Chennai: It was a start that Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli would like to forget as his team was thrashed by seven wickets by defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the season opening game of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here.
But trying to remain positive despite the result on Saturday, Kohli said that it was good to get a loss like this out of the way early in the tournament. Having scored just 70 runs after losing the toss and batting first, Kohli’s men saw Chennai chase down the target in the 18th over of the innings.
He revealed that the idea was to take the game as deep down as possible after a poor start with the bat.
“No one wants to start like this, but it’s good to get a game like this out of the way — this early in the tournament. We spoke of trying to be in the game, taking it to the 18th over was nice to see.”
While one would think it was a poor reading of the wicket that saw RCB play three frontline pacers in Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini, but Kohli backed the decision and said that the wicket looked much better than it played.
“The batting wasn’t good, it wasn’t easy to bat on, looked much better surface though. I thought 140-150 would have been an ideal score, especially with dew expected later on. A scrappy start to the league, but I don’t think either team had control over it, the pitch was under the covers for 4 days, but we should have batted better, 110-120 would have been a fighting score,” he said.
But one RCB player who impressed was Saini. His pace was disconcerting and he even hit CSK opener Shane Watson on the helmet in one over. Even though he finished wicket-less, Saini impressed all.
“He has been good in conditions where there’s some grass, got his chance now. He will play a big role in the time to come. I thought CSK played really well, they deserved to win, but I loved to see our team fighting all the way,” Kohli added.
M.S. Dhoni, the winning skipper, stressed the need to be cautious with wickets like the one prepared at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here for the game.
“I never expected the wicket to play how it actually played and it was too slow and it just reminded me of the 2011 Champions League wicket. After the IPL, we came back and we had a really good season, the wicket got relaid and all of a sudden we found it very difficult,” Dhoni said after the game on Saturday.
“I feel if the wicket stays like this, it will be tough for us also. The wicket definitely needs to be a lot better than where it is right now, even with dew it was still spinning big. I feel it needs to be high-scoring, even the opposition would have known that it was a slow wicket.
“Something close to 140-150 is something you are looking at. 80, 90, 100 or 120 is really low-scoring and if you have genuine spinners in your line-up it’s very difficult to score runs. I feel the wicket needs to be much better than how it is now.”