Virat Kohli had a quiet start to IPL 2019 and it was feared that the Indian cricket team and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper was in the midst of a lean patch at a wrong time. However, Kohli showed that form is temporary and class is permanent. In the next three games, he hammered two fifties but in the game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Friday, Kohli showed that he is the epitome of brilliance as he blasted his fifth IPL century and helped Royal Challengers Bangalore register a 10-run win against Kolkata Knight Riders despite a blitz from Nitish Rana and Andre Russell.
Kohli’s century came off 58 balls and he was brilliantly supported by Moeen Ali, who blasted 66 off 28 balls as Royal Challengers Bangalore reached 213/4. In response, Rana’s blazing 85 off 46 balls and yet another freakish display from Russell, who hit 65 off 25 balls and it included nine sixes, could not help Kolkata Knight Riders pull off yet another miraculous escape as they fell short by 10 runs. However, the day belonged to Kohli whose knock ensured that Royal Challengers Bangalore still stayed in the hunt mathematically for the playoffs.
Speaking about the knock, Kohli said he had to bat through in the absence of AB de Villiers and said Moeen’s knock changed the entire game. “It was difficult to put away the length balls away. Moeen changed the game completely and that allowed me to play my game. Moeen said I am going to go now and I asked him to go for it. He targeted the small boundaries and changed the game in those few overs. It was important to bat along when AB is not here, as a senior player. AB was disappointed for not making it for the game tonight and I told him that I'll give him a hug if we win tonight,” Kohli said.
The knock by Kohli broke several records. He is now two centuries away from breaking Chris Gayle’s tally of six IPL tons. Kohli had smashed four centuries in the 2016 edition of the tournament where he blasted 973 runs. With his fifth century, Kohli is now clearly in the lead when it comes to leading run-getters in the IPL, managing 5326 runs as compared to Suresh Raina’s tally of 5192 runs. However, Kohli’s average of 38 stands him out.
Among Indian players, he has the most Twenty20 runs with 8283 runs, 67 runs ahead of Raina. The other Indian player who has over 8000 runs in Twenty20 cricket is Rohit Sharma, who achieved the feat during Mumbai Indians’ win over Delhi Capitals at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Royal Challengers Bangalore now face Chennai Super Kings in their next league game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.