Needed to strengthen middle order in coming IPL seasons: Kohli

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Jaipur, May 19 (IANS) A dejected Virat Kohli vowed to come back with a stronger middle order in the next Indian Premier League (IPL) season after his Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) was shown the door from the ongoing edition with a 30-run loss to Rajasthan Royals here on Saturday.

Bangalore’s 12 points from 14 games wasn’t enough to propel them to the next stage of the league as the Kohli-led side fell like a pack of cards while chasing a modest 165-run target handed by Rajasthan.

At one stage, Bangalore were looking comfortable at 74/1 but later went on to lose their remaining nine wickets for just 59 runs, thanks to Shreyas Gopal, who shattered the visitor’s top and middle order with impressive figures of 4/16.

In the post-match presentation, Kohli emphasised on the need to strengthen the middle order that failed to contribute on most of the occasions this season.

“We wanted to strengthen the middle-order which hasn’t happened, it hasn’t been our strength and we need to do that going into the next few seasons,” Kohli said.

“We need to be smarter with composing our team. The responsibility cannot be taken up only by AB all the time. He certainly scored runs, but others need to contribute around him,” the 29-year-old added.

However, the Bangalore skipper praised some of his players saying: “There were some new players who did well. Umesh bowled extremely well with the new ball, Chahal was great, Siraj and Moeen contributed too, so plenty of positives to take into the next season.”

On the other hand, RR skipper Ajinkya Rahane credited his bowlers for the win which kept them alive in the league.

Despite the win lifting Rajasthan to the fourth spot, Rahane and company will have to wait till the outcome of the remaining three games of the league stage.

“Though RCB had a very good batting line up, credit goes to our bowlers. Under pressure, the two leggies did really well. Getting wickets in the middle overs was never easy,” Rahane said after the match.

“This evening was very special. It was more about focusssing on the things that we could control. Klaasen’s innings was really good and Rahul’s innings at the top was magnificent. It is important to enjoy this win and stay calm,” he concluded.



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