Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli notched up his maiden hundred in the shortest format, but couldn't deter the high-flying Gujarat Lions from securing an emphatic six-wicket win over his side in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Match 19 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Rajkot on 24 April.
Kohli lead from the front with the bat, scoring 11 fours and a six in his entertaining 63-ball innings. Having powered Bangalore to 180 runs, Kohli would have expected his bowling unit to defend the compelling total, especially after swashbuckling Aaron Finch didn't bat following an injury during the match.
But, contrary to the popular belief and to the utter dismay of the Bangalore fans, the bowling woes returned to haunt Kohli's men who slipped to their third defeat in five matches. Barring Tabraiz Shamsi, all the other RCB bowlers went for over eight runs an over with Kane Richardson (1-53) proving to be the most expensive of the lot.
It was, once again, a spectacular top-order batting display that aided Gujarat in their run-chase. Dinesh Karthik was the top-scorer for the home side with his unbeaten 39-ball 50, but it was the opening partnership of 47 runs between Dwayne Smith (32) and Brendon McCullum (42) that took the game away from Bangalore.
The hosts scored a blistering 72 runs in the powerplay overs, most by any team in the IPL this season, to ensure that the asking rate remained in control. Despite the dismissal of Smith at the hands of Richardson, a 40-run stand between McCullum and Suresh Raina (28) kept the chase on track for Gujarat.
Desperate for a wicket, Shamsi did gave a breakthrough to Bangalore by dismissing McCullum in the ninth over, but another crucial partnership of 53 runs between Raina and Karthik for the third wicket denied the chances of a comeback for the visitors.
Earlier, Bangalore reaped all the benefits of their captain's sublime form, while KL Rahul's 35-ball 51 ensured their side reached a competitive total. It was Kohli's 43rd fifty-plus score on a day when his idol Sachin Tendulkar also turned 43.
The visitors lost their opener Shane Watson (6) early in the innings, but a fifth consecutive fifty-plus partnership between Kohli and AB de Villiers (20) helped in rebuilding their innings. Pravin Tambe dismissed De villiers and gave Gujarat an important breakthrough, but Kohli's barrage continued at the other end.
Scoring at a strike-rate of 158.73 despite hitting just one six, Kohli became only the fourth captain in the history of the IPL to score a hundred. He added 121 runs with Rahul for the third wicket which laid the foundation of a good total for Bangalore.
Gujarat notched up the total with three balls to spare and are now placed on top of the IPL points table with four wins and just one loss in five matches. On the other hand, Bangalore descend to the fifth spot with three losses and two wins in five games.
Here's a look at some of the key statistics from the IPL, Match 19 between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions:
- Virat Kohli's maiden T20 hundred against Gujarat Lions today is only the second ton in the IPL this season.
- A total of five consecutive T20 games have been won by the chasing team in Rajkot. Also, 11 out of the last 14 IPL matches have been won by the teams chasing.
- Dinesh Karthik scored a 39-ball 50 against Bangalore today. It took him 16 innings to register a half-century in the IPL. He has amassed 219 runs at 14.60 in these 16 IPL innings.
- Virat Kohli has an average of 45.10 as an opener in the IPL. Among 24 batsmen with 750+ runs as openers, only Lendl Simmons and Chris Gayle have higher average than Kohli.
- Bangalore's Kane Richardson conceded 25 runs in the sixth over - the third most expensive over in the IPL this year. Bhuvneshwar Kumar went for 28 runs, the highest, against Bangalore earlier this season.
- Gujarat Lions scored 72 runs in the powerplay overs - the highest by any team in the IPL this season.
- Bangalore captain Virat Kohli boasts an average of 110.22 in T20s this year. He has scored a whopping 992 runs in 17 T20 innings with 11 fifty-plus scores.