Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Saturday (May 21) qualified for the IPL 2022 playoffs after Mumbai Indians (MI) knocked Delhi Capitals (DC) out of the tournament.
The Delhi-based franchise was on 14 points and had a better net run rate than RCB. A win against the five-time champions would have meant curtains for the Faf du Plessis-led side.
However, MI came to RCB’s rescue, defeating DC by five wickets in a thrilling encounter at the Wankhede Stadium.
After MI’s victory, RCB’s dressing room erupted in celebration. They will now take on Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Eliminator on May 25 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Ahead of the big game, RCB pacer Mohammed Siraj spoke to TOI and expressed confidence that his team will emerge victorious against LSG.
“We are very happy that we entered the playoffs. All of us cheered for Mumbai Indians (vs DC in the last league stage match). Our captain Faf and Virat bhaiya talked to the team and encouraged us ahead of the Eliminator (vs LSG). Virat bhaiya has put in a lot of hard work in his career. He and Faf are giving pep talks to the team. He (Virat) said hard work is the only key to success,” he said.
Siraj feels RCB will seal their maiden IPL title this time around. Notably, RCB have qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive year while they have played three IPL finals but failed to lift the coveted trophy.
“I am sure RCB will do well and will win the title. We have entered the final thrice. But I am sure we will win the title soon. And that time has come. This is an important stage of the tournament and we are ready to perform. I haven’t had a good season (8 wickets in 13 games). I am just motivating myself and want to do well in the playoffs,” Siraj further said.
Virat Kohli put on a show with the bat in RCB’s last league match against Gujarat Titans (GT) last Thursday (May 19).
In what was a must-win encounter for Bangalore, Kohli stood tall for his side and smashed a classy 73 off 54 balls while chasing GT’s target of 169. Coming into the match, the former RCB skipper was under serious pressure as he had miserable outings in the tournament. But when it mattered the most, he made his presence felt and helped his side win the game by eight wickets.
According to Siraj, however, a batter like Kohli can never be out of form.
“A batsman like Virat bhaiya is never out of form. He always puts the team first and tries to score as many runs and win the match for the team. He (Virat) always tells all the youngsters – put the country first, play for your team and country,” Siraj stated.
“He (Virat) always backed me. I didn’t perform well for RCB initially and despite that he retained me in the team,” he concluded.
(With TOI inputs)