Eight times before today,Virat Kohli had scored a fifty in the Indian Premier League but never really looked like getting that elusive three-figure mark. Leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday and playing against the Sunrisers Hyderabad,in what was built up as the revenge match due to their Super Over defeat on Sunday,Kohli came closer than ever before,with a devastating innings of 93. Unbeaten,from just 47 balls.
Unfortunately for Kohli and his supporters at the Chinnaswamy Stadium,it came during a chase and the target set by the visitors ran out. The target itself was a stiff one — 162 needed from 120 balls. But Kohlis rage ensured that it was wrapped up two balls before the nineteenth over of the second innings began.
Chaotic it sure was,but right from the time Kohli punched Thisara Perera (the hero with the bat from the first innings) for a sizzling boundary off the first ball he faced to the time he square-cut his India and Ranji team-mate Ishant Sharma for a four to finish things,the RCB skipper did not play one false shot. It was a display of controlled aggression at its very best.
Kohli walked in with the score on 39/1,at the fall of the big-hitting Chris Gayle,always a loss in such a chase. But Bangalore didnt miss the Jamaicans services on Tuesday. In fact,even the presence of Ab de Villiers — batting for the first time this season,at the other end with Kohli — was hardly noticed. They added 49 for the third wicket,in just less than six overs together. Then at de Villiers departure,Kohli found another able ally in Moises Henriques,who scored just seven runs in an unbeaten 65-run stand.
RCB of course made run-scoring look a whole lot easier than their counterparts,the Sunrisers. Having chosen to bat on the hard Chinnaswamy wicket,SRH barely managed six runs an over for the first half of the game. Then captain Kumar Sangakkara (23 from 24 balls) got out in the 11th and Perera and Cameron White,the two all-rounders in the side,stepped things up.
Perera scored 40 and White scored 52. Kohli,on the other hand,scored one run more than the two put together.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 161 for 6 in 20 overs (C White 52 off 34,T Perera 40 off 24,RP Singh 3/27) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162 for three in 17.4 overs (V Kohli 93* off 47,I Sharma 1/30)