Thinking Deva

Kohli may have lost IPL 9, but he won our hearts

If only the RCB's bowling was as strong as its batting.

 |  Thinking Deva  |  5-minute read |   30-05-2016
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You feel for Virat Kohli, don't you? The man turned superman in this IPL, scoring centuries and half-centuries almost at will, almost single-handedly taking his side to the knockouts from a totally hopeless position, notching up close to 1,000 runs in the tournament, winning the orange cap, the player of the tournament... What else can he possibly do?

He would have traded all these accolades for an IPL championship for the RCB, I am sure. But that championship could not be won, at least not this year, and RCB remained the bridesmaid at the IPL.

What was particularly heartbreaking was that the RCB fell just eight runs short, that too chasing a mammoth 209 for victory. The target was stiff, but Kohli relishes a tough chase. Expectedly, an almighty charge was mounted on the total posted by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Also read: IPL 9 has been a Virat Kohli show all the way

It is for the weak-hearted to be ruffled by a score as big as the one David Warner and his boys posted. But Kohli is made of sterner stuff. And on Sunday (May 29), he found an ally in Chris Gayle, who had had the most forgettable IPL till the final, but suddenly decided to wake up on the night of the final and smash 76 off 38 in true Chris Gayle fashion.

In fact, the RCB was cruising at one stage. It was on 112/0 at the halfway stage, with Gayle and Kohli blazing away, and the SRH looked dead and buried. But then Gayle departed, then Kohli. So did the RCB's two other batting gladiators, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson, and SRH found a way into the match.

ipl-final_053016035331.jpg For the RCB, it was a case of so close yet so far. 

For the SRH, on the other hand, it was a fine all-round effort, a job well done. What made the team stand out from most of the others in the tournament was that it had a fine balance. So while it had batsmen like captain David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh and Moses Henriques, bowlers like Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (who won the purple cap with 23 wickets - the highest in the tournament) did the job for it when it mattered.

Also read: A legend in making, Virat Kohli has shut all critics with his game

However, at the end of the day, you have to say that whatever was the result of the final, this IPL was about Kohli, Kohli and some more of Kohli. He has hardly put a foot wrong in T20s this year. It all started with the series against Australia Down Under. He carried his rich vein of form into the World T20 and then into the IPL. His batting in 2016 has been surreal.

And when you perform well, your confidence increases manifolds as a captain. IPL 2016 has been a classic case of a captain leading from the front, and by example.

Also read: IPL 9 shows Dhoni's days are over, Kohli is the new king

In spite of his best efforts, though, RCB was scrounging near the bottom of the table in the first half of the tournanent, having lost five of its seven matches and nobody gave it a chance. But there was a quantum leap in the team's performance in the next seven matches, powered by Kohli (and de Villiers). It won six of its next seven matches and was through to the knockouts. Kohli had a rare failure in the qualifier against the Gujarat Lions, but then de Villiers came to the rescue of the team.

Kohli took the RCB as far as he could in this tournament, but alas, could not get it over the finishing line. If only the RCB's bowling was as strong as its batting. The SRH won the trophy, but Virat Kohli won the hearts.

For cricket fans, Kohli not winning the IPL crown was as tragic as it gets. Yes, it was more about Kohli than the RCB.

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Writer

Debdutta Bhattacharjee Debdutta Bhattacharjee @debduttab10

He is a journalist with DailyO

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