Comparisons between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have become frequent over the past year. Kohli’s consistency and form have made it increasingly difficult not to have a discussion on their prowess.
It was Tendulkar’s 43rd birthday on Sunday, and Kohli was in rocking form again. The Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper scored his maiden century in T20 cricket with an unbeaten 100 against Gujarat Lions. Tendulkar’s highest score in T20 is also 100.
Unfortunately for Kohli, the ton came in a losing cause as the home side chased down RCB’s target of 181 with six wickets to spare.
The match went into the last over thanks to some determined batting by the home side and shoddy bowling from RCB.
Earlier, in the heat, which bordered around the 40-degree mark, Kohli brought his A-game to the fore. The flow of runs did not ebb through the knock that came off just 63 balls. The 27-year-old smashed just one six, instead relying on finding the gaps and looking for boundaries.
The assuredness in Kohli’s batting is unmatched in the current scenario, and an example of this came in the final over of RCB’s innings.
Needing 14 off the last three balls to complete his century, Kohli obliged with his only six of the match and followed it up with two boundaries to reach the milestone.
Opening the innings with all-rounder Shane Watson, the Aussie’s early dismissal did cause some anxiety, but Kohli anchored the knock as he has done through the tournament and the World T20 before it.
The effort propelled Kohli to the top of the run-scoring charts with 367 runs. Victory though turned out to be out of reach.
The last time Kohli came close to a ton, he was run out for 99 in the 2013 edition. Royal Challengers had gone on to win the game against Delhi Daredevils, with their bowlers managing a narrow four-run victory.
Kohli added another milestone to his CV, but his team fell short. The Delhi boy, who is also India’s Test captain, had scored 11 half-centuries this year at an average of over 100 before this knock.
In the recently-concluded World T20, he was the tournament’s top run-getter and was named man of the series.
In the lead-up to RCB’s clash with Gujarat Lions, Kohli had scores of 75, 79, 33 and 80.
On Sunday, he went a step higher and breached the 100-run barrier. Along the way, he also shared an unbeaten 121-run partnership with KL Rahul (51 not out).
The lack of depth in RCB’s bowling though undid what Kohli achieved on the night.
With Gujarat’s strong batting line-up determined to challenge the target, the going proved tough for the inexperienced bowlers. Gujarat, who have not lost a game this season while chasing, succeeded in ending what should have been a well-deserved party for the indomitable Kohli.