Kohli’s heroics keep Bengaluru’s playoff hopes alive

Kohli scored 92 runs off just 47 balls with seven boundaries and six 6s. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Virat Kohli’s brilliant 92-run innings powered Royal Challengers Bengaluru to a commanding 60-run triumph over Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League, reigniting their faint hopes for a playoff berth.

The 35-year-old Kohli’s masterful display, complemented by valuable partnerships with Rajat Patidar (55) and Cameron Green (46), propelled Bengaluru to a formidable total of 241-7 at the Dharamsala stadium. Having been dropped twice, Kohli made the most of the chances he got.

Reflecting on his innings, Kohli said, “I brought out the slog-sweep to the spinners. I know I can hit it as I’ve done it in the past. I know I need to take risks. Takes more conviction and to remove the thought ‘what if I get out?’ Means I can improve my strike rate in the middle overs.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Kings’ skipper, Sam Curran, lamented their campaign’s frustrating conclusion, saying, “A lot of positive signs but not enough to get over the line and get the wins we needed. Gutted but lots to learn.”

Bengaluru’s bowler, Swapnil Singh, who contributed with two crucial wickets, emphasised the significance of the victory, stating, “Enjoyed it a lot. The ball was swinging initially, so I looked to swing it. Pressure is less when everybody is (scoring) runs. Mentally it relaxes you.”

Despite Rilee Rossouw’s promising start for Punjab Kings, including a half-century, the team failed to chase down Bengaluru’s target, being dismissed for 181.

Kohli’s outstanding performance, backed by Patidar and Green, secured Bengaluru’s fourth consecutive victory, even amidst a brief rain and hailstorm interruption, demonstrating their resilience in the tournament.

This win kept Bengaluru’s hopes alive for a spot in the playoffs, while Punjab Kings faced disappointment with their eighth loss in 12 matches.