Virat Kohli on Saturday scored a long-awaited half-century in IPL 2022, his first in 10 matches this season. Kohli opened the innings after Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) opted to bat against Gujarat Titans at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
Kohli played the anchor’s role after RCB lost captain Faf du Plessis early in the match. The right-handed batter scored 58 off 53 balls. His innings was studded with six fours and a six. And for the first time this season, he top-scored for his team as RCB posted 171 runs target for GT.
The former captain, who has been struggling to get his mojo back, played a rather slow innings but showed a sign of getting his form back, batting at a 109 strike rate.
Kohli also shared an important 99 runs partnership with Rajat Patidar for the second wicket. When Kohli held the guard from one end, Patidar was more aggressive and scored a quick 32-ball 52. Patidar hit two sixes and five fours.
But it was Kohli who was the talking point of the match.
In the last three years, the batter could not score a single hundred. His last hundred came against Bangladesh in November 2019 at the Eden Gardens.
Kohli, who has had an average score of over 500 runs in each season of IPL, struggled to anticipate the inexperienced pacers.
He is finding it hard to play rising delivery and often giving an edge to the wicketkeeper and slip fielders. His pull is not strong either.
In the last five outings, before this half-century against GT on Saturday, Kohli has managed only one double-digit score and fell twice for a duck. His average of 20 after 10 matches tells how deep is the problem with his batting.
At this stage, he scored a half-century, but that old prolific Kohli was missing from the scene. His boldness and stylish cover drives and pulls were missing from his stock. This was an innings which denoted his hard work and willingness to get back to form.
The Virat Kohli of 2016 looked unrecognizable from the present-day one in terms of body language. But a half-century could still be a sign of his return to form, and he could slowly get back his rythm.