“I have started eating less to stay hungry for runs,” Virat Kohli quipped at a post-match presentation ceremony after he smashed his second IPL 2016 hundred, an unbeaten 108 against the Rising Pune Supergiants. It wasn’t the first.
Earlier in the league, Kohli, batting on 92, hit Dwayne Bravo for consecutive boundaries on the last two deliveries of the 20th over against Gujarat Lions to brings up his maiden hundred in the shortest format. The first was a full toss which was severely dealt with and the second was another Kohli carve which pierced the field on the off-side. The ball trickled over the ropes, Kohli took off the helmet, raised his arms with plenty of relief glittering in his eyes. The ton turned out to be in a losing cause but was one to watch over and over again.
Virat’s 2016 with the bat, in the shortest format, has left plenty gasping for breath and marvelling at the sheer brilliance of the right-hander’s ability to score runs, on a very consistent basis.
Kohli’s dream run commenced Down Under, when he accumulated scores of 90*, 59* and 50 in the three-match T20I series against Australia. The series was very crucial for both the Delhi dasher and Men in Blue. They commenced their road to ICC World T20 in Adelaide and have been in good touch since then. India did hit a roadblock when they crashed out of the tournament in the Wankhede semi-final, but Kohli has been unstoppable.
India’s Test captain has scored 625 runs in the calendar year so far, and they have come in as little as 13 games. At an average of 125, yes 125 in a 20-over game. Kohli’s 2016 run, only in the fifth month of the year, has taken him to top of the overall batting charts (runs scored in a calendar year) in the shortest format. Second to him is New Zealand’s Martin Guptill who scored 472 runs in 13 innings, in 2012.
If this year is taken into account, Kohli is 162 runs ahead of Bangladesh’s Sabbir Rahman — second in the 2016 table with 463 runs from 16 innings.
The only hazard of a purple patch is the fact that it doesn’t last forever and more often than not is followed by a lean one. But for Kohli, the only drive has been the one on the ascendancy curve. After the man of the series run in the World T20, the right-hander followed it up with an equally good IPL.
In the ongoing ninth edition, he, single-handedly, has managed to win games for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the nine games he has played, the 27-year-old sits on top of the batting charts with 561 runs, including four fifties and two hundreds.
One wonders whether he operates with the cheat codes on or is playing stick cricket in the middle…
Effortlessly he bisects the field on both sides of the wicket, always has the extra second to get underneath a good delivery or pick the ones which others would have been left struggling with. For Kohli, it’s not purely about power-hitting. Yes, it does play a role but there is more of method than madness.
It’s more about the ones and twos and the boundaries. The sixes come in the package but it’s more dominated by the former. In the format where most have found it difficult to adjust with the pace of the game, Kohli has all the time in the world to get his eye in and construct the innings before switching to demolition mode.
Kohli remains determined to push the struggling RCB into the playoffs. The hungry right-hander’s ever-growing greed for runs leaves us with a sumptuous meal to feast on – many Kohli specials.