The England all-rounder defended 24 runs off the final over under extreme pressure despite Andre Russell and Nitish Rana threatening to pull of a miraculous win for KKR to lead RCB to only their second win of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
The win just about keeps Bangalore’s slim hopes of making the play-offs alive and it arrived on the back of a fine batting display from Moeen and Kohli.
After a slow start by RCB’s batsmen at the Eden Gardens, Moeen changed the complexion of the game with his second consecutive fifty in the competition which came at an electric pace.
The left-hander struck six sixes and five boundaries in a 28-ball stay which saw him collect 66 runs before Kohli’s fifth-ever IPL ton helped Bangalore post a commanding 213-4.
“Our communication around the second time (strategic timeout) was to get about 175,” said a visibly relieved Kohli after his side’s tense win.
“A bit of luck went our way, and we never thought we would get 200 plus. Moeen took the momentum from them and landed it back in our lap. He said, ‘I’m going to go now’ and I just asked him to go for it.
“He targetted the smaller boundaries and gave us some momentum in those two to three overs.”
The RCB and India skipper also lauded the contribution of Dale Steyn on his RCB return after a gap of nine years. The South African pacer’s early spell with the new ball proved to be crucial with his two wickets inside the first five overs allowing Bangalore to tighten the screws until the 10th over mark.
“The ball travels quickly, and the pitch is hard, and Russell is hitting the ball as well as anyone I know has. But Steyn used his experience well, and that allowed (Navdeep) Saini to also follow up. Picking up wickets is crucial, and we did that today,” explained Kohli.
The win helped RCB join Rajasthan Royals on four points although they remain in bottom-spot after nine games. For Kolkata, it was the fourth straight loss and it leaves them languishing in sixth-spot with four wins from their nine games.
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