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IPL 2024: Kohli gives a timely knock proving critics wrong!

IPL 2024: Kohli gives a timely knock proving critics wrong!

IPL 2024: Concerns have been raised about his short-format style of play, whether he should be included in a World Cup-sized competition with that kind of style, and whether India, a team that has been chasing a global championship for more than ten years, could afford to rely on a selection strategy that appears to have failed year after year, at least in terms of winning the trophy.

At least two of those worries were allayed on March 25th against Punjab Kings in front of a boisterous, full house at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium when Virat Kohli’s elegant 49-ball 77 turned the tide of the Royal Challengers Bengaluru chase and helped them begin their 2024 campaign.

It was definitely not a random knock. On the second ball of the RCB’s chase, Kohli was given a reprieve when he edged a delivery of widish length from Sam Curran, only for it to explode past the hands of first slip Jonny Bairstow.

After his debut delivery, a thick edge failed to reach the guy at short third, Kohli was enjoying the rub of the green for the second time in two balls. While the first one did not result in any runs for him, the second one made matters worse for the Kings by allowing the ball to trickle to the third fence, which allowed him to score a boundary.

Virat Kohli during IPL 2024:

IPL 2024: Kohli gives a timely knock proving critics wrong!
Photo Source: Twitter

At the beginning of an inning, every batter is susceptible, and sometimes all it takes to get going is a little bit of luck. That’s exactly what the first two balls did for Kohli. In order to complete a hat-trick of fours, he stormed down and drove the following one on the up through the covers for four.

He then selected another, assisting one fine as Curran wandered on his pads. After a dot ball, Kohli forced a half-volley from Curran with an extravagant extra cover drive, bringing the opening over score to 16 runs. With intent? Check. Vigour? Check.

Few things are more beautiful to see than a Kohli cover drive, and even fewer when he unleashes one against a player of Kagiso Rabada’s calibre. He has become well-known for this shot, which also contributes significantly to the numerous runs he scores on a daily basis. It didn’t really matter what kind of touch he was in because the bowler he was facing had already got his number three times in 24 deliveries in the competition prior to their meeting on Monday.

Rabada attempted to test Kohli with an in-between length, but instead of slowing down, Kohli sashayed down the track to hit another on-the-up extra-cover drive, sending the ball faster to the fence than he was able to catch it.

Virart’s performance:

IPL 2024: Kohli gives a timely knock proving critics wrong!
Photo Source: Twitter

Kohli’s run-scoring is mainly based on manoeuvring fields, finding gaps that most people can’t even see, much less pierce with a round, leather item, and turning one-ball into twos and two-balls into threes with his unmatched sprinting between the wickets. This is especially true when he is new to the crease. He only finds the boundaries as they come early in the innings.

That template might not be the most effective on most days in the T20 format, as cricket’s I and M words (read: purpose and momentum) are injected into every sentence of the discourse. As a result, a change in the guard was required to survive in the always evolving structure.

Despite his aggressive boundary-scoring displays against the Punjab Kings, he did not deviate from his usual batting style. Kohli just ran and ran. The most striking feature of his 49-ball innings, though, was still his tendency to drive straight at the pacers and hit them over the boundary.

He did not make an exception for his countryman Arshdeep Singh, who he easily dismissed with powerful blows through extra cover and the midwicket area. He did take chances, but they were more like premeditated aggression than careless exploration.

By the end of the powerplay, Kohli had hit eight of his eleven fours in as many overs in the first four overs, and he had scored 35 off 21 at a strike rate above 160. This came after he had stormed to 33 off 15 before facing a calm sixth over from Curran. He achieved his remarkable 100th fifty-plus score in Twenty20 T20s, surpassing only Chris Gayle’s (110) and David Warner’s (109) record with his half-century off 31 balls.

Virat Kohli gets candid during IPL 2024:

The fact that the innings began on a Bengaluru surface that is unusually tacky gives one even more faith in Kohli’s adaptability. In a mid-RCB innings interview with the broadcaster, Sanjay Bangar, head of cricket development at Punjab Kings and former head coach of the Indian cricket team, expressed surprise at the touch of green left on the surface, while Shikhar Dhawan conceded that the pitch plays true just 70% of the time. It was described as a “two-paced” surface by Kohli. That was all in vain, though.

Kohli said after receiving the Player of the Match award, “Well, you really need to [continue expanding your skill set]. I aim to get the squad off to a fast start, but you have to make an assessment if wickets fall. The pitch wasn’t as flat as normal. People will not let me hit gaps because they know I can play the cover drive quite well, and he’s taller than people like KG [Kagiso Rabada] and Arshdeep Singh.”

He further added, “You have to impart some momentum to the ball if they are hitting it long. Additionally, the bounce that will occur is kind of eliminated as you get closer to the ball. You have already met it. I mean, you have to come up with a game plan here and there and try to keep improving your game.”

Conclusion:

It wasn’t only about the highs during the innings. The necessity to hold an end-up was created by Harpreet Brar’s enforced middle-over slowness, which is second nature to Kohli. The loss of Faf du Plessis and Cameron Green during the powerplay did not stop him, but with the field dispersed and Brar’s four overs without a boundary taking out Glenn Maxwell and Rajat Patidar in quick succession, Kohli could not have solely been attacking. He therefore made sure to alternate strikes with Anuj Rawat, who toiled to a 14-ball 11 while finding it difficult to gain any pace.

On Harshal Patel, his former RCB teammate, Kohli was harsh. In the 16th over, he picked him once more to break the chains after pulling him over deep square for a six and four through mid-off in the previous over. But on the penultimate delivery of that over, Kohli cut him to Brar at deep backward point, giving the pacer the last laugh. Even though RCB was still 47 runs behind the objective at the moment, Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik worked together to prevent any disaster.

“As I am opening here in T20 cricket, I aim to give the team a flying start. But you also need to know the circumstances if the wickets fall from the opposite end. It wasn’t the most serene wicket that Bangalore is used to. The speed seemed a little off. And I believed that I had to play accurate cricket shots. I tried a couple of times to play across the line, but it was not quite working,” remarked Kohli.

He further stated, “I was very disappointed I could not finish the game; that ball was in the slot. Well, it’s not a bad start considering that I played two months later and qualified for the tournament.”

Kohli also made a lighthearted comment about his doubters. He said, “I am aware that my name is currently associated with only promoting T20 cricket around the globe. I suppose I still have it, though.”

So, this was all about Virat Kohli’s exceptional performance during IPL 2024. Also read, IPL 2024: Jio Cinema Gains 51% Growth in opening day TRP

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