Abu Dhabi: Cricket, at times, can be cruel and unrewarding even for the most piping hot batsman in world cricket — Virat Kohli.
While the India skipper continues to amaze with his batting blitz in all formats of the game, the genius hasn’t been able to transform his heroics into success at the slam-bang Indian Premier League (IPL). The frustration would have mounted for the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper after suffering another loss in the 11th edition of the IPL on Tuesday.
Kohli’s brilliant 62-ball 92 not out was not enough to get his franchise over the line against Mumbai Indians, who opened their account this season. His individual masterclass, however, saw him overtake Suresh Raina to become the IPL’s leading run-getter of all times.
More than the fans I want to win the cup. I have been with Bangalore for [the] last 10 years and we haven’t crossed the final hurdle three times. I can assure you, my commitment is going to be 120 per cent to try and achieve the goal this time.”
- Virat Kohli, speaking before the tournament
Kohli now has a total to 4,619 runs in 153 matches at an average of 47.71. Prior to this knock, in this edition, he had scores of 31, 21 and the fastest 50 of his IPL career from 26 balls.
However, only one out of his four innings so far has culminated in a positive result for RCB and they are currently languishing second last in the standings.
Renowned for his hunger for victory and fiercely competitive spirit, to go dry without a title in the last 10 editions of IPL is a rare blot in Kohli’s illustrious career.
Before the start of the tournament, the 29-year-old had revealed how desperate he was to get the monkey off his back and win the IPL title — having come close thrice before.
“More than the fans I want to win the cup. I have been with Bangalore for [the] last 10 years and we haven’t crossed the final hurdle three times. I can assure you, my commitment is going to be 120 per cent to try and achieve the goal this time,” Kohli had said.
The man earning the biggest pay packet in the history of the competition — Dh9.5 million — was in no mood to enjoy his personal milestone after Tuesday’s loss. He was quick to express his displeasure after bagging the Orange Cap for the leading score for his 201 runs from four matches.
“I don’t feel like wearing this [orange cap] right now because it really doesn’t matter,” a dejected Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
Winning the title has become more personal — given the fact that his contemporaries Raina and Rohit Sharma, who is the third leading run-getter with 4345 from 158 innings, have been able to transform their effort into results for their team.
Raina, who has been the run-machine for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has won the title twice so far — under captain M.S. Dhoni in 2010 and 2011. The southpaw, in fact, missed his first match for CSK on Sunday against Kings XI Punjab since joining the yellow brigade in 2008 after featuring in 163 matches. He also holds the best average of 57.67 in 158 innings.
Though Sharma too averages better than Kohli (54.60 in 158 innings), more importantly, he has a record of winning the title thrice as captain in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
In Mumbai’s win on Tuesday, Sharma again set some personal milestones with his 94 not out. He notched up his 50th half-century and joined the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Kohli (both have 53 fifties each in T20 cricket). Sharma also became the second highest six-hitter in the IPL, eclipsing Raina with 175 sixes. West Indies’ Chris Gayle leads the list with 269 sixes. Sharma also became the fourth batsman to score over 600 runs against Bangalore after Gambhir, Dhoni and Raina.
It is also worth noticing the win percentages of Kohli, Raina and Sharma while playing for their respective teams.
Kohli in his 153 appearances for RCB has seen more losses — 77 to be precise — while tasting victories in 73, with three matches ending in no result.
Raina has the best win-loss record of 94-68 while Sharma’s is at 89-74.
Kohli’s RCB need to reverse those statistics quickly. They have always been a strong batting side but have predominantly struggled in the bowling department over the years.
Kohli will be wary of the fact and knowing him, Bangalore fans can rest assured that he will spare nothing to keep the “120 per cent commitment” he promised at all costs and put their campaign back on track.