BANGALORE, India, CMC- Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli has praised his big-hitting opener Chris Gayle for an outstanding innings which setup a thrilling victory over Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Thursday.
Gayle smashed an unbeaten 92 to single-handedly power RCB to a fighting 156 for 5 and Mumbai fell short by two runs with ten runs required from the last over.
“Chris batted beautifully. We knew 157 was enough,” declared Kohli after the match.
“The dew came on, and the way we fielded was good. The way Unadkat bowled the over towards the end was good”.
Gayle emerged from a slow start, where he managed just four runs from his first 12 deliveries and reached his half century in 38 balls.
Kohli said his team does not mind being seen as too reliant on Gayle after the West Indian swashbuckler made the decisive difference in the narrow victory.
“Obviously Chris has been magnificent for us. He has proved why he is the best Twenty20 player in the world and also showed us that he does not think about hard hitting, but thinks about the game as well,” said Kohli.
“We are not worried about the tag attached to Chris. You can’t say this in the first game of the tournament”.
Mumbai needed eight runs from the last two deliveries with another West Indies player Kieron Pollard on strike but though he blasted the first ball for four, he could only get a single to long-off off the final ball.
Meantime, the Mumbai captain Ricky Ponting has reacted to criticism that not sending Pollard up the order was a wrong decision.
Ponting said the team would talk about it and make adjustments if needed for the next game.
“All our bowlers tried to bowl at him in different areas, bowl at his toes and wide outside the off-stump. (But) being as strong as he is if anybody gets half the bat on, it does go for six,” said Ponting one of three overseas cricketers already signed up for the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to begin in July.
“Though he was limping most of his innings, he made the difference in the game. There is no doubt about it”.