Virat Kohli's fifty guides RCB to 182/6 against KKR

Kohli's unbeaten fifty propels RCB to competitive total
Kohli's unbeaten fifty propels RCB to competitive total
Kohli's unbeaten fifty propels RCB to competitive total

Bengaluru | Star batter Virat Kohli’s skilful unbeaten fifty formed the foundation of Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s competitive 182 for six against Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL match here on Friday.

Kohli (83, 59b, 4x4, 4x6) and Cameron Green (33 off 21b) milked 65 runs off 42 balls for the second wicket, the primary alliance in RCB innings, as the home side produced a two-faced effort after being asked to bat first on a track that was on the slower side.

An archetypal Dinesh Karthik cameo (20, 8b, 3x6) added gravitas to the RCB total as usual towards the end.

Skipper Faf du Plessis went back early as the Royal Challengers captain’s attempt to scoop pacer Harshit Rana ended in the hands of Mitchell Starc inside the circle.

But a period of stability followed as Kohli and Green kept RCB on the track with a busy stand that saw them reaching 61 for 1 in the Power Play segment.

Kohli dished out drives and lofts over covers, a new addition to his batting, sweeps and slog-sweep to fetch his runs, but the shot of the night was a swat-flick off Starc that sailed for a six.

In fact, no other shot really encapsulates Kohli’s batting like the swat-flick – a child of his desire to find newer ways to sustain the domination of bowlers.

A simple snap of wrists and power emanating from a strong bottom hand can turn this traditionally gentle shot into a malevolent run-making option.

Kohli brought his fifty in 36 balls whereas other batters, except Green, generally struggled for momentum and timing.

But at the other end, Green wasn’t really bothered about such technical angles, as his batting was all about brute power.

Sunil Narine, who was playing his 500th T20 match, was given a hammering as Green took 15 runs off the spinner’s first over that included a sequence of 4, 4, 6 – a sweep, slap past cover and a hoick over long-on.

However, the burgeoning alliance was snapped when Green’s effort to play a pull off Andre Russell was the ball crashing on to his stumps as the ball kept a tad low.

Glenn Maxwell, who was dropped twice on 11 and 21, en route a 19-ball 28 could not exploit the largesse of KKR fielders as his luck finally ran out against Narine.

A slash off the West Indian spinner ended in the hands of Rinku Singh at deep point, and Maxwell had to depart after adding 42 runs for the third wicket with Kohli.

Rajat Patidar (3, 4b) seemed to be suffering from lack of confidence after his travails in the Test series against England, and the right-hander produced another vastly underwhelming knock.

But at one end, Kohli kept going even as the KKR bowlers adopted the pace-off strategy with excellent effect to slow down the proceedings.

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