Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli revealed AB de Villiers had lifted his spirits at the halfway stage of their must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) against Delhi Daredevils (DD) on Sunday, May 12.
Kohli conceded he was not happy with the way the RCB bowlers leaked runs at the death after he had sent the Daredevils in to bat at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium but that he found comfort in de Villiers' pep talk during the mid-innings break.
After two successive tidy overs from Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj, RCB had made sure the Daredevils did not have the momentum going into the last four overs. However, teenager Abhishek Sharma, on his IPL debut, took the visitors' bowlers to the cleaners, helping the Daredevils score 56 runs in the last four overs and post 181 on the board.
There was pressure on RCB, considering the match was a must-win for both the teams to keep the outside chances of qualifying for the playoffs alive. Reeling at 18 for 2 in chase of 182, the visitors did not have an ideal start but Kohli and de Villiers combined to produce a match-winning stand of 118 runs in just 64 balls.
'Don't worry, we're getting this'
"I wasn't happy with the way the innings ended. But in the mid-innings break, AB told me 'don't worry, we're getting this'," Kohli said.
"He is always giving me positive feedback, I got into the zone because of that. I followed my instincts and AB finished it off like he does often for us," the local favorite added.
"Well, it's lovely batting with him. In the past, we have done this. We really wanted to step up at the right time. We're looking forward to a game like this. 180 on the board, it was a stiff chase.
"Glad to have that match-winning partnership with him. Really good to see he finished off another game for us. It's an honor for me to bat with him."
The duo lit up Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday by sending the ball into the stands at ease. The duo saw off young Nepalese bowler Sandeep Lamichhane but had no respect for the others, including Trent Boult and Junior Dala.
My dismissal could have cost us 10-12 balls: Kohli
Kohli though rued not being able to stay there until the end of the innings and help the team finish earlier than they did Saturday. Notably, the skipper got out on 70 (off 40 balls), with the team still needing 46 runs at run-a-ball.
"Look, at that stage I had the run rate in mind, to be honest. We won with six balls to spare but we're looking at about 15. Maybe three overs to spare, the way we're going," Kohli said.
"That's why I was disappointed. The only thing for me was to get two points and get the net run rate up as well. I got out at a time where it could have cost us 10-12 balls for a victory. But I think two points and six balls for the win feels even better."
De Villiers held his composure and took the team past the finish line with a 37-ball 72. RCB won the match with six balls to spare and thus are still in contention for a playoff spot.
With eight points from 11 games, RCB are at the seventh spot, four points adrift of fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.