Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen Chris Gayle (L) and Virat Kohli celebrate after winning the IPL Twenty20 cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. AFP/Indranil Mukherjee
Over the last two years, Virat Kohli has more often than not been described as the in-form batsman, especially in the shorter versions of cricket. So, it was an unusual situation when the Delhi batsman failed to make a mark for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League.
For the first half of the tournament, Kohli did get his eye in on a number of times but could not convert any of those efforts into a match-winning one. As a result, concerns were raised when the team management decided to drop skipper Daniel Vettori and hand over the reins to one of the best young cricketers in the world.
But it didn't take a lot of time for Kohli to justify the faith shown in him by his franchise. While Chris Gayle stole the limelight with yet another breathtaking knock against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday night, the fact that Kohli found his silken touch with the willow would have come as a huge relief for the man and his teammates.
With the likes of Gayle and AB de Villiers coming good more often than not, the RCB think-tank wouldn't have been too concerned by Kohli's lack of big, and quick, runs. But he showed on Wednesday that he indeed had reinvented the balance of anchoring the innings and finding gaps at will against a quality bowling attack.
"I wasn't playing too well in the previous matches. My teammates kept on telling me that you will hit form at the right time," said Kohli, after he led the RCB to a convincing victory at the Wankhede. "I hope I can continue with this form. I think we are peaking at the right time."
And Kohli would be keen to continue his form come Friday when his team goes up against the Pune Warriors, a team that's busy fighting battles within rather than bothering about the opposition.
If Kohli manages to repeat his act, then even if Gayle or de Villiers - both of whom played dream knocks in their earlier duel with the Pune boys - fail, the Challengers' batting will be as effective as it has been over the last few games.
And with the bowling attack also looking a settled unit with veteran Muttiah Muralitharan and Harshal Patel coming good against the Mumbai Indians, it would surely help Kohli and Co to get closer to a place in the playoffs with a handsome victory on Friday.