'He said, 'incredible effort'. He was overwhelmed': Srikar Bharat reveals Kohli's words after his winning six against DC
- After Srikar Bharat sent RCB into euphoria with his match-winning six, Kohli clutched the 28-year-old in his arms and uttered something in the batsman's ears.
Royal Challengers Bangalore needed six runs off the final ball to win their last league stage game against Delhi Capitals. Wicketkeeper-batsman Kona Srikar Bharat had the strike and was up against the second-highest wicket-taker of the season – Avesh Khan. Nothing less than a six would have sufficed.
Amid all anticipations, Avesh comes full throttle and bowls a wide. One extra run to RCB and now they were one mighty shot away from a terrific victory. Batting on 72, Bharat got ready to face the final ball while the players in both dugouts almost had hearts in their mouths.
Avesh to Bharat – full toss ball, the batsman shuffles, clubs it high in the air after a proper connection and it was a six. Mission accomplished; RCB won the game by seven wickets and the world witnessed the rise of a new Indian T20 star. The Bangalore dugout couldn’t be happier. The celebration was nothing less than winning an IPL final. While Bharat roared in joy, his teammates raced among each other to hug him first.
For everybody else, it was a nerve-racking final over but the RCB No. 3 was as cool as ice because he was happy that Avesh had bowled a wide and now he could take the game home with one of his finest shots.
“When seven was required (off the final ball) I was thinking whether I can put the ball over the fence. And when it was a wide ball, it gave us an opportunity to score a six off the last ball. And fortunately, it went out of the park,” Bharat said while replying to a query by Hindustan Times in a virtual interaction facilitated by RCB.
Kohli clutched Bharat in his arms and uttered something in the batsman's ears. When asked what did he get to listen to from his captain, Bharat replied: “He [Virat] said, ‘incredible effort’. It’s definitely a special moment for you, so enjoy’. He was overwhelmed that it went for a six and we won the game.”
Bharat has earned a reputation of No. 3 batter in the RCB line-up and on Wednesday, he walked out early after opener Devdutt Padikkal was dismissed for a duck. Instead of getting a particular set of instructions from the captain, who was batting at the other end, he was asked to follow his instincts and play with a positive intent.
“When I joined Virat Bhai at the crease, he just told me to play with a positive intent. He believes that we have done enough work in the nets. So, if we are out in the center, we know what to do and how to go about it. So, he is very clear. He is like, ‘we will go with this intent and play positive and fearless cricket,” the 28-year-old said.
A renowned figure in the Indian domestic circuit, Bharat is hugely regarded as a red-ball giant, especially after his triple hundred in 2015, against Goa when he became the first wicketkeeper-batsman to do so. After three long years, he stamped his authority as one of the finest players in the shortest format with his 78 not out against Delhi Capitals on Friday night.
After making his IPL debut last month, Bharat has cemented his place in the RCB playing XI, being one of the players to feature in all seven games in the UAE leg. As the team gears up for an all-important knockout game on Monday, it will be interesting to watch Bharat plying his trade against Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah.