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IPL 2016 : Kohli redefines batting in the T20 format

Kohli redefines batting in the T20 format : Nothing seems to deter the young, confident and stubborn Virat Kohli, when it comes to wielding the bat.

Leading his team, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) into IPL 2016 with the weakest bowling attack, he had to rely on his batsmen to do the job for him. He has led from the front in the batting department and has clearly redefined and set a very high batting standard in the shortest format of the game.

With a tally of 865 runs in IPL 2016, from 13 innings, at an average of 86.50 and a strike rate of 155.01, he is the Orange Cup holder, as of now. A team cannot ask for more from a batsman. Kohli also has notched up 4 centuries and 5 half-centuries in the process. The closest to him is his RCB team-mate, AB de Villiers with a tally of 597 runs in equal number of innings.

He bettered the record of maximum runs in a season, earlier held by his team-mate and opening partner, Chris Gayle, who had scored 733 runs from 14 games in 2014.

Incidentally Kohli becomes the leading run-scorer in IPL, notching up 4,002 runs overtaking his Team India mate, Suresh Raina, who has accumulated 3,985 runs.

Kohli’s team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, were languishing at the bottom half of the table when the tournament was half way through, winning just 2 games out of the first 7 games played.

Ironically their icon batsman Chris Gayle had to miss a few games on personal grounds. However, Kohli and de Villiers rose to the occasion and ‘upped the ante’.

However, by a turn of events and with the batting abilities of Kohli, de Villiers and Gayle, they went on to win 5 games out of the next 6 games played. These wins helped the team to move to the second position on the Points Table with 14 points from 13 games and a positive NRR of 0.930.

These wins, mainly propelled by Virat’s batting exploits, has opened up the opportunity for RCB to qualify for the ‘play-off’ stage and if they can produce the same kind of performances, they might even walk away with the title.

A calm, composed Kohli, whose aggression is well held within him and not displayed on the face, has clearly redefined the art of scoring runs in the shortest format of the game.

Even in a rain-interrupted truncated game of 15 overs against Kings’ XI Punjab, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, with an aggressive approach, Kohli notched up his fourth century of the season and also his highest score in IPL.

While his half-century came up in just 28 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes, his century came in only 47 balls studded with 11 fours and 7 sixes. His knock of 113 runs off 50 deliveries aided by 12 fours and 8 sixes helped RCB to score a massive 211 runs for 3 wickets in 15 overs.

Kohli’s knock was also supported by good innings from Gayle (73, 32, 4*4, 8*4).

Restricting the opposition to 120 runs for 9 wickets, RCB won the match by 82 runs under the D/L method.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Virat Kohli, who was also adjudged the Player of the Match, for his exploits with the bat, said, “When all that was happening out there, I thought surely I can”t get a 100 in 15 overs. I wasn”t believing that it was happening. Chris, looked dangerous in the last game, he was in the zone again today. Everything is coming together. In the previous tournaments, we panicked. But hopefully we can continue what we have been doing. My main aim is to get runs, it doesn”t matter how I play. Momentum is a big thing in T20s, when you get into the zone, you feel you can hit any ball. So you just want to give yourself. I didn”t hit any balls because I was injured, but when I settled down, I thought I shouldn”t think about my stitches. When I got the flow going, and the pain went away, I was able to play shots. T20s is just three hours a day. You still have 21 hours away, so why relax on the field? Today was a shortened game, but I was glad we got 15 overs in. We were desperate to get onto the park. It wouldn”t have mattered even if it was a five-overs game. We wanted four in four, we now have three in three. So there”s no reason why we can”t win. We have got to that stage, where we”ve stopped thinking about other teams. We are just relaxed, the guys in the dugout are doing a great job. We”ve got the momentum now.”

The Indian Test skipper, overcame a disappointing 2015, and went on to score 381 runs, that included a couple of centuries, in the ODI series against Australia. He soon followed that performance with 199 runs in three T20Is against the Aussies.

Kohli, who was rested for the T20I series against Sri Lanka, was in an impeccable form in Asia Cup T20 and World T20. Incidentally he was awarded the Player of the Series in WT20.

RCB peaking at the right time, under the able captaincy of Kohli, could be eyeing their maiden IPL Title win.