RCB needed to win back-to-back games to enter the IPL 2023 playoffs. What does Virat Kohli do: he hammers consecutive centuries, against strong bowling attacks of SRH and GT, to keep his side alive in the playoff race.
When the demands were the biggest, when the pressure to qualify was the highest, it was Virat Kohli, the greatest, who stood up to deliver when others around him faltered a bit.
Among the many records he created today at the M. Chinnaswamy, one that has shone through is that with 7 IPL centuries, Kohli has the most number of IPL hundreds, going past Chris Gayle’s tally of 6 IPL tons.
Kohli and Faf du Plessis got RCB off to a flyer with a stand of 62 runs in the powerplay. After that, though, RCB lost its way and slipped to 85/3 with Faf, Maxwell, and Lomror dismissed. Michael Bracewell and Dinesh Karthik too were gone by the 15th over.
So, with only Anuj Rawat left among the specialist batters, it was left to Virat to remain till the end and take RCB to a fighting total on this flat pitch in Bangalore.
Virat Kohli remained unbeaten on 101 off 61 balls, scoring with the help of 13 fours and 1 six and led RCB to the total of 197. A total they must defend to enter the playoffs or they will be knocked out.
Among the millions of wishes that came in on social media, one special tweet came from Kohli’s friend and former teammate, AB de Villiers.
The South African hailed the ability and tenacity of Virat to step up in back-to-back games, to stand up and deliver when it demanded the most, not just today, but throughout his career.
“Virat is there when we need him!” AB de Villiers tweeted.
Here, check out AB de Villiers’ special tweet hailing Virat Kohli:
Virat is there when we need him!
— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) May 21, 2023
Speaking at the mid-innings break, Virat Kohli gave a mouth-shutting reply to those who have raised reservations around Kohli’s strike rate in T20 cricket.
He said: “Lot of people think that my T20 cricket is declining, I don’t think so. I look to hit gaps and then the big ones towards the end. You have to read situations and rise up to the situations. I feel really good with my game at the moment.”
About the total, he added: “We would have taken that with both hands once we were five wickets down. We pretty much pulled things back towards the end. Close to 200 is a winnable score for me. It’s upon the bowlers to execute. I felt great.
“Spin wasn’t easy to get away. There’s enough on this pitch for our bowlers. What matters is to stay in the present. I wasn’t focusing on the rain, focused on what I need to do for the team.”