IPL 2021: Virat Kohli defends RCB decision to send Glenn Maxwell ahead of AB de Villiers after win over MI

1 month ago 16

Virat Kohli defended Royal Challengers Bangalore's move to use new recruit Glenn Maxwell at No. 4 ahead of their star batsman AB de Villiers in their tense 2-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League 2021 opening match on Friday.

Virat Kohli heaped praise on Glenn Maxwell, saying the Australia all-rounder's quickfire 39 from 28 balls helped swing the momentum in their favour in the chase of 160 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. RCB helped raise a few eyebrows when they sent Glenn Maxwell in at No. 4 ahead of AB de Villiers, who eventually walked out to bat at No. 5.

IPL 2021, MI vs RCB: Report | Highlights

There was considerable pressure on Glenn Maxwell as he had a poor IPL in 2020, managing just 108 runs in 13 matches. However, the big-hitting all-rounder was at his dangerous best, hitting 2 sixes and 3 boundaries. Maxwell hit a 100-meter six that left Kohli in awe. In fact, it was Maxwell's first six in the IPL after 1079 runs as he had gone without a single six in the UAE last year.

Stressing that RCB is clear on giving Maxwell time to settle, especially on difficult batting pitches, Kohli said: "The thinking was that we wanted to give Maxi some balls at the start and not get him slogging right away. You saw the result today of him playing 10-15 balls. His innings was the game-changer.

"Had he stayed in we would've finished a couple of overs earlier," Kohli said.

Notably, RCB were in a spot of bother as they lost Virat Kohli (33) and Maxwell in quick succession after a 50-plus stand for the 3rd wicket.

Virat Kohli explains AB de Villiers' batting position

However, AB de Villiers came up with another of his exhilarating knocks, hitting 48 from just 27 balls to help RCB get past the finish line and win a season opener for the first time in the history of the IPL. De Villiers was calm and composed in the death overs as he took the attack to the likes of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah in the tense chase.

Virat Kohli pointed out that AB de Villiers's versatility and ability to accelerate even on the slow surfaces makes him a good contender to do the finishing role in tense chases. However, Kohli pointed out that the batting order will be flexible, according to different situations they face in the rest of the season.

"The opposition gets nervous about AB. We have depth in the batting which we want to utilise," Kohli said.

"AB is probably the only player who's so versatile and can do what he did on slow pitches today, so we have to understand. If there's a partnership on, you might see a totally different order. But in a tricky chase, you want some options in the back end, where the opposition thinks it's not over till he gets out.