If it was against the Hyderabad outfits – Deccan Chargers and Sunrisers Hyderabad – in 2009 and 2016, RCB finished runners-up to Chennai Super Kings in 2011. All this was probably at the back of Virat Kohli’s mind when he started the innings along with skipper Faf du Plessis on Thursday night. Their immediate target was SRH’s 186/5, which not only would help them stay afloat but also take them closer to their goal of winning the elusive title.
What ensued for the next 17.2 overs was pure gold as Kohli was at his imperious best and the 172-run opening partnership – the best for any wicket in this edition – took RCB to a clinical eight-wicket win.
“When he gets going, it’s hard to bowl to him,” said Harshal Patel. “He’s not a power-hitter but the timing is incredible. Even in the field, he is always buzzing. His energy on the field, his commitment to the game and his skills are remarkable to watch.”
The former Indian skipper’s sixth IPL century – after 49 months – and his partnership with du Plessis, an extension of the excellent understanding the Indian had forged with AB de Villiers earlier, is a pointer to the most successful opening combo in the IPL.
“I never look at past numbers. I put myself under so much stress already. This is my sixth IPL hundred. I don’t give myself enough credit sometimes despite playing impact knocks. (So) I don’t care what anyone says on the outside because that is their opinion,” said Kohli.
The Kohli and du Plessis partnership started in 2022. “We (Kohli and du Plessis) almost have 900 runs together this season. It’s amazing to bat with him. It’s very similar to how I used to feel with AB (de Villiers) and me batting together,” said Kohli. “It’s just an understanding of where the game is going.”