The season of Virat Kohli - IPL 2016
The 2016 season of the IPL will always be bitter sweet for RCB fans. The team came within a sniffing distance of its first IPL title but the trophy remained elusive. There were magnificent performances all around. Having won only 2 of the first seven games, RCB finished second in the points table at the end of the league stage. Six wins in the second half proved to be a saving grace for them.
But, there was something else that made the season special; not just for the Bangalore franchise and its fans, but for all cricket aficionados. It was the season which Virat Kohli made his own, displaying some of the most belligerent T20 batting ever seen consistently over a period of time. That season would be remembered as the season of Kohli. A season in which he amassed 973 runs, a season in which he crossed the century mark an unimaginable four times. We take a look back at the unforgettable four centuries through which T20 batting was assigned a new pinnacle.
100* (63) vs Gujarat Lions, April 24 2016
RCB had lost their top order. Watson and AB De Villiers had been dismissed with the score on 59 in the eighth over of the innings. The middle order was inexperienced, with KL Rahul playing only his third IPL game. Only Sarfaraz Khan and Kedar Jadhav were to follow. Kohli had a monumental task of building the innings as well as ensuring the run rate does not drop.
Kohli decided to drop anchor, as he usually does. He relied on his fitness in the scorching Rajkot heat, his ability to steal quick runs proving invaluable. He pulled out his wide array of strokes once the team had a stable launching pad. RCB looted 65 off the last 5 overs, and Kohli with 15 off his last 5 balls raced to his first ever IPL century.
The resolve of Virat Kohli in addition to his skill is what makes him world class
108* (58) vs Rising Pune Supergiants, May 7 2016
Royal challengers Bangalore were scrambling to keep themselves in contention for the playoffs. Having won only 2 out of the first 7 games, a loss would’ve turned all the remaining games into a virtual knockout. Rising Pune Supergiants had put up 191 on the board having batted first. Chris Gayle had been dropped in favour of better team balance, with Travis Head chosen over the fan-favourite Gayle to lend solidity to the middle order.
Kohli opened the batting with KL Rahul in the run chase. The opening stand worth 94 runs put RCB ahead of the game. But two quick wickets including that of AB De Villiers brought the Supergiants back into the game. However, Virat batted on. He played smart when Watson was going berserk and brought the required rate down to 10 for the last 5 overs. After Watson’s dismissal, Kohli took over. He smashed Adam Zampa and RP Singh for four sixes, and finished off the chase like only he could with 4 balls to spare. Kohli had scored 108 off 58 balls.
109 (55) vs Gujarat Lions, May 14 2016
The day the Gujarat Lions bowlers regretted their decisions to become bowlers. The day Kohli and De Villiers plundered boundary after boundary mercilessly. The day RCB fans would never forget. The day King Kohli scored his third century in the 2016 season of the IPL. The day RCB won the game by a record margin of 144 runs. Need anymore be said?
The bromance between Virat and AB De Villiers has been well documented over the years, and on this day, the two put together a stellar 229 runs, spanning 16 overs. Kohli scoring 109, 57 of which came in the last 14 balls, 30 of which came in a single over by the hapless chinaman Shivil Kaushik. The score of 248 had batted Gujarat Lions out of the game.
113 (50) vs Kings XI Punjab, May 18 2016
f ever there was a statue to be put up outside the Chinnaswamy stadium, the iconic picture of Virat Kohli pointing at the stitches in his finger would be the ideal prototype. With a wounded finger, with his team needing a win desperately, put in to bat in a rain-threatened game, the RCB skipper did the unthinkable, scoring a fourth century in a single IPL season; a feat never perceived, let alone being achieved. The genius of Kohli does not only lie in his ability, but also his resolve and character, something which was needed in abundance for an innings like the one against Punjab. That is what makes Kohli the best in the world.