A few days ago, Glenn Maxwell showered praise on KS Bharat and called him a proper top order batsman.
The wicketkeeper batsman has been playing a perfect No 3 role for the likes of AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) side. In fact, he has gone on to say that his role is to provide a stable base as a No 3 batsman, for finishers like Glenn Maxwell.
On Friday, the RCB’s No 3 not only provided the platform for Maxwell but also went on to finish the game with a last-ball six, which helped RCB to register a seven-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in a thrilling finish.
Bharat smashed an unbeaten 78 off 52 balls while Glenn Maxwell blazed away to 51 in 33 deliveries as RCB chased down a target of 165 with the former’s heroics.
Needing 15 to win from the final over, Maxwell started it with a boundary but pacer Avesh Khan came back with a couple of excellent deliveries, including a yorker.
However, Bharat had the last laugh as he smoked Khan’s full toss over long-on for a six to seal the game in his team’s favour.
“We and Maxi (Maxwell) were talking about, what are the areas we can target. He said just watch the ball and put your bat on it. That’s exactly what i tried to do,” Bharat told reporters after the match.
“In the last 3 balls, I asked Maxwell should we take a single, he said no go ahead, you can finish it off. It gave me a lot of confidence. I was focusing on just one ball rather than thinking about too many things. I kept it simple, luckily, pulled it off for my team,” he added.
The match-winning 111-run fourth-wicket partnership between Bharat and Maxwell gave RCB a rather unexpected win over Delhi Capitals, who finished on top of the league standings despite the loss in the final game.
Bharat also put on a crucial 49-run partnership with Ab de Villiers for the third wicket, when RCB were reeling at 6 for 2.
AB de Villiers (26) threatened briefly, hitting two fours and a huge six off Ashwin, before pulling Axar Patel straight to Shreyas Iyer in the deep.
“Communication in the centre with AB was pretty simple. He told me to just watch the ball and play accordingly. We were just thinking of building a partnership which will give a good platform for the guys coming up next,” said Bharat.
Wicketkeeper Bharat, who has been pushed up and down the order by the RCB think-tank, underlined his value with this knock, often displaying his big-hitting abilities too.
A maiden IPL half-century for Bharat ahead of the play-offs would probably be a good sign for the Bangalore team, which has tried several batters at the crucial No 3 spot.
The feisty wicketkeeper-batsman was even hit on the helmet by Kagiso Rabada and was tested with pace and bounce by Anrich Nortje. On playing two of the quickest bowlers in the tournament, Bharat said it wasn’t a surprising element as he relishes facing the pacers.
“Playing pace wasn’t a surprising element. I have played enough cricket for India A, and I am also part of the Team India’s set-up, where we have to face the best bowlers of our country in the nets.
“I love the ball coming to the bat, it gives me a chance to use the pace and place it, instead of trying to hit it hard. It was really exciting to face Rabada and Nortje,” he said.
The Virat Kohli-led RCB will finish third in the standings with 18 points and take on Kolkata Knight Riders (fourth place) in the Eliminator on Monday.