Kohli equals Gayle’s record, Dhawan falters and Shastri shares his wish list for WC 2023


Royal Challengers Bangalore's Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli during the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad on Thursday (ANI)

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New Delhi/Mumbai/Kolkata

Royal Challengers Bangalore star batter and “Chasemaster” Virat Kohli ended a four-year-long wait for an Indian Premier League ton, smashing Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) bowlers all around the ground to score his sixth century of the tournament on Thursday.

This was Kohli’s first ton in the ongoing IPL 2023; he equalled former teammate Chris Gayle (6) for most centuries scores in league history. The star batter slammed his first IPL ton since April 2019. Notably, Kohli now has the joint-most centuries in the history of the league with Chris Gayle (6).

The RCB opener had been in good form but criticised for his slow starts; but, on Thursday night, he proved his doubters wrong, reaching his century in 62 deliveries. Although Kohli has been in superb form in the IPL 2023, his strike rate in the middle overs has come under scrutiny.

Kohli enjoyed his rich form in the match during the middle overs in addition to dominating the powerplay. He hit his century off 62 balls in the 18th over. Kohli was eventually dismissed on 100, leaving the pitch directly after reaching the milestone; Bhuvneshwar Kumar took the RCB star’s wicket in the 18th over.

Coming to the match, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) secured a dominating victory and two crucial points after a remarkable chase against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 on Thursday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

Virat Kohli’s chase masterclass and his scintillating century overshadowed Heinrich Klaasen’s ton in a gripping run-fest.

Chasing 187 to win, RCB got off to a flying start courtesy of in-form openers – Virat Kohli and Captain Faf du Plessis. Opener Virat Kohli hit from the word go and was off the mark with two timely strokes before Faf du Plessis jumped on the bandwagon.

The fifty partnership was up yet again in the tournament for RCB’s opening duo and the visitors moved to 64/0 after 6 overs. SRH nearly put an end to the opening partnership after Mayank Dagar took a sensational catch however on a delivery that unfortunately turned out to be a no-ball, adding to SRH’s worries.

The duo looked unstoppable with the bat as both du Plessis and Kohli reached their respective half-centuries and RCB were cruising at 108/0 with 8 overs to go.

Virat Kohli was at his sublime best and left everyone in awe as the 150-run partnership was up for the opening wicket.

Parnell heaps praise on RCB captain Faf du Plessis

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bowler Wayne Parnell on Thursday heaped praise on his captain Faf du Plessis and said that the opener gives players a lot of freedom to go out and perform.

Coming to the match, RCB captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to bowl against SRH in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match here at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Speaking at the time of the toss, Faf du Plessis said, “We are gonna have a bowl. The last two nights we have had some dew. Good surface but touch on the slower side. Same team as the last game. Hasaranga has a niggle. Bracewell strengthens our batting. We have to start afresh. The game of cricket has a funny way of biting you. You have to have the humility of looking at a fresh game.”

“We would have looked to bat. Not too disappointed. A couple of changes. Brook comes in. Tyagi comes in as well. Umran is an x-factor player. A lot of pride to play for. We haven’t lived up to the ability. We should try to showcase that at the world stage in the last two games,” Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Aiden Markram said.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ Rinku Singh plays a shot in a match against Chennai Super Kings at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai (ANI)

Dhawan creates unwanted batting record

Punjab Kings skipper Shikhar Dhawan registered an unwanted batting record to his name during his side’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday as he became the opening batter with the second-highest number of ducks in the history of the league.

In the match, Shikhar was dismissed for a golden duck by Ishant Sharma. Opening batsmen are expected to give a solid start to their team. On a few occasions, the batsmen fail miserably and get out on a duck as an opener. There is no sad feeling than getting out without scoring a single run as an opening batsman.

Here are a few opening batsmen in IPL who have the most ducks to their names:

Parthiv Patel: The wicket-keeper batsmen have the most ducks to his name. He has a total of 11 ducks. In IPL, he has played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians.

Gautam Gambhir: the current mentor of Lucknow Super Giants had 10 ducks as an opener. Gambhir played for Delhi Daredevils and Kolata Knight Riders. He had won the IPL twice with KKR.

Ajinkya Rahane: The current Chennai Super Kings player who gained some confidence in this IPL had been out on duck as an opener 10 times. Before playing for CSK, Rahane played for Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Pune Supergiant, Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders.

David Warner: The captain of Delhi Capitals, had been out on duck nine times as an opener. The Australian had previously played for Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad. (ANI)

Shastri reveals players he wants in World Cup

Ravi Shastri has revealed the young batters that have impressed him during the ongoing IPL that could make a late run at being part of this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

While India already boasts a number of strong top-order performers in the ilk of skipper Rohit Sharma, former captain Virat Kohli and the emerging Shubman Gill, Shastri believes the next crop of young batters is ready to take the next step and could replicate their form at the 50-over showcase should injuries arise to key players. Young left-hander Yashasvi Jaiswal has been a standout so far at the IPL with a total of 575 runs for the Rajasthan Royals with a century and four fifties, while fellow southpaw Rinku Singh (407 runs in 13 matches, with three fifties and an average above 50) is another to have caught Shastri’s eye following his final over heroics for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Gujarat Titans early in the tournament.

Shastri believes both Jaiswal and Rinku are more than capable of making the transition to international cricket in the future and was quick to nominate the pair as standout performers to host Sanjana Ganesan when speaking on the latest episode of The ICC Review.

“One is (Yashasvi) Jaiswal, simply because of the way he has played this season. And for me, it is a marked improvement from what I saw from him last year, which is a very, very positive sign. It shows that there is a young guy prepared to work on his game, sort out things, get a more all-round game into play and he has done that this season. Just the power with which he is re-taking shots. Just the pockets he is hitting around the ground as opposed to last year are very good,” said Shastri as quoted by ICC.

“The other bloke is Rinku Singh, which is a great story. The more I see of him, that guy has got a fabulous temperament. He is tough as nails. Both of these guys have come through very hard backgrounds. They have worked very hard initially in their lives and nothing has come easy for them. So you can see that hunger, that passion, that drive that is so needed to make it to the top,” added the former Indian all-rounder.

But it’s not just this pair that has stood out at the IPL for Shastri, with the India legend and respected commentator also liking the look of a host of other young players that are yet to earn an international cap for their country.

Shastri believes India’s bowling attack is well set ahead of this year’s World Cup, but thinks there are a group of young batters around the mark that could easily sneak into the final squad with continued good form prior to the tournament.

“As far as batting goes, there’s Tilak Varma (274 runs in nine matches at an average of 45.66 with a fifty), there’s Jitesh Sharma (265 runs at an average of 22.08 and a strike rate of over 155) from Punjab (Kings) too who is a wicket-keeper-batter who’s pretty dangerous and has stood out,” Shastri noted.

“There’s even Sai Sudarshan (223 runs in six matches at an average of 44.60 with two fifties), a left-hander (who has also caught the eye). But I would put Tilak Varma, I would put Jaiswal, I would put Rinku Singh. (They) are the candidates who can really push through along with Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has been around for a while.”

“These are the guys who can push for selection, depending on their form closer to the World Cup. And depending on injuries. If there are injuries to any key players, then these guys can come straight away into the mix,” concluded Shastri.

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