The IPL 2021 began with the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore beating defending champions Mumbai Indians by 2 wickets in a thrilling opener.
The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) registered a two-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. Chasing 160 to win, RCB finished the game on the final ball itself. However, it was a nervy win and MI very nearly clawed their way back in the second innings. Nevertheless, the loss continued MI’s streak of starting the IPL on a poor note. And for RCB, who are aiming for a maiden title win this year, a win over the reigning kings of the tournament is a good way to start.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli was ecstatic at the win and pinpointed what he felt was the momentum changer for his side: the knock from the much-maligned Glenn Maxwell.
Could not have asked for a more gripping way to start #IPL2021. 🤩
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) April 9, 2021
“We wanted Maxi to bat at four. The set-up was such that if we get a partnership [at the top], then Maxi comes into the game and he can do what he does (at the death). But if we lose early wickets as well, it allows him to get into the innings and not start slogging from ball one,” Kohli said after the match.
“As a batsman, if that doesn’t come off, it can start playing on your mind. Today you saw the result of him playing 10-15 balls, he’s a different player then.
“He just took the game away from the opposition in those middle overs to be honest. His innings, I felt, in our partnership was that momentum changer and that made the job easier in the end.
“If he had stayed in, we probably would have finished a couple of overs earlier.”
Kohli was also full of praise for Harshal Patel, who took five wickets to deny MI a late surge in the first innings.
“Harshal is relishing the role. He is going to be our designated death bowler. But he is very confident about what he wants to bring to the table and as a captain you want someone with that clarity.
“In T20 cricket that’s all you ask from the bowler. And the wickets that he got weren’t fluke wickets. He actually wanted the guys to hit the ball where he wanted them caught.”
RCB next take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2021 whereas MI will face Kolkata Knight Riders in their second encounter.