Viart Kohli praises Moeen Ali, calls him game changer

Dubai: Virat Kohli heaped praises on his Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) teammate Moeen Ali, calling him the one who “changed the game,” after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Eden Garden.

Although Kohli registered his fifth T20 hundred, it was Ali who showcased his abilities with both bat and ball to clinch Bangalore’s second win from nine games on Friday evening.

Ali smashed 66 runs off just 28 balls, charging RCB at a time when Kohli appeared scratchy. The English all-rounder especially punished KKR spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who conceded 27 runs before dismissing Ali in the same over.

“The length balls were difficult to get away. But the way Mo (Moeen Ali) came in and batted it took the momentum from them and put it back in our lap. He changed the game completely and that allowed me to play through,” ICC quoted Kohli, as saying.

“(When he came on) he said, ‘I’m going to go now’ and I just said go for it. He targetted the small boundary, he was smart about where he hit the sixes, he changed the game completely in those overs,” Kohli said.

The venue, Eden Gardens holds an unpleasant memory for England as West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite snatched the ICC World T20 2016 trophy from England with his four sixes off Ben Stokes’ last over. During the match against KKR, Ali was reminded of all those memories as Kohli handed the ball to Ali in the final over.

Ali faced big-hitter Andre Russell, who was in punishing form and KKR needed 24 runs in the over to chase down 214.

The English player maintained his cool, playing a crucial role in having Russell run out and just conceded 13 runs to take Bangalore over the line.

“This particular ground, World Cup final, Ben Stokes – it’s exactly what I was thinking. I’ve given him (Stokes) a lot of stick for that. It did cross my mind. I thought, I’d better get this right or he’s going to give it to me back!” Ali said.