Dubai: Expect the unexpected from birthday boy Virat Kohli and his Royal Challengers Bangalore as they line up for a do-or-die battle in the Indian Premier Legaue (IPL) eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The Indian captain, who turned 32 on Thursday, is known for his direct, non-nonsense and incisive leadership on the pitch.
However, heading into this week’s play-offs, the RCB squad has faltered on the back of four successive losses. They finished the group stages in fourth position with 14 points from as many matches and even though the team lost their final group clash against the Delhi Capitals, they managed to occupy their rightful spot in the play-offs based on their superior net run-rate.
The Kohli-led side started the tournament on a high, but their recent streak of losses nearly denied them a place in the knockouts before they could salvage the situation. Ahead of their eliminator clash against the Sunrisers Hyderbad on Friday, the RCB team held a team talk in which every member of the squad had a chance to hear from the leaders. The video of the team discussion was posted on the franchise’s official Youtube channel, during which the RCB skipper challenged his men to think and act on a similar mindset.
Wearing a more relaxed look, Kohli further urged his teammates not to discard the fun element in the knockout stages of the competition. “I want all of us to be in the same mindset. I promise you all that we will have more fun in this next week than we had in the last two-and-a-half months. It would be unbelievable if we can get into the right mindset, and I believe we have reached there,” Kohli told his teammates.
A win on Friday against the Sunrisers will ensure a second qualifier match-up either against either Mumbai Indians or Delhi Capitals on Sunday. However, a loss would mean an early pack-up and departure for either of the teams.
RCB head coach Simon Katich also weighed in while complimenting the team on achieving their spot in the play-offs. “Well done on a fantastic achievement of reaching the play-offs. It obviously requires a lot of hard work, so well done on that. The finish hasn’t been as planned, but what’s done is done,” Katich said, reflecting on their loss against the Capitals in their final group match.
“We can now look for the opportunity which comes up on Friday and grab that opportunity. The things that stand for me is that certain guys played according to their role in our last game,” he added.
Catch the match
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Start: 6 pm UAE
Live telecast on Bein Sports