Although he scored a fifty against Rajasthan Royals last weekend, Saturday’s innings against Chennai Super Kings is when the real Virat Kohli showed up. The Royal Challengers Bangalore wasn’t tied down and played his shots, top-scoring with an unbeaten 90 that paved the way for RCB’s 37-run win against CSK. It was a typical Kohli-esque knock that saw him run fiercely between the wickets and play the big shots. From 93/4, if RCB got to 169, it was primarily due to Kohli’s innings and his partnership of 76 runs with Shivam Dube.
After scores of 14, 1 and 3 in the first three games, Kohli struck a fifty against RR, followed by 43 against Delhi Capitals. And on Saturday, the RCB skipper returned to his elements. Explaining the reason behind his struggle in the first three matches, Kohli revealed that he felt he was putting too much pressure on himself and that is what stood in his way of him getting a good score.
“It’s about understanding the conditions and respecting the game, instead of trying to hit every ball into the second tier of the stadium,” Kohli said after the match. “Having played so much cricket, especially T20 cricket, I have learnt that if you are set at the death, you can capitalize. Before that, I was trying to do too much. If you think too much about responsibility, you get burdened. That Super Over where I had to strike, else we would have lost, freed me up. Training all these days also helped.”
The win was RCB’s fourth of the season, which took their points tally to 8 and position to fourth on the points table. Kohli, adjudged Player of the Match for his effort, called it the “most complete performance” by RCB and credited Chris Morris for picking up three wickets in his first IPL match of the season.
“It was one of our most complete performances. We got into a bit of a tricky position in the first half. From there on, we pushed forward. We spoke during the second timeout that 140-150 would be good. Ended up getting more than that. It was a tricky pitch. Really pleased to get two points. We have back-to-back games coming up, so important to build momentum,” Kohli said.
“Morris has been really good, gun on the field and three wickets on debut. With him and Gurkeerat, the batting also gets deep. When you get momentum in this format, it can be the difference between finishing at the top or at the bottom.”