Virat Kohli struck his first half-century of the 15th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) and added 99-runs for the second wicket with Rajat Patidar (52) as Royal Challengers Bangalore posted a defendable 170/6 in 20 overs against Gujarat Titans at the Brabourne Stadium here on Saturday.
Kohli, former India and Royal Challengers captain who was advised by former team India coach Ravi Shastri to take a break from IPL to revitalise his batting, gave glimpses of a welcome return to form as he scored a fine half-century as he and Patidar set up a platform from which RCB could have reached a score of 180-plus but fell short due to some good death-overs bowling by Gujarat Titans.
Royal Challengers got off to a decent start despite losing skipper Faf du Plessis in the second over, thanks mainly to Virat Kohli, who helped them reach 43/0 in the power-lay.
Kohli started by hitting his India team-mate Mohammad Shami to back-to-back fours in the first round — first a drive down past mid-off off a fuller delivery and second, a much better-looking shot whipped off his pads to the deep square leg fence.
He meted out the same treatment to Alzarri Joseph, hitting two superb shots off the English pacer’s first two deliveries in this match. That over cost Gujarat Titans 13 runs as Rajat Patidar too helped himself to a boundary. The 50 of the innings came in 39 balls.
In the 10th over, Kohli hammered Lockie Ferguson for a six and four off successive deliveries — backing away and hitting him just over the long-on rope for maximum, and with Patidar blasting the final ball of the 10th over for a four, Royal Challengers Bangalore were cruising at 76/1 at the half-way stage.
Kohli completed his half-century in 45 balls, hitting six boundaries and a six. He found a good partner in Rajat Patidar, who scored a breezy 32-ball 52 to shore up RCB innings. Patidar smacked Alzarri Joseph for a six — a pull over mid-wicket– followed by a four in the 11th over and had earlier blasted Rashid Khan for a six towards cow corner. He completed his half-century off 29 balls, hitting five boundaries and two sixes before top-edging a paddle sweep to Shubhaman Gill at square leg off Sangwan.
Kohli and Patidar added 99 runs for the second wicket that propelled RCB from 11/1 to 110/2 — a platform from which they could build their innings for a big total.
But after losing his partner, Kohli, too, did not survive and was out for 58 with the score 129 when he was cleaned up by Shami with a yorker as Kohli tried to make room to play a cover drive.
RCB sent Dinesh Karthik at No. 5 hoping to add some quick runs but the Tamil Nadu veteran did not stay in the middle for long as he top-edged a pull to short-fine leg off Rashid Khan as RCB slipped from 110/1 after 14th over to 143/4 in 18th.
Glenn Maxwell departed after an 18-ball 33, hitting three fours and two sixes during his brief cameo. Mahipal Lomror landed a couple of lusty blows in scoring 16 off eight balls — he was caught twice in the final over, once off a cable going across the ground and then by David Miller off the final delivery — as Royal Challengers reached a defendable score in their first-afternoon match in IPL 2022.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 170/6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 58, Rajat Patidar 52, Glenn Maxwell 33; Pradeep Sangwan 2/19, Rashid Khan 1/29) against Gujarat Titans.