It seemed that rain had only delayed the inevitable at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
Virat Kohli (113, 50b, 12x4, 8x6) scored his customary century, Royal Challengers Bangalore ran up a total in excess of 200 — 211 to be precise — and yet another team, this time Kings XI Punjab, came under the bludgeoning willows of the home batsmen, all in a matter of 15 overs.
Having threatened all day, rain came down in a torrent in the evening to push the start to 9.45 p.m. and reduce the match to a 15-overs-a-side affair. After the ground staff did a splendid job in getting the arena ready in less than an hour after the rain stopped, Kings sent RCB in, perhaps sensing an even chance in a curtailed match.
At his magical best
But not one trick of M. Vijay worked as Kohli, at his magical best, subjected the Kings bowlers to the most bruising of times. Axar Patel’s shy at the stumps in the fourth over was the closest Kings came to dismissing Kohli.
After a quiet first three overs, off which only 17 runs came, Kohli and Chris Gayle (73, 32b, 4x4, 8x6) exploded like a volcano.
The result was a 147-run opening stand in just 11 overs. So brutal was the hitting that at one point, nine consecutive scoring shots were all sixes.
Gayle did his utmost to dispel the belief that his return to form in the last game was a flash in the pan. And he succeeded too. But never before has an innings of his been overshadowed like this. At the end of the fifth over, Gayle, as is often his wont, had already raced to 35 and Kohli was only on 17. But come the eighth over, Kohli had brought up his 50 while Gayle was still on 42. The skipper would go on to bring up his fourth century of the season in the 14th over.
More than 90 per cent of Kohli’s runs came in the ‘V’, with his lofted extra-cover drive being the sweetest among all. Spinner K.C. Cariappa, playing in his hometown, experienced the best of it — or rather the worst from his point of view. In all he gave away 55 runs in his three overs and Kohli hit 43 of them.
With this knock, Kohli now has 4002 runs, the most in the history of IPL, surpassing Suresh Raina's total of 3985.