After the exit of all-rounder Chris Morris during IPL Player Auction – it was a big task for Royal Challengers Bangalore team management to not only fill the big boots of Protea but also find an able replacement to plug their death bowling loopholes. That’s when Harshal Patel stepped in and aced the role with his skill. The 30-year-old picked up his first-ever five-for to restrict Mumbai Indians to a below-par total of 159 for nine in the IPL opener in Chennai on Friday.

Harshal returned with figures of 5/27 in his four overs and also scored an all-important winning single off the last delivery to help Royal Challengers Bangalore clinch the last-ball thriller versus Mumbai Indians. The all-rounder was named the ‘Player Man of the Match’ for his brilliant performance. RCB skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for Patel’s match-winning bowling performance, terming him their designated death bowler in this edition of the IPL.

Harshal’s 5 for 27 was the reason RCB were able to restrict MI to an under-par score, which is something that even losing captain Rohit Shama admitted.

“We brought Harshal in a trade from Delhi. He is relishing the responsibility and is clear with his plans. He was the difference today. He is going to be our death bowler. As a captain you want players with clarity, and he has that,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.

Harshal claimed the wickets of Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya and Marco Jansen to scalp his first fifer in IPL.

About AB de Villiers’ 48 off 27 balls, Kohli said that the South African still intimidates the opposition.

“The opposition gets nervous about AB. We have depth in the batting which we want to utilize. AB is probably the only one in the team who is so versatile. And he does it on slow wickets what not many can do.”

MI captain Rohit wouldn’t mind losing another opening game as long as his team goes on to win the tournament, but admitted that they were 20 runs short.

“Winning the championship is important, I guess, not the first game. It was a great fight and we didn’t let it go easily. Although the score wasn’t something we were happy with. We were 20 short,” Rohit said after his team’s ninth opening-round loss.