Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore came up short against Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore came up short against Royal Challengers Bangalore Image Credit: IPL

Virat Kohli’s dry run in the Indian Premier League continued for the ninth year in a row as the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain when his team were beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Kohli has been playing for RCB since the inception of IPL in 2008 and was appointed as skipper in 2013, replacing Daniel Vettori of New Zealand. Before his stint as captain, RCB had twice made it to the final of the IPL, once in 2009 when they lost to Adam Gilchrist’s Deccan Chargers and in 2011 where they were soundly beaten by Chennai Super Kings.

When Kohli was appointed as captain, a lot was expected by the fans that he would be the man to lead RCB to the title, but the only time they made it to the final under his captaincy was in 2016, when they were pipped by David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad in a high-scoring clash in Mumbai. In that season, Kohli scored 973 runs at a stunning strike rate of 151 with four hundreds and seven fifties but it was still not enough for him to take his favourite franchise over the line.

Kohli has scored 6,287 runs in 207 IPL matches, which is more than any other player in the history of IPL, but sadly he does not have that precious silverware to his name.

Why is that time and again, year after year Virat Kohli could not win an IPL title for RCB? Let’s talk about this year. In a crucial match against Sunrisers Hyderabad who were the bottom-placed team and RCB were chasing just 141, the think tank decided to send Daniel Christian ahead of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers and to everyone’s surprise, De Villiers was sent at No. 6.

He got to face just 13 balls out of the 31 balls left in that game and RCB fell short by four runs, which cost them crucial two points which would have taken them ahead of Chennai Supper Kings to the top of the table and given them two opportunities to reach the final.

On Monday, too, they were off to a great start in Sharjah and were cruising at 88-2 and were well placed to score around 150-plus, when Kohli got bowled playing across the line to Sunil Narine. The point that I want to bring to the notice of the readers that the Sharjah pitch was difficult to bat on after the power play overs and new players found it difficult to go big from ball one and a set batsman could rotate strike. Kohli has been the master of this which would have taken his side to a par score. More importantly: why would you keep your most expensive player in Kyle Jamieson in the dugout? He has good height and would have made life miserable for the opponents, especially Sunil Narine who played a cameo to turn the tide in KKR’s favour with his pace and bounce.

Why would you play a bits-and-pieces player in Christian, who in the tournament had not done anything special?

In the past, it’s the bowling that had let RCB down, but this time around they looked a complete unit. However sadly they did not utilise the right players at the right time. Shabaz Ahmed who was picked as a specialist spinner did not bowl a single over just because the opposition had left-handers, whereas KKR bowled 12 overs of spin for just 65 runs.

There must be a reason why Rohit Sharma has won the IPL five times, MS Dhoni has won it three times and Gautam Gambhir twice as you can win one time in a fluke but not more than once. Kohli is India’s best batsman but there is a common saying that “good players don’t make good captains” and I am afraid Kohli is one captain who falls in this category — especially in the shortest format.