Virat Kohli: 'Yuzvendra Chahal was the one who changed the game'
RCB captain lauded his team's bowling attack, adding that they never let negativity seep in even during tough phases
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli reckoned Yuzvendra Chahal's final over was where the match turned in his side's 10-run victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their IPL 2020 opener.
Sunrisers were 121 for 2, needing 43 to win from 30 balls with Jonny Bairstow batting on 61, but Chahal took two wickets in 16th over - Bairstow included - to swing the match his team's way. Earlier, Chahal had also got Manish Pandey to end a 71-run stand for the second wicket, and he finished with 3 for 18 in four overs and the Man of the Match award.
"We kept our composure tonight," Kohli told Star, the host broadcaster. "When they needed 43 I think off five, just had a chat in the middle saying 'no shoulders dropping till the last run is scored. The game can change anytime.' And Yuzi comes in, the strike bowler that he's been for us, and changes the game completely in that over.
"Not many other spinners got too much out of the pitch, but tonight he showed that if you have skill in the wrist, you can purchase on any track," Kohli added of the Dubai International Cricket Stadium pitch. "That's why he bowls well in Bangalore too. The dew was a big factor tonight, the pitch was decent to bat on in the second half I thought - much better than the first half. But the way he came in, backed his skill and got the ball to turn and bowled attacking lines. He was the one who changed the game, in my opinion."
Chahal had a different plan for each of the three wickets he got, and all of them worked out. "When I bowled to Pandey I had the cover fielder back, so maybe he thought I'll bowl outside offstump." Chahal explained. "But that ball, I bowled on the stumps.
"For Bairstow, I knew that we need his wicket that over to come back into the game, even if I go for runs. That's why I bowled it a bit fuller, but a bit on the legside, because it is very hard to hit from there since the ball is turning. And when Vijay (Shankar) came, Virat bhaiyya and AB (de Villiers) sir, we had decided that the first ball I will bowl a googly."
Kohli said that the way his side had not given up even when the equation was in the Sunrisers favour augured well for the season.
"In the past if we had 43 off five, you would probably see shoulders dropping. The fact that we didn't let the negativity seep into the bowling group even when there was dew and it was difficult to bowl, the guys kept believing and kept bowling attacking areas. Someone like Shivam (Dube) coming in and bowling three proper overs was an outstanding sign for us… a part-timer coming and doing the job means the guys want the opportunity, they want to be in pressure situations. And that's the kind of mindset we want to be in."
The Royal Challengers total was built on half-centuries from debutant Devdutt Padikkal and AB de Villiers, and de Villiers admitted to having doubts about his form coming into the game without having played competitive cricket for months.
"I surprised myself to be honest," he said of his 30-ball 51. "As a 36-year-old to come here, without having played a lot of cricket, you do doubt yourself. But we worked really hard the last four weeks as a team and individually as well to get myself in some kind of form. Tonight was a very pleasing start. Unfortunately got run out there at the end but I'm pretty happy with the basics that seem to be in place."