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3 things we learnt from Virat Kohli's performance in IPL 2016

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Virat_Kohli_India_cricketDare Virat Kohli to bat blindfold or ask him to bat in England. While that may not be a full proof plan to plot his failure, perhaps, that’s the only option for bowlers to tackle the Kohli- conundrum; especially when he is prolonging his ominous form.

Earlier, people pointed out how he looked below-par playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Come the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League, the scenario changed drastically. The run-machine that he has become, Kohli took the IPL challenge on its head and was just 27 runs short from scoring 1,000 runs in a season.

Although the RCB skipper managed to break quite a few records, he could not defy some odds. Here’s a look at how Kohli’s season panned out.

For Kohli, form and class are permanent

Virat Kohli is batting like an alien and unlike ‘Jaadu’ from ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, he does not need ‘Dhoop’ (sunshine) to outshine the opponents. While cricket pundits often swear by the law of averages, cricket is a great leveler, form is temporary but class is permanent and all such adages, Kohli is making a joke out of it all. He shattered IPL records by scoring 973 runs in a single season – 125 runs more than the second-placed David Warner and 240 runs more than earlier seasons’ Orange Cap winners – to become leading scorer (4110 runs) in the tournament’s history. (Chris Gayle and Michael Hussey had 733 runs in 2012 and 2013 respectively.)

Chris Gayle can be rather outlandish in his comments about cricket or otherwise; immaterial whether he is interviewed by female journalists or presenters or whether on social media. But his "Kohli is batting like a Batman" remark is not off the cup. 4 hundreds, 7 fifties, strike rate of 152.03 and average of 81.08 in 16 IPL games and form before the cash-rich tournament began are umpteen signs that the Indian right-hander is currently a superhero than a human.

Although Kohli, after the IPL 9 final, said, “Records are meant to be broken” when asked whether anyone will ever surpass his run-tally, his modesty can’t hide the difficulty of achieving the task. In fact, it would not be illogical if BCCI or anyone else runs Kohli’s IPL 2016 highlight package with a disclaimer ‘please don’t try this at home or school or workplace’. To use the in vogue wordplay, it is NSFW – Not Safe For Work.

The Orange Cap curse

Although the Indian Test captain conquered the opposition bowlers; at times pulling a Houdini like scoring a ton in a rain-curtailed 15-overs/side game against Kings XI Punjab; he failed to overcome the Orange Cap curse.

While the IPL’s mantra is 'Yatra pratibha avsara prapnotihi' (‘Where talent meets opportunity’), the tournament’s history indicates it does not believe in ‘happy endings’ for Orange Cap holders despite offering them ample opportunities to showcase their talent. In nine editions of the tournament, only once has the Orange Cap holder’s team has won the tournament. The last and only time when it happened was in 2014 when Robin Uthappa and Kolkata Knight Riders managed to do away with the pattern.

Kohli, despite getting all the highs in terms of runs and praise from fans and experts, could not resolve the mystery of IPL triumph and its difficult relationship with its leading run-scorer of the season.

Second Indian to have lost 5 T20 finals

Although Kohli has won whatever there is to win in cricket in coloured clothing: Under-19 World Cup, World Cup (with senior team) and Champions Trophy, he does not enjoy the same fortunes when it comes to the shortest format of the game. Despite his solid performances, flip of the coin has not favoured him.

Kohli is only the second Indian cricketer to have been a part of losing side in T20 finals for five times.

In ICC World Twenty20 2014, Kohli amassed 319 runs, including 77 runs in the final against Sri Lanka and still ended up on the losing side. In 2011 Champions League T20, Kohli and RCB were second best as Mumbai Indians sealed the title.

It is the status quo when it comes to Kohli’s record in IPL finals. RCB have played three finals and lost all. Kohli could not do much with the bat in 2009 and 2011 (7 and 35 runs respectively) and although the RCB skipper scored 54 runs from 35 balls in the recently concluded edition of the tournament, the Bengaluru side could not cross the finish line.

 

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