Virat Kohli with Shubman Gill after RCB’s IPL 2023 match against GT,© BCCI/IPL
The Faf du Plessis-led Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL 2023 came to an end on Sunday after a loss to defending champions Gujarat Titans in their last league phase match. Despite a record seventh IPL ton by Virat Kohli, RCB could not end on the winning side. After Kohli’s 61-ball 101 formed the bedrock of RCB’s 197-run total batting first, GT chased down the target in 19.1 overs. Shubman Gill’s 52-ball 104* played a major part in that win. Gill’s innings consisted of eight sixes and five fours whereas Kohli hit 13 fours and one six. The number of sixes was a “significant difference” between the two innings, according to IPL-winning coach Tom Moody.
“He (Gill) is such a special player, he really is. We have seen in all three formats in the last 12 months. Whether it’s the IPL or in Indian colours. He is such a delight to watch. He is just so composed at the crease. You look at his facial expression, you look at his body language, he looks so much in control. He has got the game,” Tom Moody said on ESPNCricinfo.
“Eight sixes! To me, that was the difference in the two hundreds. Both were brilliant hundreds. But Kohli only hit one six while Shubman Gill hit eight sixes. He ended up with a strike-rate of 200. That’s a significant difference. In a chasing situation, against a good bowling attack….hats off to him.”
Gujarat Titans won by six wickets as they, Chennai, Mumbai and Lucknow went through to the playoffs of the world’s biggest T20 tournament.
“A lot of people think that my T20 cricket is declining. I don’t feel like that at all,” Kohli said afterwards. “I think I am playing my best T20 cricket again.”
That might be so, but for Kohli and Bangalore it was just the latest IPL failure. The franchise has never won the title in 16 attempts — they were runners-up three times — since the tournament began in 2008.
Kohli was Bangalore skipper for nine of those seasons and at the end of the 2021 edition he decided to give up leading the team. That was in the midst of a tough period for Kohli when the magic with the bat deserted him. In 2020 he had relinquished the Indian T20 captaincy after a disastrous World Cup and was sacked as ODI skipper. He then quit as Test captain.
With AFP inputs
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