Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli said he was happy to see the team collecting two crucial points after their win over Mumbai Indians (MI) on his wife Anushka Sharma's 30th birthday.
Kohli added he was elated to have led RCB to an important win, which keeps their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive, as Sharma watched on from the M Chinnaswamy Stadium stands on Tuesday, May 1.
"My wife is here and it's her birthday, so happy that she could see us win. Happy to earn the two points in front of her," Kohli said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
"Jeez, we needed that win. Such an important stage of the tournament. We all believe in the changing room that this was the push we needed. Important two points," the winning captain added.
The Bollywood actress, who had tied the knot with the superstar cricketer in December last year, has been a regular presence at the Bengaluru stadium, which has always been packed to the rafters.
However, RCB had been disappointing their fans, including Sharma, as they had faltered in their last two matches (defeats to Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders) due to ordinary performances with the ball.
The Bangalore-based franchise though buckled up Tuesday and made big impacts at crucial junctures, unlike the last two games. Despite posting only 167 on board after being sent into bat, RCB went past the finish line with ease with some terrific death bowling.
New Zealand pacer Tim Southee, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, conceded only five runs in the crucial 18th over of the match, after which MI needed 30 runs from 12 balls. Mohammed Siraj was on top his game as well, bowling yorkers at will in the penultimate over, which was as tidy as the previous over.
Southee came back to bowl the final over and made sure there was no dramatic turnaround. Earlier in the evening, Umesh Yadav dealt a big blow to MI's chances by removing in-form Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma in successive deliveries.
Siraj, Colin, and Umesh were excellent: Kohli
Kohli also revealed he did not want to put pressure on bowlers during the death overs and that he had asked them to make their own calls when it came to executing their plans and setting their own fields.
Southee, Siraj, and Yadav shared six wickets between themselves on the bid day while Colin de Grandhomme, who had smashed 21 runs in the final over of RCB's innings, bowled three tidy overs. Yuzvendra Chahal's name not amongst the wickets but the leg-spinner troubled MI batsmen in the middle overs.
"Just told the bowlers, to back their gut. Told them to take ownership of their field, their plans, and own it. Siraj, Colin, Southee were excellent. Umesh, Chahal everyone bowled well," Kohli said.
"We needed impact performances and that's what happened."
With Tuesday's win, RCB has vaulted to the fifth spot on the points table with three wins eight matches. They will be traveling to Pune to take on the Chennai Super Kings in their next IPL 2018 outing Saturday, March 6.