs for the third wicket
Bharat and Maxwell added a steady 69 runs for the third wicket
After two losses to kickstart their UAE leg, the Royal Challengers Bangalore came back strongly in their last two games against Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals to strengthen their position in the top-half. Their seven-wicket win over RR on Wednesday (September 29) wouldn't have been as straightforward as it was in the end had RCB not pulled things back with the ball, which they did adeptly. At a stage when a 180-plus total seemed inevitable for RR with them cruising at 100 for 1 in 11 overs, they lost 49 for 8 to finish with a below-par 149.
Once again, bringing to the fore their match-ups play, Yuzvendra Chahal was reserved until the 11th over when Sanju Samson was in the middle and there were two right-handers in the middle. A slower delivery from debutant George Garton got rid of the dangerous Evin Lewis for 58 off 37 who was powering RR on and Chahal got Mahipal Lomror stumped next over kickstarting the downward slide of RR. Given how good Lomror is on the leg-side, Chahal bowled a tad wider when he saw the batsman coming down the wicket. With two right-handers in the middle, Shahbaz Ahmed was brought in and his double strike to get Samson and Rahul Tewatia. RR couldn't recover from those blows.
“In T20 cricket if you can hold nerve with the ball, it means you are heading in the right direction,” said Virat Kohli after the game to Star Sports. “We came back and dominated. 175 would have been competitive, it still was a very good wicket to bat on. With the kind of bowling attack that we have, we need a couple of breakthroughs and things will open up. We knew if we held to our patience, we'll get mistakes from the batsmen and that's what happened but they were forced mistakes. Evin Lewis's wicket was the game-changing moment.”
RR could've capitalized after getting rid of the opening pair of Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli in successive overs, but Srikar Bharat and Glenn Maxwell stitched a composed 69-run stand to put them on the brink of victory. Bharat, coming in at No.3, had his work cut out, with him being handed the responsibility to build partnerships. Maxwell himself, took his time, knocking the ball around initially to rotate the strike and get the odd boundary in before letting loose.
“No.3 is always a beautiful spot to play,” said Bharat in the post-match conference. “Everyone always asks questions if you're not ready for it. We at RCB we've always focused on keeping the strike going and getting busy from ball one. It plays a huge role in building a partnership… we have AB and Maxi coming in after that and giving them the platform for a strong finish. My role is to get partnerships.
“Me and Maxi were communicating in the centre and did what the team required at that point. If you play with AB, Maxwell and Virat bhai you tend to learn a lot of good things in terms of cricket and also how to handle yourself in and out of the sport. Me and Maxi were talking about what areas we could access, what are the boundary options, what are the twos and singles, which bowler has how many overs left, what are his lengths… we were only discussing those tactical things and it worked for us.”
RCB, who are on third spot with 14 points currently, play Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals in their final league games. With one leg in the playoffs, and their squad striking hot at the right time, they will hope to finish on a high.
“Everything is coming along nicely and people are making contributions at the right time. We were blown away completely in game one, we took it as a positive. You need to be up with the pace of the tournament. We are getting into the groove at the right stage of the tournament,” Kohli added.