Virat Kohli stars with a century as Royal Challengers Bangalore mount to the fourth position

Kohli’s 62-ball ton helped Royal Challengers mount the Hyderabad challenge with ease

The match was a must-win for Royal Challengers Bangalore if they wanted to stay in the playoffs contention and it’s fair to say that Faf du Plessis’ side did a great job in making their grasp strong in the top 4 with a thumping eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad

The visitors won the toss and decided to bowl first at the spin-favoring ground of Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Sunrisers got a mediocre start from their experimenting opening pair. 

However, in the fourth over, Micheal Bracewell sent back Abhishek Sharma on the first ball of his spell. Just after a single, Rahul Tripathi was also dismissed by the Blackcaps all-rounder on a short delivery, with the help of a brilliant catch from Harshal Patal. 

Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram built a decent partnership after two consecutive wickets. Sunrisers’ captain was anchoring the inning while the wicketkeeper-batsman was scoring regular boundaries to keep the run rate flowing. Klaasen also completed his half-century with a praiseworthy strike rate of more than 200.

Markram was struggling against spin for the whole tournament and similarly, he was stunned by Shahbaz Ahmed when he was trying to score a reverse sweep. Even after playing 20 deliveries, he failed to score a single boundary as he was once again done by spin.

On the other side, nothing was working against Klaasen as he emerged as an indomitable force against Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling. The South African was taking the spin attack with ease as he targeted several huge hits against Shahbaz and Karn Sharma. 

Playing fearless, Klaasen completed his maiden IPL century in 49 deliveries with a maximum. Moreover, he became Sunrisers Hyderabad’s fourth centurion in history, and second of the season, after Harry Brook. However, the Proteas batter was unlucky as he lost his wicket on the second delivery just after reaching the desired 100-run mark. 

Harshal finally took Klassen’s wicket to end the onslaught from the Proteas’ wicket-keeper batter

Harshal sent the South African wicket-keeper back to the pavilion on a slower delivery and also recorded his first wicket on the day. Brook and Glenn Phillips were expected to give the Sunrisers a great finish, however, the last over by Mohammed Siraj didn’t let the Orange Army cross the much-awaited 200-run mark as Phillips also lost his wicket on the last ball. 

Hyderabad’s innings ended at 186, with Klaasen playing the role of the protagonist. For Bangalore, Michael Bracewell picked up two crucial wickets to dent Markram’s side by the end of the powerplay, however, he only got to bowl two overs.

Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis arrived on the pitch to relinquish the target to 187 in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. RCB started strong as Kohi smacked five boundaries in the first two overs wasting no time in making his intentions clear. Phillips dropped Faf du Plessis’ catch when he was just at 12. As the catch was dropped, the Bangalore captain transitioned into a boundary-hitting wizard.

Skipper Markram gave Kartik Tyagi a chance in the 4th over, but he leaked 18 runs. Thus, after the powerplay, the Royal Challengers were in a really strong position with 64 runs. Playing similarly, the opening pair didn’t look down as they glanced close to the 100-run mark after the 10th over. 

After a few balls, du Plessis completed his eighth half-century of the season in 34 balls. Consequently, Kohli also brought up his fifty in 35 deliveries. Markram tried all the permutations and combinations to somehow get a breakthrough and break the momentum but that didn’t happen. 

All the bowlers were getting traumatized by the opening pair of Royal Challengers Bangalore and consequently, Kohli completed his sixth century in the Indian Premier League. He equalled former RCB opener, Chris Gayle’s record for the most centuries in the league, leaving behind Jos Buttler with five tons. 

However, after reaching the peak in 62 deliveries, the former Indian skipper lost his wicket against Bhubaneswar Kumar with the help of a boundary line catch from Phillips. In the next over, du Plessis followed his fellow opening partner on the trip back to the pavilion as T. Natarajan dismissed him. 

Eventually, the match was a definite win for the Royal Challengers as they managed to chase the target with four deliveries to spare. Kohli was chosen as the Player of the Match following his awe-inspiring knock that led his side to a comfortable victory by eight wickets.

The Royal Challengers will now return to the M Chinaswamy Stadium after a long travel on the road and will face Gujarat Titans on Sunday evening in a bid to book their place in the IPL 2023 playoffs. 

The Sunrisers will also end their assignment on Sunday as they face Mumbai Indians at the Wankhade Stadium in the scorching Mumbai heat on Sunday afternoon.