Bengaluru, May 21 (IANS) After Virat Kohli nailed his seventh IPL hundred and second consecutive ton of IPL 2023 in must-win match for Royal Challengers Bangalore to seal last remaining spot for the playoffs, the right-handed batter said he feels like he’s playing at his best again in T20s.
Right from the word go, Kohli hit ground running after a long wait of 55 minutes for the game to start due to rain and unleashed a masterclass in carrying the bat through the innings in front of a hugely supportive home crowd through his unbeaten 101 off 61 balls.
“A lot of people feel my T20 cricket is declining, but I don’t feel like that at all. I feel I am playing my best again, enjoying myself, hitting gaps and big ones at the end. You have to rise to the occasion when the situation demands, and I take a lot of pride in doing, and I’ve been doing it a while now. I feel really good in my game right now,” said Kohli in a mid-innings chat with the broadcasters after taking Bangalore to a competitive 197/5.
Kohli now has the most centuries by a batter in the IPL, going past his former Bangalore team-mate Chris Gayle. He mesmerised everyone with his magical bottom-handed shots, controlled footwork and usage of wrists to hit 13 fours and a six at a strike-rate of 165.6, taking the side to a big total despite wickets falling around him, and went off the field to a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.
“We’d have taken that with both hands once we were five-down and Anuj the last recognised batsman. We pretty much pulled things back nicely towards the end. We targeted 190 when we lost five.”
“But getting close to 200 is a very competitive score and a winnable score. It’s about the bowlers to execute their plans and have a crack at them. Teams have not been able to chase here in the recent past,” he added.
Kohli reckoned the bowlers can get the required help from the pitch to enter playoffs. “There’s enough in this pitch for our bowlers to make a dent. If we can cut down the boundaries and the twos, it’s a difficult chase.”
“Chat in the changing room was to stay in the present (when there’s rain around). I wasn’t focussed on the drizzle or the other game. Just focussed on what I needed to do for my team. We’re in a great position to defend this.”