Sitting pretty at the helm of the 2011 Indian Premier League’s leading run-scorers, Virat Kohli on Friday basked in his match-winning half-century against the Pune Warriors.
Kohli hammered a brisk 67 from just 42 balls to lead Bangalore to a formidable total of 181 for five before a fine collective performance from the hosts’ attack restricted Pune’s reply to 155 for five.
The talented right-hander stepped to the crease in the wake of a whirlwind 57-run opening stand between Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan and promptly tucked into key partnerships with Gayle and AB de Villiers.
The 22-year-old Kohli struck a quartet of boundaries and four handsome sixes before his quest for a fifth didn’t have enough carry, with Harpeet Singh on the midwicket fence left to pocket an easy catch.
“I capitalised on the good start we got. It was important for me to take my time initially. I take a few balls to settle down and feel confident once I get myself in. It pretty much paid off for me,” enthused Man of the Match Kohli.
Kohli surpassed Mumbai star Sachin Tendulkar as this year’s IPL number one run-scorer, with his 294 runs from seven knocks now 18 runs better than Tendulkar’s haul across as many innings.
Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab big-hitter Paul Valthaty and Kolkata kingpin Jacques Kallis have racked up 261 and 244 respectively.
“I have always wanted to be in the top five scorers in the IPL. This year I have had the opportunity to do so and I am really happy that I am at number one and now I would look to hold onto that. But the competition is very tough because you have some really good batsmen in the top five. I am really happy that I’m number one now and let us see how long it lasts,” he added.
Defeated skipper Yuvraj Singh was left to rue a couple of sluggish knocks from top-order batsmen Tim Paine and Manish Pandey. While the Australian wicketkeeper-batsman took all of 17 deliveries across his eight runs, Pandey used 23 balls for his 19 as the visitors fell 26 runs shy of their target.
“I think we didn’t get enough runs in the first six overs. We decided not to lose too many wickets at the top, but Manish and some others couldn’t get enough runs,” lamented Yuvraj.
While Friday’s result was Bangalore’s third win on the trot and elevated them to second in the 10-team standings, a fifth loss on the trot resigned Yuvraj’s men to second last. Cricket365