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The Best of Virat Kohli This IPL
May 26, 2023, 11:00:00 PM

The Best of Virat Kohli This IPL

Virat Kohli has been synonymous with RCB. The modern-day master has been part of the franchise since its inception in 2008 and has been their lynchpin. Virat Kohli surpassed his former Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Chris Gayle’s record for most centuries in the Indian Premier League even as his side’s playoff hopes came to a close on Sunday in Bengaluru.

The former RCB captain finished unbeaten on 101* off 61 balls. RCB finished with 197/5 in 20 overs. But a sensational innings by Shubman Gill, also a century and also back-to-back to power Gujarat Titans home.

Earlier in IPL 2023, Kohli became the first batter to cross the 7,000-run mark in the tournament’s history. The leading run-getter in the history of Indian Premier League, Kohli moved past the 7,000 milestone during Royal Challengers Bangalore’s match against Delhi Capitals. Kohli, perhaps fittingly, reached that landmark in Delhi which is his home ground.

After struggling for most of 2022, Kohli has been in much better touch in the IPL in 2023. He has already scored seven 50-plus innings this season.

The former India skipper started the tournament with a magnificent 49-ball 82 in RCB’s win against Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians. He then went on to score 21 runs off 18 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders, before smashing 61 runs against KL Rahul-led Lucknow Super Giants.

For the second time in his career, he has scored multiple centuries in one season IPL. Kohli had said after his ton against SRH, “I was telling the boys the way I am looked at as an IPL player as well. It’s like, ‘You know, he’s fine. This is my sixth IPL hundred and I don’t think I give myself enough credit sometimes because I put myself under so much stress already that I don’t really care about what anyone says on the outside, to be honest.”

While that knock came in a run-chase, Kohli’s seventh century was a stunning innings in a must-win match for RCB. While he was off to a flying start, he had to check himself as wickets fell around him. He then exploded at the back-end once again. His century came at the start of the final over of the innings.

“Lot of people think that my T20 cricket is declining, I don’t feel like that at all,” Kohli said after the innings in an interview with the broadcasters.

“I think I am playing my best T20 cricket again. I’m just enjoying myself. This is how I play T20 cricket, I look to hit gaps, hit a lot of boundaries and then the big ones towards the end if the situation allows me to. You have to read situations and rise up to the occasion when the situation demands. I feel really good with my game at the moment and how I’m batting.”

Virat's season in numbers

Kohli played in all 14 matches for RCB and batted in all of them as an opener. The batsman scored third most runs in the league - 639, behind only Orange cap holder and his skipper Faf du Plessis - 730 run and Shubman Gill - 722 runs. Kohli's strike rate - 139.82, however, is the slowest among top three. 

Curious case of Virat's strike rate

Kohli's best season was in 2016 when the batsman scored at a whopping strike rate of 150+, the only time in his IPL career as well. While he has had two decent seasons after 2016, that is in 2018 and 2019, Kohli hasn't been in the best of form since 2022, with his best strike rate being 121.35 in 2020. The batsman albeit scored 400+ runs two times out of three.

The Trend Setter

Kohli had an unprecedented IPL 2016 season when he smashed four centuries in total before hitting another one in IPL 2019. His recent ton against SRH is Kohli's sixth century for RCB, which is the most by any player for a single IPL franchise. Previously, Chris Gayle also held the record as he smashed five centuries for RCB during his career.

With his marvelous IPL ton against the Gujarat Titans, Virat Kohli also scripted another terrific record to his name. The Indian legend, who has mastered white-ball cricket, has now taken his century tally in T20s to seven tons. This is the most by any Indian player in the shortest format of the game. Apart from Kohli's seven tons in the IPL, he also clobbered a ton against Afghanistan during Asia Cup 2022.