Talented allrounder Kanika Ahuja said it was a discussion with India batting great Virat Kohli which fired her up as she blasted a rapid 46 to help Royal Challengers Bangalore finally end their losing streak in the Women’s Premier League in Mumbai. The 20-year-old from Punjab smashed 46 off 30 balls, the highest score by an uncapped player in the WPL so far, as RCB chased down a tricky 136 to secure a five-wicket win against UP Warriorz on Wednesday. “Virat sir told us there is nothing about pressure here, it is all about the pleasure,” Ahuja told media during the first press conference of her career. Kohli did not attend Indian team’s optional training session on Wednesday and instead met the RCB’s squad which is competing in the WPL in Mumbai.
“He told us to not put ourselves in pressure when we are out there in the middle. He said it is a matter of pleasure that we are getting to play here, not everyone gets the similar opportunity,” said Ahuja, who wants to bat 360 degrees like Suryakumar Yadav. RCB had a nightmare start to the inaugural edition of the WPL as they lost five matches on the trot. As a captain of the RCB men’s team, Kohli too has seen many ups and downs, including the bottom finishes in the 2017 and 2019 seasons.
“I’ve been playing IPL for 15 years. And I haven’t won it yet. But that doesn’t stop me from being excited every year. That’s all I can do. That’s the effort I can put into every game and every tournament that I play,” Kohli said during his pep talk, a video of which was posted by RCB on Twitter.
“If we win, great. If we don’t, then I am not going to go to my grave thinking that if only I had won an IPL, I would be a happy man. It doesn’t happen like that. So always think about the opportunity that you have rather than how bad it is right now.” “There is always a flip side to it, and it could always be worse than this. And the fact that we haven’t won the IPL, but I still feel that we have the best fans in the world.” “Only because we were always committed to every game that we played for RCB. That has been the most special thing for our fans. There’s no guarantee of giving you a cup every year, but there’s a guarantee of giving your 110% every year, and that’s all you can strive to do.”
The RCB side were left in familiar doldrums when they were reduced to 60 for four, with top players — Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry — all back to the pavillion. Ahuja then took charge of the proceedings and hammered eight fours and a six during her knock, adding 60 runs for the fifth wicket with Richa Ghosh (31) to help her side record their first win in six matches. “The thing I had in my mind was that come whatever may, we have to win. The target was also low, hence there was time for us to take our time and play accordingly. We waited for loose balls to capitalise,” she said.