Millennium Post

Challenging Bangalore royally

A great man once said, "a warrior fights best with his back against the wall." The pessimist might just argue that this is because the warrior is lazy. However, the optimist would state examples, the best in contemporary times being the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the ongoing season of the Indian Premiere League (IPL).  With six losses in their first nine games, most pandits wrote the Bangalore boys off as they looked too far away from the playoffs. However, as Virat Kohli came out to speak at the presentation ceremony after his 6th loss, he was asked about the distant play offs. A losing Virat accorded that he had full faith in his team and since he is now in a must-win situation, his play offs begin next match up. Some might call it confidence, some might call it ambition but many regard it as arrogance. Even if it was arrogance, with a team that comprised of Gayle, Virat, AB de Villiers, Watson and a bunch of victory-thirsty individuals, the arrogance was at the right place. 

Virat Kohli has been in the best of his forms during this ongoing season of the Indian Premiere League. As Virat promoted himself up the order, many argued that the decision to do the same is blunt and deserves flak. Virat's success hence at that position and that too as the captain of the side was extremely crucial. Virat though performed. However, the word performance in itself is an understatement. Virat's batting this season could be the best reason why Oxford might want to revise the dictionary to add synonyms on a more superlative form to excellence, the Urban dictionary though has already started the process. Virat, with age and ambition on his side is only competing with himself as he topples over every other record that he himself held prior to the current record. 

The 2016 season's statistics for Virat seem invincible to beat. This year, Virat has played 15 matches so far and scored 919 runs at an average of 83.54 with his highest score being 113 at a strike rate of 151.90. Another great man once too said that the perfect clap is only possible when one hand meets the other at the right speed. This scenario is perfectly applicable here as if one hand belonged to Virat, the other hand belonged to crisis man AB De Villiers. AB himself has been having a splendid season which he has managed to partner with Virat on various occasions and taken the team to a comfortable victory. ABD's statistics in the 2016 edition are also equally brilliant considering his batting position. 

This season AB has scored 682 runs in his 15 matches at an average of  56.83. His highest score this season has been a whooping 129 not out at a series strike rate of 170.07.  In the previous match in the first playoff where RCB faced a promising Gujarat Lions, Virat's bat failed for the first time in six matches, leading the team into a crisis situation as one wicket after the other saw itself walk back to the pavilion. However, ABD stood right in the middle even as half the team had returned back to the pavilion with a mounting required run rate. ABD though looked as calm as ever, the dugout however was in a state of panic. It was post the 15th over that De Villiers decided to shift gears. The pandits knew at that moment that the game was sealed and eventually it was even before the 18th over came to a close taking the animated Bangalore boys to the finals.

The season for the Royal Challengers of Bangalore did begin with a lot of hiccups. The bowling lacked in experience, most of the spinners failed to get a grip of the ball. RCB, though they put up the big score with the help of their batters, never managed to defend the score for the first half of the season. No one was to be blamed. Most of the coaching staff had taken their best shot at training the youngsters, but as they say the ex factor is what makes the winning call. Even as the batsmen piled on huge runs on the board, many remained sceptical of a Bangalore victory with their form in bowling. However, Stuart Binny played an important role as an all-rounder as he balanced the team both with bat and ball. 

Accompanying him, spinner turned all-rounder Iqbal Abdullah also began getting a grip of the ball as crucial batsmen fell victim to him. The semi finals was a match where Abdullah's true value as a player was up for display as he not only bowled well but also managed to stick right till the end along with De Villiers ensuring that the gateway of wickets were closed as he supported the pro in taking them over the line. This year's performance overall is nothing less than a fairytale as the boys bonded over loss and converted their bad luck into fortune and that too like a boss. Looking at the performance the boys have had to offer, Vijay Mallya too in some corner of the world on his luxury yacht must be scheming on a start-up plan where runs of the blades of the RCB boys could be converted into money eventually paying his debts off. 

Going into the finals, the RCB squad looks invincible as almost everyone seems to be in form at the moment. The big man Gayle who was having a hard season and was rested for a couple of games also managed to build the lethal storm he is more known for in the match against KKR slaughtering the opposition bowling. Against RCB in the finals would be either the Sunrisers from Hydrabad or the more consistent Gujarat lions. Though the Lions seem more likely to enter the finals given their run in this season of the IPL, either team would have the largest mountain to climb if they were to not only beat but challenge Bangalore Royally.

Pitch Perfect

  Kohli's knock is his 20th half-century in Twenty20. He became the first player to post four fifties against Delhi Daredevils at the IPL.

  Kohli is the third player after Michael Hussey <div style="display: inline !important;">(574) and Chris Gayle (570) to complete 500 
runs at the IPL 6.

  Kohli is the second player to be dismissed at 99 in Twenty20. England's Alex Hales was the first batsman, against the West Indies at TrentBridge on June 24, 2012.

   In his innings of 113 against Kings XI Punjab, he became the first batsman to complete 4,000 runs in IPL 2016.

  Kohli has managed to pull off four centuries in this IPL season, which is most by a player in a single T20 tournament balls. 
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