Lions' collective effort trumps Kohli's century

Lions' collective effort trumps Kohli's century

Lions' collective effort trumps Kohli's century

A collective batting effort from Gujarat Lions overshadowed Virat Kohli’s scintillating century as the Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a six-wicket defeat at the hands of the hosts here at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday.

Kohli’s near-flawless innings of 100 (63b, 11x4, 1x6) combined with KL Rahul’s fine half-century (51, 35b, 4x4, 3x6) took RCB to a solid 180/2.

However, Gujarat’s batting line-up punished the substandard Bangalore bowling and knocked down the target with three balls to spare. Dinesh Karthik stepped up with a responsible knock for the Lions to remain unbeaten on 50.

Gujarat’s chase kick-started in explosive fashion, with openers Dwayne Smith 32 (21b) and Brendon McCullum 42 (24b) tearing apart the RCB bowlers. The duo scored boundaries at will on both sides of the wicket and the Lions raced to 72 in the first six overs. Kane Richardson (1/53), the most expensive of the RCB bowlers, was hammered for 25 runs in the sixth over of the match, with the dangerous McCullum smashing two sixes and as many fours to leave the home crowd in ecstasy.

Though RCB managed to see the back of Smith and McCullum by the ninth over, the duo had by then dealt a severe blow on their opponents and the 53-run stand between skipper Raina and Karthik virtually sealed the deal for Gujarat. With excellent running between the wickets and some smart shot selections against the spinners, Karthik paced the chase to perfection.

Kohli’s masterclass, his maiden T20 century, was an innings built on sheer talent and class. For the first time in the season, RCB’s batting didn’t revolve around Kohli-AB de Villiers as the South African departed after a breezy 51-run stand, scoring 20.

Rahul though provided ample support to Kohli, who found the gaps consistently. Fighting the extremely hot conditions here and surviving mild cramps, Kohli depended on the ones and twos in the first part of his innings and notched up his fifty in 40 balls.

With his trade-mark cover drives against the spinners, elegant flicks and cracking cut shots, Kohli was at his clinical best. On 85 after the 19th over, it needed some brilliance from Kohli to reach his 100 and he came all guns blazing against Dwayne Bravo. Kohli slammed an overpitched delivery for six over deep mid-wicket and then smashed a full toss for four past the bowler. With four runs needed for the three-figure mark, Kohli carved one over point to let out a sigh of relief.

Rahul, who got off to a slow start, stepped up the scoring rate and raced to his maiden IPL half-century in 34 balls. The Karnataka batsman was brutal against Dhawal Kulkarni, smashing two towering sixes over long on and long off in the 17th over.

RCB’s bowling continued to be below par and unfortunately for Kohli, his brilliant knock went in vain. Bangalore next take on Sunrisers on April 30.