After slamming his seventh century in the IPL and second consecutive ton of the 2023 season in the must-win match for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Virat Kohli had said he feels like he’s playing at his best again in T20s.
In the do or die affair, Kohli unleashed a masterclass in carrying the bat through the innings in front of a hugely supportive home crowd through his unbeaten 101 off 61 balls.
“A lot of people feel my T20 cricket is declining, but I don’t feel like that at all. I feel I am playing my best again, enjoying myself, hitting gaps and big ones at the end. You have to rise to the occasion when the situation demands, and I take a lot of pride in doing, and I’ve been doing it a while now. I feel really good in my game right now,” said Kohli in a mid-innings chat with the broadcasters after taking Bangalore to a competitive 197/5.
After the ton, Kohli now has the most centuries by a batter in the cash-rich league as he also went past his former Bangalore team-mate Chris Gayle.
The run-machine mesmerised the spectators with his magical bottom-handed shots, controlled footwork and usage of wrists to hit 13 boundaries and a maximum at a strike-rate of 165.6, taking the side to a big total despite wickets falling around him, and went off the field to a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.
“We’d have taken that with both hands once we were five-down and Anuj the last recognised batsman. We pretty much pulled things back nicely towards the end. We targeted 190 when we lost five. But getting close to 200 is a very competitive score and a winnable score. It’s about the bowlers to execute their plans and have a crack at them. Teams have not been able to chase here in the recent past,” he added.
“Chat in the changing room was to stay in the present (when there’s rain around). I wasn’t focussed on the drizzle or the other game. Just focussed on what I needed to do for my team. We’re in a great position to defend this,” he added.
Despite Kohli’s ton, RCB lost the must-win game by six wickets as Gujarat Opener Shubhman Gill also slammed a ton to help his side end the home side’s hope of entering the playoffs.