What a sensational defence from RCB. And make no mistake, this is a sensational defence. The bowling has been so good in this tournament from them, but you just wondered how will they respond to the challenge at Sharjah. Emphatically, is the answer. Pace bowlers on the money to start, giving nothing away in those overs at the top. Morris, Siraj, Saini all sharp and accurate. And then the spin bowling pair of Chahal and Sundar. Oh that pair. Their combined figures were 8 overs, 32 runs and 3 wickets. That’s a stunning effort when you consider the size of the boundaries here. KKR, to be honest, messed it up as well. They were too conservative at the start and then weren’t particularly smart in playing the match-ups either. Rana, for instance, defended a whole over from Chahal with the ball turning into him. And then he tried to slog Sundar, which is a really difficult ask the way he’s bowling. The squeeze from RCB was so intense that KKR were staring at a rate of over 13 with 10 overs to go, which then led to a flurry of wickets as the new batsmen didn’t have time to settle in. And you can’t just start hitting from the get-go without getting your eye in. Certainly not against this RCB attack on this slow pitch.

Dinesh Karthik | KKR skipper: He (de Villiers) is a world-class player and hard to stop him on a ground like this and at the end of the day his innings was the difference between both sides. We need to sit down and make sure there are few things we need to do better. Batting is one area we didn’t do well today and that’s something we gonna try and improve. We have three days break and we need to start fresh after that. It’s been an interesting IPL so far as a lot of teams are comfortable batting first. I think every captain has a day like this where everything doesn’t go according to plan and it’s one of those days for me, I don’t want to read too much into it.

Kohli: They’ve played good cricket in this IPL. Coming here, it was important to get the right start. Great to see individuals step up when the team requires. Bowling unit, with Morris coming in, looks all the more potent. Very happy. At the toss the pitch didn’t have the usual Sharjah sheen. Knew the wicket was going to get slower and slower. Barring one super-human, everyone struggled on that pitch. Talk was around 165-170. Preparation was really good. Three week camp helped us. Have clarity of plans. Know exactly what we want to do on the field. All depends on the mindset. It’s very positive. If your bowling unit is strong, you have a great chance of going deep in the tournament. Was unbelievable. I thought I had a few balls under my belt so I’ll start striking. But he came in and hit his third ball nicely. On a pitch like that, only AB can do that. It was a special knock. We got 195 purely because of the genius of that man. Always things you can reflect on and say you can improve on these things. All about taking this momentum forward. Don’t want to be complacent.

AB de Villiers is the man of the match.

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