RCB 211/3 (15/15 ov)
Kings XI Punjab 120/9 (14/14 ov, target 203)
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 82 runs (D/L method)
Before Wednesday Virat Kohli had 752 runs in the ninth season of the Indian Premier League, more than 150 over his nearest challenger for the best batsman’s award.
Ominously, the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain had also said he thought he has not peaked yet, despite hitting three centuries so far.
Just over three hours later, against Kings XI Punjab, those who would not digest that statement would be nodding in agreement as Kohli scored his fourth century fourth despite a sore left hand with split webbing.
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“My main aim is to get runs. It does not matter how I play,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation on StarSports.
His 113 from just 50 balls put more daylight between him and his rival batsmen and soothed fans drenched in a rain-curtailed match in which Punjab were drubbed by 82 runs.
A massive total of 211 runs for three wickets in the revised 15 overs was built on Kohli’s opening 147-run stand with Chris Gayle (73 from 32 balls). Kohli also moved to the top of the run-chart in the tournament with 4,002 runs, surpassing Suresh Raina’s 3,985.
The only relief for Punjab was that the equally dangerous AB de Villiers missed out in the run feast after a second-ball duck.
The top-heavy Bangalore batsmen have been so consistent in the past few games that they have gone from a position of missing the play-offs to title favourites. Victory boosted Bangalore’s run-rate further which meant they leapt from fifth place to second.
“Everything is coming together,” Kohli said. “Hopefully we can continue what we have been doing.”
With the threat of rain still looming and a minimum of 5.2 overs needed for a result by Duckworth-Lewis method, Bangalore bowlers hurried about the task while Punjab sorely missed the services of the injured Glenn Maxwell. They were 120 for nine after 14 overs when play was called off.
Captain Murali Vijay, who won the toss and elected to field to give Punjab a better chance at chasing, could only rue that they “were not good enough”.
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