How quickly fortunes can change! Before the start of the seventh Indian Premier League, Virat Kohli could do no wrong. Whatever the opposition or the conditions, he had answers to all the questions posed by any bowler in the world.
Ten games into the IPL, he can’t do a thing right. On Tuesday night, one of the best runners between the wickets was caught short of his crease for 10 off 11 balls. His tally now reads 154 runs in 10 innings at an average of 17.11, occupying the 28th spot in the list of run makers.
Till the eighth round of the IPL, Yuvraj Singh appeared to be in the same space, equally clueless. One of the world’s most feared hitters was searching for his timing and confidence. Then something clicked and it was vintage Yuvraj who came out to bat against Rajasthan Royals the other day.
But, there were still some doubts. The knocks were intermittent, like in the opening game of the limited-over series against Australia last year in Rajkot. Then he would slip back into mediocrity.
It remained to be seen whether he was really back to his old, dashing self, the player who had lit up the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 by hammering Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over.
On Tuesday, the pressure was again on him against Delhi Daredevils. The southpaw started with a streaky four off Imran Tahir. The sluggishness continued for a couple of overs and when he refused a single off the last ball of the 16thover and played a dot first up in the next, it looked like Yuvraj was not in the game.
But in the next three balls, he pulled, lofted over covers and smashed Tahir over long-off for three successive sixes.
His six hitting continued in the next over, flicking Mohammad Shami high over the fine-leg. With the Chinnaswamy crowd chanting for more, he dispatched Siddharth Kaul’s full toss to midwicket for his fifth six in the 19th over. The swagger back, he finished in style, bringing up his 50 with the sixth six in the final over of the innings. Rahul Shukla, who had started so well, didn’t know where to bowl with the left-hander smashing three more to finish with nine sixes.
Thanks to his 29-ball unbeaten 68, RCB finished at 186 for four.
Yuvraj’s effort had knocked the stuffing out of Daredevils. On this wicket, the total was gettable, provided one could muster a strong finish.
But despite, trying to maintain their calm in the chase, Delhi lost wickets at the wrong time. JP Duminy’s dismissal, sixth out at 147 in 17.4 overs, sounded their death knell. It was 26 off the last six and RCB won by 16 runs.