The crowd at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru witnessed a spectacle yesterday. They were to treated to yet another Virat Kohli masterclass.
Chasing a target of 191 in a must-win game, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Kohli did what he does the best. The right-hander smashed his second IPL ton in just 56 balls to take his team past the line and keep its hopes alive in this season.
Shane Watson, who has been RCB’s go-to-man this season, was all praise for Kohli. The all-rounder hailed Kohli as one of the best chasers across the three formats of the game.
“Virat has to be one of the greatest chasers of all time in any format. It is incredible to see how well and how easily he hits,” Watson told iplt20.com
Watson seems to be in awe of Kohli’s risk-free approach. Kohli himself conceded that he was not able to hit the big sixes unlike many others in cricket. The star batsman had said that he didn’t tweak his game much to be more effective in the shortest format of the game.
“It seems like he is not taking any risk at all, and he gets 100 off 50 balls to win the game! Having him in our team makes chasing that much easier for us,” Watson said.
Kohli stood up when it mattered
Watson also said it was amazing to watch Kohli bat from the other end. The right-handed batsman, who walked in at No.4, hit a 13-ball 36 and boxed Pune out of the game. Watson must have learnt a thing or two about assessing the match situation during chases from his skipper. “It is simply phenomenal to watch him and bat with him. It is amazing how he sums up the situation consistently so well and executes under huge pressure,” he said. (Also read: ‘Determined’ Kohli leads from front, slams second ton)
Watson added that he was impressed by the way their skipper led from the front when it mattered the most. Kohli didn’t relent until he hit the winning runs in the must-win game yesterday. “Today we had to win this game to remain in the tournament. He is the captain of our team and he stood up when it mattered,” Watson said.
Had to improve our bowling
Bangalore bowlers have been letting the team down after not being able to defend big scores posted by their batsmen. Kohli had been constantly pointing fingers at his bowlers for their poor show this season. However, on Saturday, Watson led from the front with the ball to prevent Pune Supergiants from running away with the game on a batting paradise at Bengaluru. The medium-pacer took three wickets in his four-over spell and conceded only 24 runs in a game where 386 runs were scored.
Asked if there was any discussions about the bowling performances of the team in the dressing room, Watson said: “There has been plenty of talking for sure. We have talked a lot about different plans, and combinations to make sure we give ourselves the best chance to execute. We had to improve on the bowling front and we continue to work on it.”
Watson said he was relieved to come up with a good show with the ball after the thrashing he received against Kolkata Knight Riders on May 2. Yusuf Pathan took Watson to the cleaners hitting 24 runs in the 17th over in chase of 186. KKR went on to win the match by five wickets.
“Personally, I took it very hard for the one over I bowled that got KKR back in the game to be able to win it from there. I was pretty determined to play much better in this game. It worked out nicely as I could contribute with both bat and ball,” Watson said.