Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore marked their homecoming to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium through a thumping eight-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians to get their IPL 2023 campaign off to a flying start.
One of the chief factors of RCB’s victory was scintillating half-centuries from Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli in a gigantic 148-run opening partnership. While du Plessis made 73 off 43 balls, including five fours and six sixes, Kohli was in sublime touch to be 82 not out off 49 balls, laced with six fours and five sixes to chase 172 in 16.2 overs.
After the match ended, Kohli said to broadcasters that he and du Plessis were aiming to hit their shots in good areas and keep the pressure on the bowlers.
“Phenomenal win. Homecoming after so many years. We kept backing ourselves. Faf went first, and I joined later. I am very happy with how things went today,” the former RCB captain said.
“The new ball was a bit tricky, but we shifted the momentum by taking them down with the new ball. We nullified all their intensity. The wicket was quite a nice one. We hit good areas and kept putting pressure on the bowlers,” he added.
The star batter was also in praise of leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who picked two wickets in the match.
“He was phenomenal, when he got that left-hander out. it was great bowling. He was bowling so well last year. He was ready to play. Even in the nets, he was not getting hit for sixes. He put us on the front foot right away,” he said.
Asked about the support from a jam-packed home stadium, Kohli said, “Phenomenal, was a packed crowd. Every seat was full and we knew we would get a lot of support. We just ride off that intensity from the crowd. They were right behind us.
The first game of the IPL, and to perform like that was great. Credit to their batters for getting to that score. Tilak batted well.”
Kohli signed off by saying RCB need to build on the momentum from the opening victory for the rest of the tournament.
“Apart from Mumbai winning five times and Chennai four times, we have qualified the most number of times, so we do play consistent cricket. It’s just about staying focused, and just trying to be the best balanced team. We need to play on this momentum. We just need to execute better,” he said.