Hyderabad: After Royal Challengers Bangalore took another step forward in their fight to make the IPL 2023 playoffs with a convincing eight-wicket win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad, former India pacer Zaheer Khan said that all other teams in the points table were waiting for Faf Du Plessis-led side to lose so there was pressure on Bengaluru based franchise.
Batting first, the Sunrisers set a solid target of 187 runs with Heinrich Klaasen leading the way with a spectacular 104-run outing (51b, 8×4, 6×6). All of that was spoiled by an iconic ‘King Kohli’ performance as he scored his first century in this edition of the IPL (100, 63b, 12×4, 4×6) as RCB moved to the 4th position in the points table.
Thursday night’s game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad saw the incredibly rare feat of two players from both teams scoring centuries with what Heinrich Klaasen and Virat Kohli did. Kohli’s match-winning effort will be remembered, but Klaasen’s knock was extremely impressive.
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JioCinema IPL expert Brett Lee praised both batters but was particularly impressed with what Kohli achieved.
“It keeps getting better and better. Those two guys went out with the right intent. Klaasen was A-grade and then Kohli came in and just went bang,” said Lee.
“Some of those shots that Kohli played, the way I liked how he places things was, he gave himself a chance to talk. He wasn’t moving around a lot� When he’s playing shots like these, you know he’s on� They gave themselves a chance, both those guys, and you also have to give credit also to Faf du Plessis, who was a great ally and allowed Kohli to steal the game,” he added.
This was an important win for RCB, as a loss would astronomically increase the Mumbai Indians’ chances of qualifying over them.
Zaheer was happy to see that RCB and Kohli managed to rise up to the occasion,
“All other teams in the points table were waiting for RCB to lose tonight, so there was pressure. We’ve seen this team crumble under pressure in previous seasons. From that lens, this inning is even more meaningful given how Klaasen batted for Hyderabad. After that, it seemed like this pitch wouldn’t be helpful to batters. It didn’t seem like that with Virat and that elevates the value of it,” the former India pacer said.
“Whenever Virat gets to hitting fours early, he hits four to five fours in his first two overs. He scored 22 runs and 20 of them were through fours. He built a strong platform and then took it into the zone. It seemed like we were going to see something special, and we got to see something special,” he added.
RCB’s late-season form has put teams around the IPL on notice, which led to Brett Lee saying that Bangalore has a genuine shot of seeing the city’s first IPL title since the tournament’s inception.
“RCB, they will give this IPL a red-hot crack. I have got them in my top four and watch out, they could win it this year,” said Lee.