So intense and bitter was the rivalry between the two that Kohli, anointed the Test skipper midway through the series, even went to the extent of saying that the Aussie didn’t deserve his respect.
The Aussie left-arm strike bowler also played shot-for-shot as he kept the heat on, targetting Kohli whenever an opportunity presented itself.
The much-talked about rivalry could touch a new high, or low depending on which side you are on, this time on Indian soil, when the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Kings XI Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab appeals successfully for the wicket of Stuart Binny of Rajasthan Royals during an IPL match in Pune. (PTI Photo)
Johnson, this time toiling for the struggling Punjab, had walked away with the honours when they had last met. He had Kohli early on to throw India’s chase into disarray in the World Cup semifinal. India eventually caved in to lose that battle.Interestingly, it is after playing nine matches that Bangalore will take on KXIP for the first time this season. It will be a new contest when the two face each other with the RCB skipper holding the edge.
Kohli has been in good form, keeping his team’s hopes alive for a playoff berth. He is the leading scorer for Bangalore with 303 runs, including two half-centuries.
On the contrary, the Aussie speedster has been ineffective in his team’s rather forgettable journey in the tournament so far.
He has showed his class in patches, helping KXIP win the match against Rajasthan Royals by outsmarting compatriots Shane Watson and Steve Smith in the Super Over. But nine wickets in eight matches look ordinary for a bowler of Johnson’s stature.
He was skipper George Bailey’s go-to bowler last season when they finished second. But his indifferent form meant Bailey was left with no option but to bench him against DD.