IPL 2024: RCB’s Virat Kohli proves a point ahead of T20 WC | Cricket News

BENGALURU: Over the years, Virat Kohli has followed a familiar template in the shorter format. The RCB star accelerates gradually after having spent some time in the middle. But on Monday night against Punjab Kings, one witnessed Kohli take an aggressive route from the outset while scoring a match-winning 49-ball 77 at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
The way Kohli paced his innings in a dominating fashion stood out as much as the manner in which he smashed the Punjab bowlers on both sides of the wicket.
In a post-match interview, Kohli had a clear message for his detractors: “I know my name is quite attached to just promoting the game in many parts of the world when it comes to T20 cricket. But, I’ve still got it, I guess.”
Kohli slammed five fours in the first eight balls he faced, something unheard of in his approach early on. His willingness to take advantage of the field restriction was evident when he came down the track to pacers — including speedster Kagiso Rabada with intent, carting them over extra cover. The 35-year-old, who scored 21 runs at a strike rate of 105 in the opener against CSK, did not mind taking the aerial route against the new ball.
Even after the Powerplay, his strike rates did not dip. After the field began to open up, Kohli scored 42 runs off 28 balls, including three fours and two sixes. It was significant considering wickets fell around him during the period, but his approach did not change much. Also, these runs came when slow left-arm bowler from Punjab Harpreet Brar (4-0-13-2) was applying the brakes with his economical bowling.
With the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies to follow immediately after the IPL, the 17th edition of IPL provides Kohli an opportunity to showcase his ability to play in fifth gear throughout. His recent knock also suggests that he is willing to fit into young India’s attacking brand of cricket in the T20 circuit. But the challenge lies in scoring at a higher strike rate consistently.
RCB skipper Faf Du Plessis said: “Virat was important in the way he tempered his innings. It was not a normal Chinnaswamy pitch, where you could just hit through the line. Good to see him, he’s always smiling and enjoying himself. Still very passionate about playing cricket. Obviously he had a nice break now which is very important. He’s still enjoying himself, very passionate about playing cricket. I feel he is very fresh and motivated to do well.”


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