Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli heaped praise on Sunrisers Hyderabad, pointing out the abundance of strong characters within the team which is sitting pretty on the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table with 16 points in 10 matches.
Kohli said the Sunrisers' success in the ongoing season can be attributed to their knack of understanding their strengths and limitations. The 29-year-old India captain also rued RCB's inability to finish matches.
Kohli's comments came after RCB lost a last-over thriller to SRH at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad on Monday, May 7.
After opting to chase, RCB's bowlers came to the party towards the end overs and restricted Sunrisers to a below-par score of 145.
Despite losing Manan Vohra early in their chase, wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel and skipper Kohli made sure RCB were in a strong position at the end of the powerplay overs. In fact, the visitors were cruising at 60/1 in 7 overs after which the inevitable happened.
SRH had won three of their last four games until Monday by defending moderate totals in Uppal. On Monday, they showed RCB how it's done by picking up wickets in the middle and strangulating the likes of Colin de Grandhomme and Mandeep Singh at the death.
Notably, death bowlers Siddharth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar came to the party by conceding only 13 runs between them in the last two overs, thereby making sure RCB fell five runs short of the target.
Surnrisers have strong characters: Kohli
"If you have strong characters in the team you can always do well in such a tournament. Sunrisers have quite a few guys in the team - that has been the story of their season," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
He added: "They understand their team and that's why they have been so successful. They understand their strengths, know their limitations. That's been their story."
Shedding light on RCB's inability to finish off games despite dominating most part of their matches, Kohli said: "I don't think we showed enough application. The kind of shots we played, they were not on at that stage. I think we threw it away. I think we let the opposition get back in the game. That has been the story of the season so far.
"It was a (tough defeat) but that is how the game goes. We deserve to lose this game. We were not good enough on the day. 60-odd runs in the first six overs and than we ended up like that."
Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab strongest all-round teams: Kohli
Despite the agonizing defeat Monday, RCB's chances of qualifying for the playoffs are not over as they can make it to the final stages by winning all their matches in the remainder of the season. The former finalists are currently on the sixth spot with six points from 10 matches.
Meanwhile, Kohli also opined that Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab are the strongest in the ongoing season and that Sunrisers have the best bowling line-up.
Notably, CSK are placed second on the eight-team table with 14 points from 10 matches while R Ashwin-led KXIP, who face Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday, are third with 12 points from nine matches.
"As an all-round team Chennai and Punjab are good. As a bowling team, Sunrisers are the strongest team," Kohli said.