The Royal Challengers Bangalore won their third match of the season when they beat Punjab Kings by 24 runs in their Indian Premier League match at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Thursday. Led by former India captain Virat Kohli for the first time this season, RCB put up a total of 174/4 and then bowled out the hosts for 150 in the 19th over.

The win, in their sixth match this season, keeps RCB in fifth place – a playoff spot – but Kohli was adamant that it’s too early to think of the position in the league table.

“This (win) doesn’t make us an invincible team, nor did the results or the position we were in the table before this match make us a bad team,” said the 34-year-old, who scored 59 off 47, during the post-match presentation.

“This is something that you can’t start focusing on because the table can’t define your mood, especially if you’ve just played five or six games. It’s towards game 12-13 that we look at where we are and what we need to do.

“For now we just need to maintain our processes, stay in the moment, and try to execute our plans – which I think we did very well today. We assessed the conditions very well. In the first half the conditions changed drastically. It wasn’t easy to hit the big ones but Faf (du Plessis) batted outstandingly well on that pitch. It wasn’t easy to get the ball away, so we knew that the new guys would find it tougher. So we knew that me and Faf (needed to) extend the partnership for as long as possible and it will eventually give us 20-30 (runs) more which eventually happened in the end.”

Kohli and du Plessis (84 off 56) opened the batting for RCB and put up a 137-run partnership for the first wicket. But the weather conditions in Mohali made batting difficult, prompting the RCB duo to change tactics.

“I felt that (conditions were difficult) after over 7-8, as soon as the ball was getting bashed into the square. Even from the pitch, the pitch was very rough. The grass was holding the pitch underneath, it wasn’t a very shiny pitch, so there wasn’t enough water there. If there was water there the ball would skidding on – it didn’t skid. There were hardly any sixes off the back foot off the spinners, so that tells you the story. Even the seamers, the slower balls were difficult to get away,” Kohli said.

“Around over 7-8 when the ball started to get scuffed up, that’s when we realised the conditions had changed. So we changed our strategy to bat deeper and try and maximise in the last few overs. It didn’t happen because both got out within the span of three overs. But if it did maybe we could have got to 190 or 200. But after over 8, 175 was a good enough score on this pitch.”

Nonetheless, the RCB unit came out firing in the second innings, reducing the Kings to 43/4 in the sixth over. Prabhsimran Singh’s 46 off 30 and Jitesh Sharma’s 41 off 27 were the only two competitive scores from the PBKS batting line-up. Central to RCB’s success with the ball was Mohammed Siraj’s 4 for 21 in four overs.

Yet Kohli asserted that the entire team had a solid mindset when coming in to field.

“I told them (defending 175) is more than enough. Looking at the conditions, all we need to do is hold the ball in hand and be confident that we can do the job. That was the discussion we had in the second time out as well. Keep your chest out and heads high, hold the ball in hand and say ‘I’m going to get wickets here, I’m not looking to save runs or bowl dot balls,’” he said.

“When you have seven wickets down, you have to try and get them all out as soon as possible. You can’t afford to take the game so deep that you win by 4 runs in the last over. 25 runs still gives us a good margin to boost our run rate. I said, ‘look at the situation in a positive way, and want the ball in your hand.’

“That’s the most important thing when the situation is a bit tricky. Now we understand that with the impact player the batting line-ups are deeper, but the bowlers also have another option but we have to be confident with the ball in hand. That’s exactly what we spoke about.”

The atmosphere in the RCB camp was upbeat, particularly in the second innings. And the team followed an aggressive mindset – a trademark of Kohli’s leadership.

“Set the intensity in the first few overs, take the game to the opposition. We’ve been amazing as a powerplay bowling side and fielding side, so we continued with those plans today as well - four wickets in the powerplay,” he added.

“I think you kind of break the game open right there, and then our fielding was outstanding as well. We just need to be present out there and look for everything as an opportunity and look to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Not hold back, not be timid. As long as we do that, we have enough talent in the side.”

RCB’s next assignment will be at home to the Rajasthan Royals in the early match on Sunday.