Indian superstar cricketer Virat Kohli struck form with his first half-century of this Indian Premier League season for Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday.
Kohli hit 58 off 53 deliveries against Gujarat Ti-tans at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium after a string of low scores, including two golden ducks in the ongo-ing Twenty20 tournament. The former captain opened Bangalore’s innings for the second time and got going with two bounda-ries off fast bowler Mohammed Shami after skipper Faf du Plessis elected to bat due to intense heat.
Du Plessis got out for nought but Kohli then got going with Rajat Patidar, who made 52, to put on 99 runs for the second wicket and take the attack to the opposition.
He hit a six and four before reaching his fifty as he raised his bat amid a standing ovation from the crowd that included his wife, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma.
“Everybody likes it. See what it means to India, see what it means to IPL,” former England batter Kevin Pietersen said on commentary.
“It means hell of a lot to Virat who has been down in the dumps. He has practised hard and tried to keep things simple.”
Kohli, who had scores of 41 not out, 12, 5, 48, 1, 12, 0, 0, 9, looked assured in his shot-making as he hit six fours and one six before being bowled by a yorker from Shami.
Patidar scored his maiden IPL fifty in 29 balls but Kohli’s innings — his 43rd IPL half-century — remained the flavour of the Bangalore innings which finished on 170 for six.
Pundits including former India coach Ravi Shas-tri had said Kohli, who has failed to score a century in over 100 matches in all formats, is “overcooked” because of too much cricket and should be given a break.—Agencies